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Sanremo takes detour to avoid landslide

MASONE, Italy (VN) — Landslides will not stop Italy’s biggest one-day race. Milano-Sanremo will turn onto the A10 toll road Saturday to avoid a landslide along the famous Aurelia coastal road.

The 65-foot landslide spread down to the Mediterranean Sea. Authorities report that two people were injured when large boulders tumbled down onto the road and cars below, just outside of Voltri.

An announcement crackled through race radio first in Italian, then in English and French while the 11-man escape approached the foot of the famous Turchino climb, where Fausto Coppi escaped solo for his win 70 years ago in 1946. Race organizer RCS Sport told the teams their riders were to follow the signs in Voltri to enter the toll road — “Autostrada,” in Italy — after the Turchino.

“Due to a landslide,” race radio reported, “riders will take the Autostrada in Voltri and exit in Arenzano.”

RCS Sport e-mailed an explanation moments later: “Due to a landslide on the Milano-Sanremo original race course in between Genova Voltri and Arenzano, the Race Direction together with the Police Support Officer decided to divert the race onto the A10 highway, entering in Genova Voltri and exiting in Arenzano to rejoin the original course. This detour is now officially part of the race course.”

The move requires the 199 cyclists to climb to the four-lane Autostrada, two lanes in each direction, that twists above the Ligurian coast from Cinque Terre to France. Once on the highway, they will pass several tunnels in a stretch of around 14 kilometers.

For the first time in several years, the race started in warm 55°F sun in Milan. In recent years, rain has been a frequent feature of “La Classica di Primavera” and in 2013, snow forced organizers to bus riders around the Turchino to restart the race afterwards.

After the detour Saturday, riders must still cover 130 kilometers to reach Sanremo’s Via Roma finish. The stretch includes the Tre Capi climbs and the Cipressa and Poggio climbs.