How well will Arnaud De Lie perform on his debut at Milano-Sanremo is a question many have asked. Whilst the Belgium just turned 21, his palmarès and qualities in the peloton are undeniable and he starts his first monument as a true wildcard.
“No, I'm not nervous. Most of all, I'm super motivated," he told Sporza at the start in Milano this morning. "It's nice here, it's my first race as a professional in Italy. It is also my first monument, which is special. The same goes for the long distance, we don't ride 300 kilometers every day.”
PREVIEW | Milano-Sanremo 2023 - Pogacar, van Aert, van der Poel and Alaphilippe headline expected epic battle at Poggio
Having won several hilly races/stages this year, De Lie has also changed his initial plans to participate in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. For a powerhouse rider and sprinter, his effort over the Muur de Geraardsbergen was brutal and evidence of his climbing skills on these types of efforts. Over the Poggio di Sanremo, the shallower gradients should fit him even better.
But of course, any effort after almost 300 kilometers on the bike is different. However De Lie does not fear the distance: “The long distance doesn't scare me off. I've already trained almost seven hours twice this year, so I think my body is ready," he tells. "My condition is also good."
Fourth last year at the hilly 255-kilometer long GP de Bretagne, he's also proven his endurance ability. He will be a very dangerous rider, who sets off with no pressure but a goal in mind. "The goal is to survive on the Poggio, then we'll see. It's a great opportunity for both of us. I think they will ride on the Cipressa pace and the favorites will attack on the Poggio," he concluded.