Tom Pidcock was set to lead INEOS Grenadiers at Milano-Sanremo, but that plan was changed this week as he suffered from injuries suffered at Tirreno-Adriatico. A team of wildcards now stand, and Jhonatan Narváez will be keen on taking the opportunity.
"What's it like to be in the wheel with them? I'll have to see if I can follow their wheel on Saturday first," Narváez joked in an interview with In de Leiderstrui. He's referring to Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, with whom he has been able to match in the past on short explosive climbs. The Ecuadorian starts the Italian monument as a big wildcard, but a possibility for the British team to perform.
PREVIEW | Milano-Sanremo 2023 - Pogacar, van Aert, van der Poel and Alaphilippe headline expected epic battle at Poggio
Narváez will be joined by Filippo Ganna and Magnus Sheffield who will also be outsiders. However, the 26-year old has a more explosive profile, perhaps best suited to a climb like the Poggio where the race is expected to explode. “I think you need a strong team to start the climbs in a good position. It is a pity that Tom is not participating, because he is very important and could have won the race," he says.
Sixth at Strade Bianche and E3 Saxo Classic, alongside fourth at the BEMER Cyclassics saw Narváez perform well in the classics when given the freedom. Although this year he has not yet shown his best form, it will be interesting to see if he can be one of the riders to surprise on the way to Via Roma.
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