Milan San Remo was a race that I always liked to perform well in.
My first victory was in 1986 when I escaped on the Poggio with LeMond and Mario Beccia. I had been going well winning Paris Nice for the fifth time the week before and felt good all day.
Coming off the descent of the Poggio it was just 1k to the finish and Beccia was happy to keep it rolling to get third which was probably one of the best results of his career up to that point.
LeMond was the danger so I wasn't taking any chances with him. When I launched my sprint at 200m to go I knew he would have to be really strong to come around me, which after almost 300k would be a big ask.
In 1992 I was feeling real good in Tirreno but didn't want to show my cards too early as San Remo was a big goal for me that year. If I could win there the pressure would be off for a while.
In the race Argentin was super strong. When he attacked on the Poggio it looked as though he was gone for the day. I stayed in 8th to 10th position so that I would be close enough to go with any counter attack but not right up in the first five where the accelerations were faster and weakened the legs more.
On the descent I went to the front and noticed Argentins teammate Rolf Sorenson on my wheel. I knew that if I really pushed it on he would be a bit cagey.
Once I had a gap I gave it everything to catch Argentin. People say I took a lot of risks but it didn't really feel like that at the time. I went as fast as I could but was always under control. I caught him with only 1k to go and pulled a few faces when he turned around shouting at me to come through. I told him that I was 'fupped' and wasn't able. Every time he turned to me I moved slightly off the wheel so that he would see the chasers coming fast behind and get a bit nervous. It worked and he kept rolling along. He led out the sprint so I was able to come off his wheel although he didn't make it too easy. I was again very happy to take the victory.
Both of my wins finished just 1k from the Poggio. This year the race finishes 2k further in on the Via Roma. A big long straight road with 4 storey buildings either side. It will be very difficult for a break to stay away along here if someone gets a gap on the poggio and with the good weather forecast you could see a big group of forty or fifty riders coming to the sprint.
Who would I pick for victory this year? John Degenkolb !
1986 Milan San Remo
1992 Milan San Remo