Milan – San Remo
|English name||Milan – San Remo|
|Local name(s)||Milano–Sanremo (Italian)|
|Nickname(s)||The Spring classic (English)
La classica di Primavera (Italian)
|Competition||UCI World Tour|
|Editions||104 (as of 2013)|
|First winner||Lucien Petit-Breton (FRA)|
|Most wins||Eddy Merckx (BEL) (7 wins)|
|Most recent||Gerald Ciolek (GER)|
Milan – San Remo, "The Spring classic", is an annual cycle race between Milan and Sanremo. It is the longest professional one-day race at 298 km. The first was in 1907, when Lucien Petit-Breton won. Today it is one of the 'Monuments' of European cycling, and results contribute towards the UCI World Ranking; until 2007 it was part of the UCI ProTour. From 1999 to 2005, a women's race, the Primavera Rosa was organised alongside the men's but at a shorter distance.
In the early years the main difficulty was the Passo del Turchino, but when cycling became more professional the climb was too far from the finish to be decisive. In 1960 the Poggio, a few kilometres before the finish, was introduced. In 1982 the Cipressa, near Imperia was added. The other hills are the 'capi', the Capo Mele, Capo Berta and Capo Cervo. From 2008 on the organisers added 'Le Manie' as well, between the Turchino and the 'capi'. The 'Turchino' and the 'Manie' are longer climbs, while 'capi', Cipressa and Poggio are rather short. The climbs are neither steep nor long for professional cyclists. As such, many sprinters are capable of keeping with the main peloton on these climbs, and therefore the race most often ends in a mass sprint.
The most successful rider was Eddy Merckx; he won seven times (record of victories in one single classic race). In recent times, the most successful rider has been Erik Zabel who won four times and lost 2004 to Óscar Freire only because he lifted his arms to celebrate too early. It was the opening race of the UCI Road World Cup series until the series was replaced by the UCI ProTour in 2005.
Being the longest professional one-day race, Milan – San Remo is an unusual test of endurance early in the season. It is won often not by the fastest sprinter, but one best prepared early. The Cipressa and Poggio have foiled many sprinters who could not stay with the front group.
Despite its flat course and long finishing straight, sprinters teams have been foiled from time-to-time by a determined attack on the last hills. Good examples include Laurent Jalabert and Maurizio Fondriest escaping in 1995 and staying away to the finish. In 2003, Paolo Bettini attacked with several riders who all stayed away and in 2006 Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Ballan attacked on the last hill and stayed away. The fastest Milan – San Remo over the usual course was in 1990. Gianni Bugno set 6h 25 m 06 seconds to win by 4 seconds over Rolf Gölz. This was an average of 45.8kmh (28.45 mph). In 2006, the peloton came close with a 6h 29 m 41s, won by Filippo Pozzato. The extremes of the race include 12h 24 m in 1910, in a snowstorm.
Winners by nationality
|# of victories||Country|
- Most wins
- Eddy Merckx (7)
- Costante Girardengo (6)
- Gino Bartali, Erik Zabel (4)
- Fausto Coppi, Roger de Vlaeminck, Oscar Freire (3)
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