SEAN 'KING' KELLY TALKS MILAN - SAN REMO PAST AND PRESENT
It's what many of us have been waiting for as we get back to some normality and back to racing. With much of the racing associated with spring taking place over the coming weeks, we catch up with Vitus ambassador Sean Kelly to take a look back at his wins and get his thoughts on this year's race.
Few partnerships have had more impact on cycling than that of Vitus and Sean 'King' Kelly and we are proud to have provided a race-winning platform that seen Sean forge such an illustrious career in the sport. With a win tally of 192 professional races, Sean puts his know-how into the DNA of our bikes to this day and looks back fondly on the successful times shared with Vitus. First up, we have Milan-San Remo, the grueling one-day event that sees the riders clock up the most miles in any of the monuments.
"My first victory was in 1986 when I escaped on the Poggio with Greg 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 really 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 Argentin's 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 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 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.”
We do not really know how riders like Alaphilippe are going at present due to punctures last weekend in the Strada Bianche, but even taking that into account my pick for victory would be Sam Bennett. I might be a bit biased as I would really like to see Sam take the win, but I also believe that he is overdue a really big one and that he is talented enough to do it."