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Milan-San Remo, as the saying goes, the easiest race to finish, but the hardest race to win.
It’s also the most challenging to digest for the TV-viewing fan.
At 300km and more than six and a half hours long, the Italian monument presents an interesting quandary for the discerning bike racing aficionado.
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Do you watch the whole thing start to finish? Or just tune in for the juicy bits?
Our VeloNews European team debate the question: to watch or not to watch (the whole thing)?
Jim Cotton: Strike the millennial’s Milan-San Remo sweet spot
For maximum San Remo stoke, tune in at the 50km to go sweet spot. It’s the truly millennial solution to “MSR,” the short-attention span solution to the longest race of the season
By then, the odometer has clicked off 240km and the third of the three Capi is on the horizon. The breakaway is looking ragged, and Wout and Pogo are eyeing each other up ahead of the Cipressa-Poggio kingmakers.
Also read: Milan-San Remo race preview
Settle into the sofa with your Moretti (or San Pellegrino, of course) and start snacking your way through your carefuly prepared (i.e., purchased) antipasti. You’ve got half an hour to get into the race’s groove and relish the rapidly ratcheting tension.
Before you’ve even had a chance to be distracted by cat videos on your Facebook feed, the Cipressa is coming and the race is reaching a rolling boil. The peloton is primed, and so are you.
No sooner have you polished off your antipasti than Pogo has blasted the Poggio. The bunch is chasing hard and you’re so excited you’ve forgotten to type on Twitter for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES.
Tune in earlier than the 50km sweet spot and you bonk harder than the bunch of Italians in the break and booze yourself to oblivion. You’ll end up scrolling so far through Instagram your thumb will go numb.
Andrew Hood: I’m watching the whole bloody race, sort of
It wasn’t that long ago that even being able to watch Milan-San Remo live on TV was a luxury.
First, there were live text updates, then grainy and sketchy pirate feeds that might link you into some Dark Web network looking to rip off your cash or inject cyber worms into your personal data base.
For the lucky few with cable and some high school Italian classes, the final hour live via the RAI feed might be put on the air.
Also read: Can Pogačar win? His rivals think so
And some might say that final hour of La Primavera is all you really need to watch of Milan-San Remo. And with reason. That’s where all the good stuff happens.
On Saturday, however, I am going to watch the whole bloody race. Why? Because I can and I choose to, but there’s an important caveat, I won’t be watching it from sofa.
Thanks to the intersection of smartphones and high-speed internet, I will be taking Milan-San Remo with me all day long. Back in Spain after two weeks in Italy for Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo will be my all-day companion.
First, I will tune in to see the sign-in and rollout with my morning café con leche and churros. I’ll follow the early action on a morning ride, and when the bunch hits the Passo del Turchino, I will be into my first rioja and tapas. Lunch with in-laws will be wrapping up by the time the pack hits the Italian Rivera.
I will be home on the couch just in time to watch the battle start to heat up on the tre capi and, just when I am about to doze into siesta mode, the tantalizing showdown up and over the Cipressa and Poggio will keep me tuned in until the final bike stab.
In today’s 24-7 connected world, you can have your cycling cake and eat it, too.