The longest race on the global cycling calendar returns for 2024, with the 115th edition of Milan-San Remo to take place on Saturday, March 16.

Starting for the first time in Pavia, the 288-kilometre ride will take almost seven hours to complete as the peloton make the trek to the traditional finish in San Remo.

The race kicks off at 10:15am local time, which equates to 8:15pm (AEDT) on Saturday, with Mathieu Van Der Poel of the Netherlands the defending champion, and favourite to take the crown again after a 2023 season which also saw him take out Paris-Roubaix and the World Championship road race.

The route

Starting in Pavia, the route through Italy is mostly flat, with only a handful of small climbs throughout.

Two major ascents towards the finish though will see the riders tackle the six-kilometre, 4.1 per cent average gradient Cipressa-Chiesa which also ramps up to a maximum gradient of 9 per cent, before the famous climb of the Poggio.

The Poggio, where Milan-San Remo is traditionally won and lost, is 3.7 kilometres at 3.7 per cent with a maximum gradient of 8 per cent, but being in position going over the top is critical with only a handful of downhill kilometres leading into the final sprint to the line.

How to watch Milan-San Remo on TV in Australia

In Australia, the race will be broadcast by SBS. Their coverage however won't take in the first three hours of the long race, with the broadcast commencing at 11:10pm (AEDT).

The Italian race is scheduled to finish after 3am (AEDT), with SBS on the air until 3:30am (AEDT).

SBS will broadcast the race on their main channel, found at Channel 31 in high defintion, 30 in standard definition, and 104 if watching through a Foxtel service.

This is the first time SBS have broadcast the race since March 16.

How to live stream Milan-San Remo online in Australia

If you'd prefer to live stream the race, or to catch every kilometre, then you'll be able to tune into SBS on Demand through either their website or mobile platforms.

The coverage there will commence from 7:50pm (AEDT), before the start of the neutral zone at 8pm (AEDT), allowing you to watch all of the fight to be in the early breakaway.

SBS on Demand is free to use with a valid email address to sign up.

The favourites

Defending champion Mathieu Van Der Poel comes into the race as the favourite to defend the crown won last year, and is backed up by a strong Alpecin - Deceuninck team.

Whether a sprinter can finally break through in this race again remains to be seen, with Frenchman Arnaud Demare, who has plenty of rolling ability, a likely contender at the finish as well riding for the Areka - B&B Hotels team. Australian Caleb Ewan or Kiwi Patrick Bevin also won't be discredited if the race does wind up in a sprint.

Other contenders include the likes of Danny Van Poppel, Oliver Naesen, Filippo Ganna and of course former world champuion Julian Alaphilippe who leads the Soudal Quick-Step team that also features Kasper Asgreen.

Australians riding

Simon Clarke (Israel - Premier Tech)
Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Dstny)
Luke Durbridge (Team Jayco AlUla)
Alex Edmondson (Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL)
Caleb Ewan (Team Jayco AlUla)
Chris Hamilton (Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL)
Michael Hepburn (Team Jayco AlUla)
Michael Matthews (Team Jayco AlUla)
Luke Plapp (Team Jayco AlUla)
Miles Scotson (Areka-B&B Hotels)