The Milan-San Remo (Milano-Sanremo) annual cycle race is the longest professional one-day race in modern cycling at a distance of 298 km (185.2 miles). Also known as the Spring Classic (La Classicissima), the Milan to San Remo race was due to run Saturday 21st March 2020, but was cancelled as Italy closed sporting events due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The cycling race is always the first classic race of the season, usually on the third Saturday of March in modern times.

The course starts in Milan in Northern Italy, up the Passo del Turchino, and descends to the seaside resort of San Remo on the Italian Riveria Ligurian Coast. The slow 6-hour race finishes in a famous dramatic down-hill conclusion, and with its flat course is considered a favourite of Sprinters (if not beaten by the Cipressa and Poggio).

The competition has been won 7 times by Eddy Merckx (Belgium), widely considered the most successful rider in the history of competitive cycling.

The history of the Milan to San Remo

The first race was held in 1906 in two parts on 2nd April (Milan–Acqui Terme) and 3rd April (Acqui Terme–Sanremo). The first one-day event was held on 14th April 1907 and started at 5am in cold weather. Only 14 of the 33 riders finished, despite attracting some of the best riders in Europe.

In 1910 due to extreme weather conditions, only 4 of the 63 riders passed the finish line. The winning time of 12 hours and 24 minutes remains the longest, but the race entered cycling folklore.

From 1917 to 1928 the great Italian rider Costante Girardengo won six races, with another 5 podium finishes. The 11 total is a record.

From 1935 to 1953 the Milan-San Remo was run every year on 19th March, on the feast of patron Saint Joseph. The press named it la Gara di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Race) and the Milan-San Remo was also coined La Classicissima.

In 1997, there was a crash at the finish line.

Laurent Jalabert, Johan Museeuw and Maximilian Sciandri crash on the finish line in 1997.

The Milan-San Remo route

The race starts on the Piazza del Duomo in Milan and heads to the southwest. Heading by the cities of Pavia, Voghera, Tortona, Novi Ligure and Ovada to the Liguria coast. After 140km the race hits the first and steepest climb of the day with the Passo del Turchino.

After the descent, the race reaches the Ligurian Sea in Voltri at the halfway point and continues with its spectacular coastal scenery.

In San Lorenzo al Mare the course hits the second climb with the Cipressa, 22 km from the finish.

The final and most famous climb is the Poggio di Sanremo, a suburb of San Remo.

The final 5.4km  finish from the peak is a fast descent towards the Via Roma in the center of Sanremo.

What is the fastest winning time in the Milan to San Remo bike race?

In 1990 Italian Gianni Bugno set a race record of 6h 25 m 06 seconds averaging 45.8 kmh (28.45 mph).

How many different nationalities have won the Milan-San Remo cycle race?

As of 2020, 12 nationalities have won the race with riders from Australia,  Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Switzerland

Which Professional Cycle Riders have won the most times?

 Eddy Merckx (BEL)1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976
 Costante Girardengo (ITA)1918, 1921, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1928
 Gino Bartali (ITA)1939, 1940, 1947, 1950
 Erik Zabel (GER)1997, 1998, 2000, 2001
 Fausto Coppi (ITA)1946, 1948, 1949
 Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL)1973, 1978, 1979
 Óscar Freire (ESP)2004, 2007, 2010
 Gaetano Belloni (ITA)1917, 1920
 Alfredo Binda (ITA)1929, 1931
 Giuseppe Olmo (ITA)1935, 1938
 Loretto Petrucci (ITA)1952, 1953
 Miguel Poblet (ESP)1957, 1959
 Laurent Fignon (FRA)1988, 1989
 Seán Kelly (IRL)1986, 1992

 

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