Milan - San Remo 1961: a champion is born

Started in 1907, the one day race from Milan to San Remo is one of the five main events in the cycling calendar. This race, which links the northern capital to the mediterannean sea, is nicknamed “La Primavera (the Spring Classic) or “La Classicissima“ (the Ultimate Classic). With its 298 km which unfold in March, it's the first date of the professional cycling calendar

The 1961 Edition.A few kilometres from the finish line, an unknown racer appears on viewers’ screens in black and white. Bearing the famous Mercier jersey, this young champion joined the professional team led by Antonin Magne the year before. The commentators are taken by surprise and then swept away by the frenzy. Effectively, despite there only being a few hundred metres left, the peloton arrives and seems settled on swallowing up the young champion.

Mercier’s sports director, placed a few metres behind the racer, encourages him whilst simultaneously turning around to see where the peloton was placed. Only a few metres remain! Then pure joy: the racer escapes and succeeds in winning. As he crossed the line, his face only showed the strain of his efforts. His name: Raymond Poulidor.