HEADER

LA CLASSICISSIMA D’EPOCA.

For the professionals, the annual Milan-Sanremo at 298km (185.2 miles) is the longest one-day race in modern day cycling. That’s seven hours in the saddle for race winner Michal Kwiatkowski. A momentous early season test. Gruelling. At times tedious. Very often still in the midst of a bitter winter snap. Yet Kwiatkowski and his contemporaries enjoy the benefits of being a top-class rider – support vehicles, a team of loyal gregari, bikes constructed in the latest aviation technology, food and drink on ready demand. Nothing left to chance.

image_1
image_2
image_3
image_4
image_5
image_6

The inaugural Milan-Sanremo was held in 1907. 33 riders started. 14 finished. The race took over 11 hours to complete on bobbly, uncomfortable roads with riders having to repair their own punctures and battling hunger. There are those who still yearn for those pioneering, seemingly halcyon days.

image_7
image_8
image_9
image_10
image_11
image_12
image_13

The Bici d’Epoca community is not only fascinated with the bike itself but its rich culture and distinct stile di vita. Each year ahead of the Milan-Sanremo, this group of elegant individuals, many adorning carefully manicured moustaches and all knitted in vintage chic from yesteryear, gather in Milan. They are here for the Classicissima d’Epoca, a non-competitive version of the one-day classic, which they ride on lovingly resorted bikes and in their thick woolen jerseys, rolled up socks, replenishing their thirst from heavy, steel bidons.

image_16
image_19

Leaving Milan just before midnight they arrive along the Ligurian coast by 15:00 the following afternoon, mere hours before the professionals charge into the coastal town made famous by its casino and annual music festival. The professionals may be faster. But they are significantly less elegant.

image_20
image_21
image_22
EXPLORE THE ESSENTIALS – EURO COLLECTION