The 1965 Milan-San Remo

Date: Friday 19 March 1965

Starters: 153
Classified: 90
Distance: 287 km
Average speed: 41,641 km/hour
Weather conditions: Grey with fog and drizzle at the start. Hazy conditions later

The course of the 1965 Milan-San Remo was changed due to work on the coast road, the via Aurelia, between Finale and Pietra Ligure. The race went over the 500m high Colle del Ponte di Merlo (better known as "Melongo"), going to the village of Magliolo, for a total of 6 km of climbing with a technical and demanding descent.

Profile of the 1965 Milan-San Remo

The 56th Milan-San Remo was held on the 19 March. It was won by 23 year old Arie den Hartog, a domestic for Jacques Anquetil in the Ford-Gitane team, who was in his second year as a professional rider. Den Hartog became the first rider from the Netherlands to win Sanremo. In his first year Den Hartog had won Paris-Camembert, Tour de l'Hérault and Ronde van Luxembourg. He out-classed a good field in the GP Belgium time trial and also went on to win the 1967 Amstel Gold Race.

The riders left Milan in foggy and grey conditions that would improve as the race progressed. It was dominated for more than 160km by Rik Van Looy's Solo-Superia team, whose orders were to sit on every break and stop it. Second-category Italians, eager to shine in their first big classic, kept the attacks going, and regularly went off the front, being as regularly brought back. On the Turchino, the Italian Franco Bitossi (Springoil-Fuchs), sensation of the 1964 Giro (taking four stage victories), attacked and took a minutes lead. He tired however and was caught on the descent.

Above left - On the long slope of the Capo Caprazoppa (km 201) which was inserted due to problems on the via Aurelia. Franco Balmamion (Sanson) and Raymond Poulidor (Mercier) take along the peloton, which lengthens but will not split. Gianni Motta (Molteni) attacked but was caught and dropped by a very active Rolf Wolfshohl (Mercier). Wolfshohl narrowly missed being the first German winner in the 1963 Sanremo when he was beaten in a two-man sprint by Joseph Groussard. The picture above right shows Wolfshohl on the descent of the Capo Mele having been away for 25km. After an exhausting chase the peloton are about to catch him.

On the Capo Berta - winner of the 1962 and '63 Giro Franco Balmamion attacked and went well clear bringing the watching crowds to their feet. Vittorio Adorni (Salvarini) chased and after 16 km joined him. This looked as if he had made the decisive move, which would bring an Italian victory for the first time since Loretto Petrucci in 1953.

Km 267 with Adorni and Balmamion leading. At this time Van Looy would fall also bringing down Wolfshohl. With the finish only 21 km away Den Hartog decided to make a move. He had been at the front throughout and knew just how tired the others were. "I knew that even time trialing I could last the distance flat out, so I went after them" Den Hartog said after the finish. In three miles Arie Den Hartog had made up the 40 seconds and caught Adorni and Balmamion. Den Hartog is seen at the front of the threesome at Arma di Taggia.

Den Hartog, number 65, set a terrible pace most of the way up the final climb of the Poggio. Arie Den Hartog looks around to check out his opposition during the climb of the Poggio. Franco Balmamion's face (right) shows how hard it has been.

When the finish came the two Italians had nothing left to beat the eager Dutchman. Adorni led out the sprint on the Via Roma from 300 metres, and then when he saw Arie coming up on his left, cut across to stop him in a reflex action. The young strong Netherlander however jumped suddenly away and it was all over. He crossed the line lengths ahead with both hands in the air. Rolf Wolfshohl, who had earlier crashed with Van Looy, came in 51 seconds later thinking he had won the event! Willy Vannitsen won the bunch sprint a few seconds behind the German.

1. Arie DEN HARTOG (Ned) in 6h 53' 32"
2. Vittorio Adorni (Ita)
3. Franco Balmamion (Ita)
4. Rolf Wolfshohl (Ger) à 51"
5. Willy Vannitsen (Bel) à 55"
6. Jan Janssen (Hol)
7. Franco Cribiori (Ita)
8. Guido Reybrouck (Ita)
9. Gianni Motta (Ita)
10. Flaviano Vicentini (Ita)

Photographs © Louis Lucchesi / La Gazzetta della Sport

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