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Who will be Cavendish’s successor?


For a couple of years now, the Milano-Torino has waved goodbye to Superga and turned its back to climbers so as to make more room for the fast wheels ahead of the Milano-Sanremo. That was the case in the distorted 2020 season (due to Covid), with victory going to Arnaud Démare, and that was the case last year, with Mark Cavendish raising his arms to the sky in Turin, and this 2023 edition will be no exception. 

Mark Cavendish will put his crown as king of the world’s oldest race up for grabs, with the aim, however, of regaining it straight away. The Briton is looking for the right setting with his new team, Astana Qazaqstan, with whom he has embarked on a path that will take the Kazakh team from being a stage race team to one for sprinters. His Tirreno-Adriatico was far from memorable, but the same happened last year, and then he won Milano-Torino…

Competition, however, will be even fiercer than 2022. This edition will feature Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jayco AlUla), who had to bow to Jasper Philipsen in San Benedetto del Tronto, but who has already made his mark at the Saudi Tour and the UAE Tour this season. Next up is Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), who has also started the new year with good feelings and excellent sprints. The Colombian won a stage in the Vuelta a San Juan, followed by four podiums in the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico, where he came close to hitting the jackpot in Follonica, the stage won by Fabio Jakobsen.  

Among the riders who most tickle the fan’s fancy is Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) who, despite preferring routes with a slightly more complex altimetry, can certainly defend himself more than well in bunch sprints. Alongside him will be Niccolò Bonifazio, who could either make himself available to the Eritrean or be given carte blanche to try and make his own race. Double card also available for Bora-hansgrohe, with Jordi Meeus and Matthew Walls, the latter winner of the Gran Piemonte in 2021.

In the likely case of a bunch sprint, then, Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic), who has not won for exactly a year and finished second last year, and Matteo Moschetti (Q36.5), who has made a strong start this year with the newly formed Swiss team, will have to be kept an eye on. Among the outsiders, Matteo Malucelli (Bingoal WB), Marius Mayrhofer and Casper Van Uden (Team DSM), Attilio Viviani (Team Corratec), Itamar Einhorn (Israel-Premier Tech), Marijn Van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Jon Aberasturi (Trek-Segafredo), Arvid De Kleijn (Tudor) and Luca Colnaghi (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) will also try to join the fight.

Those who will try to avoid a bunch sprint are certainly AG2R Citroën, with Greg Van Avermaet, Oliver Naesen and Andrea Vendrame. It will be interesting to see how Alberto Bettiol’s legs (EF Education-EasyPost) will respond after his crash at the Strade Bianche. Also in the American line-up is Richard Carapaz, who is certainly not suited to this type of terrain but nevertheless wants to test his condition and show off his new jersey as Ecuadorian national champion for the first time. 

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