Milan San Remo has become one of Italy’s most prestigious one day classics. Originally run in 1907, Milan San Remo or La Primavera’ retains almost the same route today as it did at the turn of the last century.
Beginning in the industrial town of Milan, the race crosses the Lombardy plains before travelling over the Apennines to the summit of Bric Berton. There is then a hair raising descent into the outskirts of Genoa before travelling along the coast of the Ligurian Sea. Prominent locations include Savona, Capi (which has 3 short hills – a preparation for the decisive hills to come.
The real race hots up as it approaches Cipressa. Cipressa has a steep and narrow hairpinned hill, which usually sees the bunch split for the first time. There is a fierce battle for places in the lead upto the hill.
Poggia di San Remo.
Just before the outskirts of San Remo, comes the hill of Poggio. It can be the decisive place for a break to form. Former double winner Sean Kelly says. “Everyone gets so nervous, because they know that if you have 100 metres lead at the top of the poggio you’ll win. But, just as decisive is the short hair pinned descent which comes after. For example, in 1992, Moreno Argentin led Sean Kelly over the top of the Poggio but, taking risks on the descent Sean Kelly, (then 36 years old) was able to catch up with Argentin and outsprint him at the last.
Sprinters of Milan San Remo
However, the Poggia is not always the decisive place. Quite often, the race is only decided on the final run and sprint in to the town of San Remo. Great sprint winners of Milan San Remo include:
- Erik Zabel 1997, 1998, 2001
- Mario Cipollini 2002
- Sean Kelly,
Great Champions of Milan San Remo
Milan San Remo has been won by some of the greatest names in professional cycling.
Before the war, the race was dominated by Constante Girardengo – He won Milan San remo 6 times. At the peak of his fame, he was said to be more popular than Mussolini.
Announcing his entrance into the top echelons of pro cycling, Eddy Merckx won the race in 1966. He went on to win the race a total of 7 times.
- In 1946, Fausto Coppi won Milan San Remo by a record 14 minutes.