Comin’ up in the world don’t trust nobody / Gotta look over your shoulder constantly

image © Gruber

 

Since we all know who the favourites are, tons of previews with same names out there, same riders interviewed every year, I thought I could spend a few words for those who are rarely mentioned but might become heroes for a day (more than a day, actually).

Leigh Howard

First time in a long time (maybe ever) he’s leading a team in an important race. Had some incredible results in the past in races with similar parcours and started this season really motivated. If IAM fully back him (as they said), Howard should be honoured to be led-out by Reynes, Kluge and Haussler.

Ramunas Navardauskas

Maybe not so underdog, but as the field is stacked, he’s not the first that comes to mind speaking of favourites. Pretty moody rider, has proved to be really strong (when he wants to) in difficult and long races, thinking at last WC and the Bergerac stage of the ‘14 Tour de France in particular.

Sep Vanmarcke

Dear Sep is trying to fly a bit under the radar. Maybe he’s thinking at Sanremo as a training but, as his form is surely there, I’m not entirely convinced by his quietness. Has always been a good sprinter, given the type of rider he is, and proved to be strong last week at Paris-Nice. Can launch an attack or join one and be very dangerous in a reduced sprint.

Matteo Trentin

Etixx already outlined its hierarchy, backing Gaviria with Stybar free to do his thing. But. If Gaviria fails in his first Monument, the next in line is Trentin, in my opinion. Not only there for a sprint, if you remember last year’s Sanremo, Oss was in a late move with Geraint Thomas, and I can totally see Trentin doing what Oss did and following moves in the final, if things get serious. Fantastic domestique, always needed a win to gain awareness, found 3 nontrivial ones (twice at the Tour plus last edition of Paris-Tours) recently.

Fabio Felline

Growing constantly, has been one of the most exciting Italians to watch these seasons. Always been a puncheur-ish rider, maybe preferring sprints in his early years, now seems to have lost a bit of speed in favour of climbing. Was pretty good at the end of Paris-Nice and terrific in Andalucia. In case race is harder than expected, with groups all over the place, he is one of the fastest guys on the line, maybe the fastest with Gallopin.

 

There might be a lot more than 5 to talk about, to be fair, but I like the chances (as dark horses) of these guys. Milano-Sanremo has always been a selective race; it’s not very easy to find a surprise in last editions’ podiums, but sometimes Ciolek happens, and I would be really happy to see a less renowned rider win the Classicissima.

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