By Barry Boyce,


Top 20 All Time Major Classics #18

Milan-San Remo 1977: Youthful Dutchman Wins a Monument

CR Timeline 1977

"Who is Jan Raas?" A huge crowd at the finish line on the Via Roma in San Remo watched in shock as a little known Dutch rider stole the headlines of the day.

Jan Rass had a strong start to the 1977 season. He had two stage wins in the Tour of the Mediterranean, several stage podium finishes in Paris-Nice, and a second in the Het Volk. But his palmares fell well short of the race favorites in 1977.

Raas made a career move at the end of 1976 by leaving the powerful Raleigh team in search of more freedom to race. Team Frisol-Gazelle recognized his talent and gave him the opportunity to win. He rode Milan-San Remo in 1976 and learned how to win the race. The climb of the Poggio held the secret. Eddy Merckx had successfully used this final climb to tally an incredible 7 M-SR victories.

At the 1977 start in Milan the Frisol Team pledged Raas full support. The first half of the race did not go well for Raas. With 2 riders in a breakaway the Dutchman crashed on the climb of the Tuchino Pass and need a wheel. The team car was stuck in traffic, quickly Wilfried Wesemael gave his team leader a wheel. Thirty-two kilometers later after a hard chase Raas caught the peloton as the race hit the Mediterranean coast.

*Race profile courtesy of Internet site:

The race entered the final and decisive section. The first of five capi (short but hard climbs) saw the race become very animated. The breakaway was now 6 riders, but only led by 20 seconds. On the final capo, the legendry Poggio, 19 year old Giuseppe Sarroni attacked with Raas close behind. The two quickly caught the leaders. Raas attacked immediately. Only Giuseppe Perletto was able to answer the move. Raas went over the top of the Poggio with a 4 second lead on Perletto.

It was here that the lessons he had learned from Eddy Merckx's victories, took effect. He started an insane plunge down the other side towards the packed finishing area of San Remo. At the bottom of the Poggio there was still a long 3km flat stretch to the finish line; the race was not over. The Perlotti led peloton was in full flight and closing. Down the Via Roma Raas put in maximum effort as the astonished crowd witnessed the Dutchman hold off the charging pack and cross the finish line first.

From the Italian tifosi "Raas? Jan Raas?"... "Who is he?" The answer came quickly, he is the Dutchman who beat the odds to win the 1977 Milan-San Remo.

M-SR March 19, 1977
288 Km

1. Jan RAAS (Ned) 6h41'59"

2. Roger de Vlaeminck (Bel) +03"

3. Wilfried Wesemael (Bel) +05"

Starters: 230
Finishers: 148
Average Speed: 42.992 km/h



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