We begin our nostalgic look back at the first fifty years of the Milan-San Remo with the Turchino Pass. It has been present in all but the 2001 and 2002 editions and has seen many epic battles. At the top of this famous 20km long climb is a 180 metre long tunnel. The Turchino no longer plays an important role in selecting the winner but this has not always been the case.

Between 1908 and 1946 the first rider to the top of the Turchino went on to win no less than 14 times. In a five year period from 1917-1921 every man reaching the top of the climb in first place won the race.

Several riders have made lone breaks whch saw them win the Turchino prime and then carry on alone to win by a distance (1908 Cyrille Van Hauwaert, 1917 Gaetano Belloni, 1918 Costante Girardengo, 1927 Pietro Chesi, 1946 Fausto Coppi).

The longest race-winning break was by six-time winner Costante Girardengo who in 1918 attacked at the Rivalta Scrivia with 200km to the finish. When Girardengo went away he still had about 55km to ride before he reached the top of the Turchino. However the competition was not great as 1918 saw the least number of starters ever with only 32 riders taking the line. Only seven finished due to very poor weather conditions, which saw the riders struggle through intense rain and wind. Girardengo came home 13 minutes ahead of his nearest rival Gaetano Belloni. The last man into San Remo, Luigi Vertemati, was over four hours behind.

The greatest winning margin from a lone attack either before or on the "Passo" was by the great Fausto Coppi in 1946. Coppi attacked at Masone with 147km remaining. His competitors did not see him again and he won by 14 minutes from the French rider Lucien Teisseire.

Belloni takes Turchino prime 1917

Turchino Prime winners   1907-1957

1907 Gerbi
1908 Van Hauwaert
1909 Ganna
1910 Van Hauwaert
1911 Lignon
1912 Pelissier H.
1913 Heusghem
1914 Pelissier H.
1915 Belloni
1917 Belloni
1918 Girardengo
1919 Gremo Ang.
1920 Belloni
1921 Girardengo
1922 Girardengo
1923 Bottecchia
1924 Arduino
1925 Girardengo
1926 Girardengo
1927 Chesi
1928 Binda
1929 Binda
1930 Negrini
1931 Binda
1932 Barral
1933 Di Paco
1934 Orecchia
1935 Montesi
1936 Mollo
1937 Valetti

1938 Vicini
1939 Albani Fr.
1940 Albani Fr.
1941 Pedevilla
1942 Cottur
1943 Ortelli
1946 Coppi
1947 Cecchi
1948 Cottur
1949 De Santi
1950 Logli
1951 Ricci Cl.
1952 Ciolli Marc.
1953 De Santi
1954 Gaggero
1955 Ferlenghi
1956 Baffi
1957 Strehler

Coppi 1946 winner

Fausto Coppi wins in 1946

List of riders between 1908 and 1946 who took the Turchino prime and also won
Year Rider Won by
1908 Cyrille Van Hauwaert 3' 30"
1909 Luigi Ganna 3' 00"
1912 Henri Pelissier Won sprint
1917 Gaetano Belloni 11' 48"
1918 Costante Girardengo 13' 00"
1919 Angelo Gremo 2' 15"
1920 Gaetano Belloni Won sprint
1921 Costante Girardengo Won sprint
1925 Costante Girardengo Won sprint
1926 Costante Girardengo 6' 40"
1927 Pietro Chesi 9' 00"
1929 Alfredo Binda 8' 30"
1931 Alfredo Binda Won sprint
1946 Fausto Coppi 14' 00"

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