The 1948 Milan-San Remo

Date - Friday 19 March 1948
Race distance - 290.5 km
Started -
Finished - 72
Weather conditions - Fine
Average speed - 37.284 km/h

The 1948 Milan-San Remo was the inaugural race of a new season long competition the Challenge Desgrange-Colombo. It was named after Henri Desgrange and Emilio Colombo (original organisers of the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia) and was run by the newspapers L'Équipe, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Het Nieuwsblad-Sportwereld and Les Sports.

Riders' performances in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, La Flèche Wallonne, Paris-Brussels, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy all counted towards the competition. The Tour of Switzerland was added in 1949, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1951, and the Vuelta a España was included in 1958.
The Challenge Desgrange-Colombo ran from 1948 until 1958. The first winner in 1948 was the Belgian rider Briek Schotte.

The 1948 edition of La Classicissima was won by Fausto Coppi riding for the Bianchi team. A two man break went away on the climb of the Turchino Pass. It was caught on the descent by Coppi and eleven others. At Alassio they were down to four with Fausto Coppi making his move alone on the Capo Mele. He arrived in San Remo over five minutes ahead of his nearest rivals.
Right: The start of the 1948 Milan-San Remo. The field included a record number of 50 non-Italian riders who were eager to compete in the new season-long competition.

A nervous start as the race crosses the Lombardy Plain

Giordano Cottur (Wilier-Triestina) leads Gino Sciardis in a tenacious attack on the Turchino Pass. Cottur went a few metres ahead at the summit to take the prime.

Fausto Coppi going through the feed station at Savona

The decisive moment of the 1948 Milan-San Remo. Coppi (far right) looks around at his breakaway companions Fermo Camellini, Aldo Baito (Viscontea) and Vittorio Rossello (Viani-Cral Imperia) and prepares to make his attack.

Fausto Coppi alone on the Capo Mele with 30 km remaining

Fausto Coppi victorious on the Corso Cavallotti

Vittorio Rossello takes second place from Fermo Camellini. Aldo Baito who was in the four-man break did not finish due to an incident with a race vehicle.