Arnaud Démare, Julian Alaphilippe, Christophe Laporte… Which Frenchman has the most chance to shine at the Milan-San Remo?

According to our consultant Yoann Offredo, Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) is the Habs most likely to win the first major classic of the season on Saturday.

Who will succeed Matej Mohoric? The 2023 edition of Milan-San Remo promises to be an extremely undecided battle. Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogacar, Arnaud De Lie, Mads Pedersen, Mathieu van der Poel… The fastest riders in the peloton will almost all be there to try and win the first Monument of the season. In the midst of this crowd of suitors, French pilots have their say, especially since then “Spring” he has done well for them, with six podiums in the last seven editions, including two victories: Arnaud Démare (2016) and Julian Alaphilippe (2019).

“The one who seems to me most inclined to win Milan-Sanremo is necessarily Christophe Laporte. He’s playing for the best team at the moment (Jumbo Visma). He has top speed, climbs well and can overtake Cipressa and Poggio (both ribs before getting flat). In his first two races of the year, he had two Top 10 finishes (3rd on Het Nieuwsblad and 6th on Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne). He is gaining momentum and last year he showed that he has reached a milestone in this new team.”says our consultant Yoann Offredo, himself 7th at the event in 2011.

Wout van Aert’s teammate, with whom he will have to share the race poster, proved last year that he is capable of winning in the classics, finishing 2nd at Gent-Wevelgem and the E3 Grand Prix. However, doubt surrounds his form following his last-minute withdrawal due to illness at Paris-Nice. Last year he finished 22nd at the Milan-San Remo, leaving his leader to struggle on the first step of the race (8th).

Blur around Alaphilippe

For Yoann Offredo, another Italian rider stands out behind him because he has already raised his arms in Sanremo. “Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) put a big cross on this race. He returned to Paris-Nice, he didn’t win, but he thirsts for victories. It is an asset for him. Démare has the possibility of following at Poggio. We have seen in the first stage of the Paris-Nice, he moved into third position on the wall of the Milon-La-Chapelle, with the best, including Pogacar.It is already a sign that he is well and that he is able to make lactate tolerance efforts with the best”analyze the consultant.

According to the latter, the finish will be played out, as happens regularly, in the sprint, within a small group, where victory does not always go to the fastest rider. But even the right attack at the right moment can make the difference, if the leaders are marking each other and none of them decides to give chase, as happened with Vincenzo Nibali (2018), Jasper Stuyven (2021) or Matej Mohoric (2022 ). For Offredo, some may have the upper hand in this situation: “Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) is one of the names we don’t necessarily mention who has had a good start to the season. He won in Australia. He’s a good little outsider who can exploit the marking of some of the favourites”.

Our consultant places less hope in Julian Alaphilippe, even if he believes him capable of creating a surprise, depending on his form. “He is a rider capable of transcending himself in big events, and who is one of those rare riders capable of making a difference in the Poggio. If he is the Julian Alaphilippe we have known in previous years, he is capable. However, we have seen him at the Tirreno-Adriatico, when he accelerates on very intense efforts, he is a little overtaken by Jumbo-Visma and Wout van Aert, to see how he will be in Milan, but he is a priori a little below what one would expect from he”.

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