Cycling: 2009 Milan San-Remo
Okay so we have the first classic of the season upon us. Should be a good race. I've analysed the riders who I think have a chance of winning this. Looking at their form.
Current Odds $6/$2.30
A local rider, Bennati has had mixed results this year. Hasn't ridden particularly well, but has been consistent nonetheless. He was first in Trofeo Inco and first overall in Giro di Sardegna. In that he had a first and a second and then two stages where he finished top 10. He was consistent in Torrino-Adriatico posting a 3rd, 2nd and 4th. The 4th was last night and he went with 200m to go only to be overpowered by Cavendish. For all we know he is concentrating on this race. His form has been reasonable but the lack of wins is concerning. A local, he is not without a hope.
Current Odds $6.50/$2.35
Another local hope riding in good form. Has only raced 2 races this year. He posted a win in stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico and Stage 5 of the Giro di Sardegna. Petacchi is experienced and knows what it is to race in classics. His lack of racing does concern me but being a local, you have to give him a shot. On his best day, he is capable of beating anyone.
Current Odds $6.50/$2.35
A quality rider with solid support. This year he was first overall in the tour of qatar. 4th, 1st, 3rd and 10th he posted. He won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne aswell. He is looking to the spring classics and he is a chance. We all know what this guy is capable of at his best. But is he at his best?
Current Odds $12/$3.75
Pozzato is a quality sprinter. But he has not posted any decent results this year. In fact, looking at his record this year, he has posted nothing. So has he been injured? Who the hell knows. I know I won't be going anywhere near him. He is a local but lack of racing is a worry. Not worth it at those odds.
Current Odds $13/$4
You got to be kidding me! They have him rated outside Pozzato? Yes, I know it's the kid's first classic and I know not much is expected of him. But come on, show some respect to the kid. He is the fastest man in the world and if he gets the right lead out, he is unstoppable. He is going to dominate the green jersey at the TDF in the next 10 years and dominate spring classics. His form to date reads. 1st in stage 4 and stage 6 of the tour of Qatar. 1st in stage 4 and stage 5 of the tour of California. Won the points classification aswell. 2nd in stage 3 of Tirreno Adriatico but won Stage 7. He has 5 wins next to his name yet he's at these odds? You know who I'm leaning to win this. I don't care if it's his first race. He is on form and the best sprinter in the world. You know where the value is.
Current Odds $15/$4.50
Haussler has taken the cycling world by storm this season. He has developed into a quality sprinter. Results this year show that he was 2nd overall in the tour of qatar and also had 2 thirds and a second and won the points jersey. Now this was over quality opposition that he was consistent. Cavendish, Boonen and Hushovd were all there. He got too wins in the Volta ao Algarve and won stage 1 of Paris-Nice. From there he said he was concentrating on building his form up and making sure that he is right for Sunday so he didn't contest any other sprint. Wanting to hone everything up. He is a huge chance to win. One of the form sprinters at the moment. I think he may sneak a place or sneak into the top 5.
Current Odds - $16/$4.75
He is another Italian cyclist with some good form to date. Has 3 wins this year. Stage 1 and 2 of the Giro di Sardegna he won and he was first in the Giro del Friuli Has. I don't know much about this rider. His odds are justified but don't be surprised if he puts in a good performance on home soil.
Current Odds $18/$5.25
Thor Hushovd is a quality sprinter. He hasn't posted many good results this year but has posted 2 wins. One was in the tour of California and the other was in Omlopp Het Nieuwsblad. Not a chance.
Current Odds $25/$7
Too bad he is riding for Boonen. Has already posted 3 wins this year in the Tour down Under. He still has the sprint quality but working for Boonen justifies these odds. Don't be surprised though if he can pull a top 10.
Current Odds $30/$8.25
Not a chance. Hasn't posted a result this year and was Cavendish's lead out man last year. New team and he hasn't done anything substantial.
The old man is a chance. A chance of sneaking top 3 that is. He won the down under classic and also stage 2 of Vuelta a Mallorca. He has the experience on the board and a good team. I don't think he wins, but he may put in a good performance. You can never write him off.
If it isn't a sprint finish, then look for Gilbert and Ballan to put in good performances. Cancellara is coming back from injury and is struggling of late. Nocentini and Napolitano are good outside chances.
With the quality of sprinters in this field, it's hard to believe it won't be a sprint finish so one of Bennati, Haussler, Cavendish, Petacchi and Boonen will win. Lorenzetto is a chance. At this stage my money is going to be on Cavendish as those odds are value. I've already put 2 units on him at that price to win and 5 units for the place. The place odds are the best odds there.
I won't finalise my predictions until later on but at this point in time I see Cavendish winning from Haussler and Petacchi.