Milan-Sanremo Documentary

Friday, 15 March 2013

Mark Cavendish talking about opera, Filippo Pozzato sliding his Ferrari around the bends of the Poggio, a priest discussing doping and a two-time winner of Milan-Sanremo from the 1950s riding an indoor exercise bike. All this and more in the documentary film by Wilfried de Jong.

The “Milaan-Sanremo” documentary by de Jong was shown on Dutch TV this week and the channel has generously let the video be shared. If you enjoyed the recent piece on here “The Longest Race in the World” then I suspect you find this exponentially superior. The landscapes are there, there’s a feature on the broken glasshouses of the Poggio and more.

Universal language
Ja, it’s a Dutch TV programme but don’t be scared. Mark Cavendish is interviewed in English and talks about opera and olive trees and, via his several contributions during the program, explains in video some of the tactics I try to cover in the race previews.

There’s a meeting with the 1952 and 1953 winner Loretto Petrucci, these days he moves around in mobility scooter but pedals on an indoor bike. You get to meet the priest of the chapel on the Cipressa. Much is in Italian but the images don’t need words, none more so when you see Filippo Pozzato slide his Ferrari 458 around the bends of the Poggio. The same when de Jong shows the Cipressa descent and marks out which lamppost or olive tree was involved a crash from the past, it’s in Dutch but viewers can work out what it’s all about. Towards the end there’s Valentina Recanati, a cyclist and podium “miss.”

I’d originally put this on Tumblr but it’s too good to leave there. Perhaps the only problem is the video streaming itself, the streaming gets a bit clunky and I kept getting video laden “video loading” messages. But it’s free.

Tricky Hawes March 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Are there any languages you *don’t* speak, Mr Ring?

Anyway, this is a great find – thanks very much.

The Inner Ring March 15, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Watch Sporza and the Flemish classics and you get “cycling” language, enough to follow a race and know what the climbs are and where the climbs are. But little more.

Anonymous March 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm


Gus March 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Pozatto and Ferrari eh? He’s been in trouble for this before.

Good video and no Dutch needed.

Sebastien March 15, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I know it was written Ferrari 548 in the subtitles but its a 458…there is no Ferrari 548.
Nice video, always nice to have Cav’s take on his wins.

The Inner Ring March 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Correct & fixed.

Ultyguy March 15, 2013 at 10:25 pm

As if I wasn’t already on the tip of my seat, I’m now frothing at the mouth and we’re still 2 days away!

I’m not a Cav fanboy, but for me, his 2009 SanRemo is the greatest sprint in recent memory and I think he secretly cherishes that victory above all the others. Here’s to the organizers not screwing up the fine balance with adding more climbing.

InTheGC March 15, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Not sure how long that will last though, rumours changes are a’foot in 2014…

PS. Great video @Inrng has perked my night up no end!

Wammeke March 16, 2013 at 12:28 am

Another great documentary by Wilfried… Awesome..

Stephen March 16, 2013 at 3:58 am

I think you just found the love child of Sir Ian McKellen and Graeme Obree…

Kjetil March 16, 2013 at 9:28 am

Great find!
I have trouble with the spoken Dutch, but manage to make sense of spoken Italian with Dutch subtitles.
I miss Le Manie in it. Maybe too new to the race with too little cycling-cultural references. But the light in the Turchino tunnel, the Imperia section, THAT corner on the Cipressa descent, Pozzato on spring, hormones and women in the abandoned Poggio glass houses, and on we go makes it an excellent view – never mind the frequent video feed zones.

Steve Chandler March 16, 2013 at 9:48 am

A beautiful video. There’s a passion for cycle racing across on the Continent that we seldom see in the UK, more’s the pity. Exiting the Turchino tunnel – from Winter into Spring – must be one of life’s more uplifting moment’s.

Please can someone make as compelling film about Paris Roubaix.

Anonymous March 16, 2013 at 10:26 am

De Jong made one about P-R. Try Also check out “Parijs-Roubaix van dichtbij” on Youtube. Enjoy!

Peter March 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I’m not sure if non-Dutch can also see the video on the ‘uitzending gemist’ page (, but if you watch via that website you can turn on Dutch subtitles which might make it easier to understand if you don’t speak Dutch.

keithwarmington March 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm

steve chandler youve not seen a sunday in hell by jorgen leith?? If not you’ve got a treat ahead

ak March 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm

De Jong is an excellent sports journalist, always looking beyond the daily match and finding the stories and people. Haven’t seen this one yet but loved his p-r doc last year.

another dave March 17, 2013 at 10:59 am

brilliant who needs to speak Italian though i must learn ,Video in black and white brings back the beautiful days

Sebastien March 17, 2013 at 11:00 am
Doxter March 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

Question re. The Classic’s – what qualifies a race as being one

The Inner Ring March 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

It normally means an long-standing race that’s over 200km. In other words, a classic event on the calendar.

These days the term is abused, a label to applied to a brand new race, for example the Food Valley Classic.

The Inner Ring March 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

A note to say I’ve had to retype some comments in here after problems with the website overnight.

The server that runs this site has been having too many problems and I’m changing the hosting company. As part of this some comments overnight were lost… and I’ve entered them back manually.

Sorry for the problems but hopefully it means this website is now faster and more reliable.

Espresso March 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

What a find, this is brilliant.

I’d pay good money for a series on this, Roubaix, Flanders, Liege and more.

Willem H. de Boer March 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm

There’s a Roubaix documentary by the same guys, with a long interview with Cancellara towards the end. It was online last year, but I haven’t been able to find it since!!

Willem H. de Boer March 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Here’s part of it on YouTube:

The Inner Ring March 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I’m glad people enjoyed this, I wasn’t sure if the foreign language aspect would be enjoyable or not but I think the quality of the film exceeded the Dutch language.

If you enjoyed this I’ve found a great short film about Flemish racing which will appear on here in time for the Tour of Flanders.

David March 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

watching this again this year, every day pretty much for the last week leading up to msr.

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