"Rain and snow on Saturday, that would be good for me" - Arnaud De Lie dreams of grizzly conditions for Milano-Sanremo

Arnaud De Lie has built quite a reputation over the past year, and despite being only 20 years old he's one of the big favourites for Milano-Sanremo. He discusses expectations, his partnership with Caleb Ewan and how he would prefer bad weather.

“We can both get to the foot of the Cipressa well and we can look further from there. Once at the top we will have an idea who is good and who is not," de Lie told La Dèrnière Heure. “If we are both still there on top of the Poggio, it is up to the team leaders to make a choice. We don't have time to talk, but through communication they can tell us what to do. But I hope we're both there, it'll increase the chances of it staying together. We are also lucky that we are both very fast.”

Ewan has over the last years finished twice second at Sanremo, but is simultaneously an inconsistent figure when it comes to the climbs. De Lie is a young figure in the peloton and a debutant in the Italian monument, but he argues that the distance the race will bring in should not be an unknown challenge to him.

“No, no, it's only forty minutes more than Plouay and Gent-Wevelgem, races I've already done," he argues. "I'm going to close my eyes and not think about those extra forty minutes, We have a good team, with Pascal Eenkhoorn, Jacopo Guarnieri and Frederik Frison, for example. But it won't be up to us to control the course. We have to use our riders to be well placed for the Capo Berta, the most difficult of the three Capi.”

His sprinting skills have been evident since his pro debut with Lotto Dstny last year, and in the meantime he's already brought in 12 pro wins. All three of his wins this season - Clásica Comunitat Valenciana and two stages at the Etoile de Bessèges - have been on hilly days. His second place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was also an impressive display of power in the short sharp efforts, and the Belgian could definitely be a threat for the win.

“And hopefully, if I'm still there, on the Poggio. When you are at those points where you should be, all you need is good legs. Without good legs you cannot successfully cross the Cipressa and your chances of crossing the Poggio are even smaller," he understands.

Sanremo is a race where you have to do everything right, and that includes a lot of positioning and know when to time your efforts. However for such a young rider the ambitions of a victory are too heavy to carry, and teammate Florian Vermeersch has defended De Lie in a recent interview.

“You have to be much stronger than I am now," he adds, looking to shrug off the pressure. "In other competitions, and even in the Omloop for example, I did it, but that race is different. I really want to get over the Poggio and then see how I feel. That very much depends on how the race goes.”

Lastly, the Italian monument is a race that has in the past been raced under horrible conditions. De Lie admits he would like to experience that. “It's not what they would like in the team, but I prefer bad weather and even some rain. I ride much better in the rain. Yes, rain and snow on Saturday, that would be good for me," he concluded.

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