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With another exciting edition of Milan San Remo behind us, let’s relive the Centennial edition together, where Oscar Freire won aboard a Clnago C50.

At almost seven hours on the bike, enough to reduce anyone's strength to a minimum, Milano-Sanremo is the longest of the Monument Classics, it's seemingly endless, at almost 300km.

Oscar Freire, riding a Colnago C50, won it three times. The victory in the race’s centennial, in 2007, is a masterpiece of anticipation.

The photo of the finish portrays him with his arms wide open and the confidence of the strongest rider etched on his face. The day before, he had chosen to mount the 54-tooth chainring,
and the long sprint proved him right; he skipped his rivals like skittles, winning the race with a clear gap over his competitors. The centennial Sanremo (the 98th edition) was won exactly 50 years after the first Spanish success in the Classicissima, by Miguel Poblet. The thirty-one-year-old Rabobank rider’s victory in 2004 was alongside his three World Championships (1999, 2001, 2004, a feat equalled only by Binda, Van Steenbergen, and Merckx), two of which were won in Verona: reflecting the extraordinary connection between “Oscarito” and Italy, him having raced for three years with Mapei at the beginning of his career.

The Colnago C50, used by Freire on the occasion of the Sanremo del Centenario.

As often happens in this race, the fireworks went off on the Poggio. The most beautiful action came from Riccardo Riccò and the Belgian Philippe Gilbert. The chase was led by Paolo Bettini himself, who put himself at the service of Tom Boonen in the finale. All but two came back together in preparation for the sprint: the Milram train was lined up as expected, Marco Velo and then Erik Zabel launched Alessandro Petacchi at 150meters, but the Ligurian wasn't at his best, and Freire timed his move perfectly to win convincingly.

The podium was all foreign, with Allan Davis, the Australian teammate of Ivan Basso at Discovery, and Tom Boonen, and three more foreigners immediately following: Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady, Erik Zabel. The first Italian is Gabriele Balducci, seventh, ahead of Alessandro Petacchi, the great champion defeated.

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