The 1917 Milan-San Remo

Sunday 15 April 1917
Started - 48
Finished - 14
Weather conditions - Poor conditions with rain. Snow on the Turchino Pass and a violent hailstorm in the vicinity of Voltri
Distance - 286.5 km
Average speed - 22.500 km/hour

The 10th edition of Milan-San Remo was won by the twenty-four year old Italian rider from Pizzighettone, Gaetano Belloni. "Tano" Belloni's professional career lasted 16 years, from 1916 to 1932. His forty-nine victories were mostly gained in his home country and included a second Milan-San Remo in 1920. In later years Belloni ventured further afield with wins in the New York and Chicago six-day races. Gaetano Belloni died in 1980.

Among the starters were Costante Girardengo, a future six-time winner of Sanremo, and the Swiss rider Oscar Egg who had taken the hour record in 1914. This was a record Egg would hold for almost thirty years.

Belloni rode to a fantastic victory going over the top of the Turchino in first place and riding the last 143 km to the finish alone.

The image on the left shows the gruppo just after Ovada. Image right shows Belloni attacking on the snow covered slopes of the Turchino with Girardengo and Egg the only riders able to stay with the fierce pace. Gaetano Belloni was to prove too strong however and was soon out in front alone.

Left to right - 1) Belloni going through Voltri at 1225 hours.  2)  Egg leads Girardengo through Voltri five minutes in arrears. 3) Angelo Gremo, Leopoldo Torricelli and Pietro Bestetti are next twelve minutes down on the leader.

4) Belloni a few kilomtres later at Arenzano. 5) Girardengo now on the front from Egg. The lead has increased to six minutes - a one minute gain in only six kilometres. Oscar Egg would soon retire leaving Girardengo to chase alone.

Belloni on the Capo Mele

Gaetano Belloni arrives in San Remo over eleven minutes clear of Costante Girardengo. Angelo Gremo was third a distant forty-two minutes later. The first three home were riding Bianchi bicycles with Pirelli tires.

Images from and copyright of
Il Secolo Illustrato