Ahead of tomorrow’s 105th edition of Milan-San Remo, seven-time winner Eddy Merckx has today helped open a gallery in a disused railway tunnel that celebrates the history of one the greatest – and certainly the longest – one day races in cycling.
The Milano-Sanremo Gallery is a collaboration between race organisers RCS Sport, who own La Gazzetta dello Sport, the newspaper that founded the race, and San Remo-based Area 24, which redevelops disused railway lines along the Ligurian coast.
The gallery, at Ospedaletti, forms part of a 1.75km tunnel on the 24km cycle path from San Lorenzo al Mare, open only to people on bike or foot. Images from the race are placed overhead.
There’s a play on words here – besides "gallery," the word “galleria” in Italian also means “tunnel” – and features 100 images curated by La Gazzetta dello Sport that relate the history of the race, first run in 1907.
Merckx said: “This beautiful initiative gives a new lustre to one of the historic classics of world cycling.
“It is a race I hold dear, because of its timeless fascination.
“The Milano-Sanremo Gallery justly celebrates the springtime Classicissima and the riders who have made it great.”
It’s the second cycling-related tunnel on the Continent we’ve reported on in recent weeks, following the opening of the Tunnel de la Croix-Rousse in Lyon, France - due to feature in the opening time trial of June's Critérium du Dauphiné.
Meanwhile, with excitement building ahead of tomorrow’s race, the first Monument of the season, here’s a link to the roadbook, and below are YouTube videos of the descents of the Cipressa and the Poggio during a 2012 recce by Giant-Shimano’s Koen de Kort.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.