Editors’ Picks: Who will win Sanremo?

The VeloNews editorial staff predicts who will win Milano-Sanremo, the season's first monument.

Photo: TDW

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Here are our rapid-fire predictions for the first monument of 2016, Saturday’s Milano-Sanremo. The VeloNews editorial staff will make predictions for major races throughout the season.

John Bradley, editor in chief
Pick: Michael Matthews

Peter Sagan is obviously the big favorite, but Matthews has great form coming out of Paris-Nice, where he led until the final two days and showed that he has the ability to get over some climbs and still be there for a finishing sprint. Should Sagz once again find himself in second place, I think it will be because of Matthews.

Spencer Powlison, news director
Pick: Alexander Kristoff

At Paris-Nice, Alexander Kristoff said he’s not quite on his best form, and to me, that smacks of pre-race gamesmanship. The Norwegian will win Sanremo again. He knows how to play the final and has oodles of confidence after a strong start to 2016.

Chris Case, managing editor
Pick: Greg Van Avermaet

It is finally Van Avermaet’s time, and the confidence that he carries from beating the world champ on multiple occasions will propel him to victory.

Andrew Hood, European correspondent
Pick: Michael Matthews

Matthews is climbing better than ever, so he will be get over the Poggio with the strongest, and has the kick to beat the fastest on the Via Roma.

Caley Fretz, senior editor
Pick: Michael Matthews

Three points combine in Matthews’ favor. The first is Paris-Nice’s opening time trial, a seven-minute effort that Matthews won over TT stars like Tom Dumoulin. You know what else takes about seven minutes? The Poggio. (Okay, more like 6:30, but close enough.) The second also comes from Paris-Nice, where Matthews was on par with pure sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, proving that he could win MSR out of a group of any size. Third is last fall’s world championship road race, where Matthews was second behind Peter Sagan. At 261km, that race proved that the 25-year-old Aussie can go the distance.

Dan Cavallari, tech editor
Pick: Peter Sagan

Okay, it was kind of arrogant to say MSR is too easy (it is, but that doesn’t make it easy, if that makes sense), but if anyone can back up that kind of arrogance, it’s the smooth Czech. He’ll be on the podium. The question is, will he be on the first step, or the second step again? (My guess: if it isn’t Sagan at the top, it will be Michael Matthews.)

Gregor Brown, reporter
Pick: Michael Matthews

It’s logical, Matthews will make the next step in his quick progression and take the win. Orica already won with Simon Gerrans and knows how to support a potential winner.

Kristen Legan, associate editor
Pick: Alexander Kristoff

Kristoff should have a plenty of confidence going into MSR after a successful start to his season, tallying five wins so far. I think some of the punchier riders like Sagan and Cancellara will try attacking early, but with so many pure sprinters in the field, it will come down to a head-to-head battle across the line, and Kristoff should be the fastest of the bunch.

Dane Cash, web editor and reporter
Pick: Alexander Kristoff

Kristoff won Milano-Sanremo in 2014, and he probably would have won Milano-Sanremo in 2015 if he hadn’t opened up his sprint so early. The Norwegian can handle a few climbs and isn’t bothered by long distances. With the form he’s shown in the early goings of 2016, Kristoff won’t be an easy man to beat after 290 kilometers Saturday.

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