Climb in, climb out.
Just baffled by the lack of planning shown by RCS Sport concerning the addition (and now subtraction) of the Pompeiana climb in the Milan-San Remo classic.
Organizers put in that new 5k climb, which comes between the Cipressa and Poggio, back in September. That’s about five months ago and yet it appears they’re just now discovering that the road isn’t suitable for bike racing.
Folks, you had almost half a year to scout this, research suitability and make whatever improvements you needed to make for safety. This is the biggest one day race in Italy, the first true classic of the year, and RCS completely dropped the ball. (As an aside, you start to wonder after they fired Giro boss Michele Acquarone, if the entire organization is in disarray.)
Now certainly, they can’t predict bad weather beating up the road surface but based on last years’ awful and extended Winter, that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Winter repairs should have been in the budget and contingencies in place. If this climb was even borderline in terms of suitability and safety, it should never have been put in.
While Acts of Weather Gods are always a half-decent excuse, the other reasons being given for taking out the climb are simply absurd and show a total lack of basic planning. They’ve known about the damaged or non-existent guardrails for the entire time. They already know the route went past a quarry where big dump trucks had chewed up the pavement. Yet it seems that nobody made an effort all these months to address those issues.
There’s even some question about whether the roads for that climb were even wide enough to accommodate a WorldTour bike race. Michele Russo, director of roads and transport, told RCS Sport that “Absolutely, a race caravan of that size can’t pass.” Again, it seems even the basics of fact checking were ignored.
As a good friend of mine used to say, “somebody dropped the meat in the dirt.” This is an embarrassing and very public foul-up. A sprinters race became a climbers race and now its back to a sprinters race. Sky’s Chris Froome planned to ride Milan-San Remo and most of the sprinters like Mark Cavendish decided to skip it. Now Froome is out and Cav is thinking for riding it again. Crazy stuff.
Last year, sections of the course were wiped out by snow and freezing temperatures; this year it’s logistical incompetence that is altering the Italian classic.
We have no idea what Race Technical Director Mauro Vegni has been up to all these months but it sure wasn’t getting Milan San Remo ready for prime time.