It was cold, the roads were full with mud
and there was laying snow on both sides of the road.
The 38th edition of Milano – Sanremo, held in 1947, was a heroic one.
In the year before, Fausto Coppi
had won the race with a magnificant solo.
The weather conditions were completely different then.
The roads were clean, it was a sunny day
and the race was visited by a great amount of people.
In 1947 the Italians still remembered the great solo of Fausto Coppi,
therefore he was seen as the favorite to win the race.
Though the media stated that he was not in a good shape.
In Milano 135 men took off to Sanremo.
A lot of riders didn’t make it to the finish,
because of the cold and the rain.
They sat on the side of the roads, waiting for their helpers
to give them some sugar and alcohol to warm up again.
Ezio Cecchi was not one of them.
The veteran of the peloton took off early in the race with a few others.
He soon dropped them all and went on by himself.
Gino Bartali followed Cecchi on more than nine minutes with another group.
Bartali felt strong and he began the chase.
On the Capo Berta he joined Cecchi
and would leave him behind at the San Lorenzo al Mare.
He came solo over the finish.
After more than eight hours on a bike,
he was covered in black mud, was hard to recognize,
but still had a big smile on his face.
Cecchi became 2nd at 3’57.
The favorite, Fausto Coppi, abandoned the race.
This was not the first time Gino Bartali won the race.
He was the best in 1939 and 1940 and would also be the winner of 1951.
But this was a special one.
The other three were all sprints,
this was a heroic chase through wind and rain,
followed by a fantastic solo of 18 kilometres.
I would have crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face too.
© La Gazzetta dello Sport