Milan San Remo 2013

The beauty of the weather forecast in Bristol is that it is endlessly negotiable. Metcheck for the pessimistic, BBC for the optimistic, and a glance out of the window for the realistic.

It was under the threat of rain that the Le Sportif Mud Dock riders gathered for a pre-ride coffee. The West Country is truly the reserve of the hardy, there was no question of meteorological disruption, and so the ride hit the road.

The aim was to celebrate Milan - San Remo, difficult to reflect the pars cours, so the coastal run from Clevedon up through Portishead was undertaken, followed by the narrow Poggio (Failand Lane) and the descent to the finish.

Pasta and wine and beer and coffee and brownies and endless bike chat. Oh yes, and the race on TV, once the pros had got out of the buses… Sunshine and the views over the waterfront perfected the day!

Second string antipodean sprinters have recently been the opportunistic winners in San Remo. Today, for a moment, it was an edge of the seat adventure for Ian Stannard, powering the British champion’s jersey to sixth place, as he and Chavanel were unable to keep Sagan and the chasing group at bay. The British love the underdog, so Sagan, as the favourite, was never going to fit the mould. Ciolek’s acceleration was the shock result that makes La Primavera the race it is. A German Sprinter, an African team, the first of the Monuments - after 200+km you can throw the form book out the window! If you’re questioning his pedigree, look no further than Mark Cavendish’s lead out train at HTC.

Roll on Tour of Flanders!