sometimes you have to stop and smell the chamois butter

Saturday, March 19, 2011

la classica di Primavera

Today marks the 102nd running of the the Spring classic, the Milan-San Remo.  The event was organized by the Italian sports paper, La Gazzetta dello Sport in 1907, who questioned whether or not finishing was even a possibility.  The first edition started on April 14, 1907, covering 288 kilometers and draconian rules forbade any feed zones or equipment changes.  Out of 33 starters, only 14 finished. 
In 1927 the race was moved from April to March, and the length gradually increased to 300 kilometers by 1946.
The fastest Milan-San Remo was in 1990, won by Gianni Bugno in 6 hrs, 25 min, 6 sec at an average speed of 28.45 mph.
The slowest was held during a snowstorm in 1910, where only four riders finished.  Eugene Christophe was the victor after 12 hrs 24 min.

The venerable Eddy Merckx holds the greatest number of wins at seven.
The Italians have taken 50 victories in their home country and Italian rider Wladimiro Panizza holds the record for participation with an amazing 18 starts.
 The event has become known as the "sprinter's classic," amazing in itself that riders have enough "kick" left after 299 kilometers of racing.

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