The 1949 Milan-San Remo
   
Saturday 19 March 1949 saw the great Fausto Coppi, riding for the Bianchi-Ursus team, win his third and final victory in the 40th edition of Milan-San Remo. Coppi had won the previous year and also in 1946. 1949 was arguably Coppi's greatest year. He became the first ever cyclist to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year.

202 riders from the 226 who entered left Milan with 290.5km ahead of them. The race was held in fine weather conditions. Coppi finished in a record average speed of 39.397 km/h beating the previous best set by Giuseppe Olmo (38.517 km/h) in 1938.

Right - cover of Lo Sport Illustrato dated 24 March 1949. It said Coppi: Appuntamento Col Traguardo (Coppi: Appointment with the finishing line). He had gone clear on the Capo Berta and rode solo to the finish. His nearest rival, the Italian champion, Vito Ortelli, arrived in San Remo over four minutes behind.

Cover of Lo Sport Illustrato issue dated 24 March 1949. Shows Fausto Coppi on his way to victory in Milano Sanremo.

© La Gazzetta dello Sport/Publifoto

   
The 1949 Milan-San Remo got off to a very fast start due to favourable winds. It was as if the riders did not know that they had over 290km ahead of them. Those observing agreed that the pace was exaggerated. With passing kilometres the speed did not diminish by much. Nearly 46 km/h at Pavia, 44 to Tortona, 43 and a half to Novi, 42 and a half to Ovada and almost 41 km/h to the summit of the Turchino The first 40 km/h Sanremo however would have to wait until 1953.
 
 
Louison Bobet was the most popular foreign rider in Italy at the time. Seen here with some of the enthusiastic crowd before the start. 7.30 the morning of the race.The Frejus Team assemble. Settimo Simonini seen first right with their manager Bertolazzi. Soon after the departure from Milan Erminio Leoni and Teruzzi attack. Neither of them would finish.
     
The first skirmishes do not interest Coppi. Seen here with Alfredo Pasotti on his wheel. Crossing the bridge at Pavia. The gruppo, led by Pierre Brambilla,in pursuit of the two leaders Giovanni Corrieri is the victim of a puncture. He does not finish.
     
Maurice Meersman leads the gruppo across the Lombardy Plain. Guido De Santi is first to the summit of the Turchino followed by Georges Claes. Vito Ortelli goes over the Turchino in third place with the Swiss rider Ferdi Kubler close behind.
     
Fausto Coppi leads a chasing group over the top followed by Fiorenzo Magni and Alfredo Martini. Feruglio vainly chases the leaders on the descent. He will not see Sanremo. World champion Brik Schotte at the head of a gruppo. Finished 83rd at 21'41.
     
Ghiradi has crashed and waits for a wheel change. He too will not arrive at the finish. The race going through Imperia. The high speed takes its toll as fatigue sets in. Small groups begin to form. Luciano Maggini leads one of them.
     
Gino Bartali knows his chance of winning is over. The French rider Edouard Fachleitner attacks on the first of the three capi and looks as though he has the race won. On the Capo Berta with 32km remaining - Fausto Coppi attacks and takes the lead.
     
Left- Vicenzo Rossello and Edouard Fachleitner and right - Fiorenzo Magni and Italo De Zan pursue Coppi in vain. Coppi adding minutes to his advantage. Fiorenzo Magni and Italo De Zan are caught by a group lead by Fermo Camellini. Ortelli can also be seen.
     
Fausto Coppi crosses the finishing line in Sanremo. Vito Ortelli wins the six-man sprint for second place. Adolfo Leoni takes 13th place in a gruppo containing Bartali (second left).
     
All photographs © La Gazzetta dello Sport. Click on underlined photographs for enlargement.
Ortelli is not content with second place.   Fausto Coppi is congratulated. Olmo's record has fallen.
     
Lo Sport article (In Italian)  Complete result  More on Fausto Coppi 

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