The only rider to win seven editions of Milan-San Remo was Eddy Merckx, who is generally regarded as the greatest cyclist ever. The Belgian won the first in 1966, and went on to dominate that race until 1976, when he won his seventh and final Milan-San Remo.
One man who was heavily involved with Merckx throughout his career was Italian frame builder Ernesto Colnago, who first met him a few days before his first Milan-San Remo win.
As he recalled in an extensive interview with Cyclingnews, Colnago gave Merckx a pair of special wheels and pedals to race on.
"The next day, Merckx won Milano-San Remo on our wheels, beating Gianni Motta, who was riding my bike. So that's how I became friends with Eddy Merckx," said Colnago.
"As a rider, as a man, he was one who didn't say a lot. If it was raining or sunny, cold or hot, he was the same. That was Merckx. I remember the Wednesday before he won the World Championships in Mendrisio, he did a training ride of 380km!
He rode from the Abetone Pass in Tuscany all the way to Cambiago! It was hot there so Merckx left at 5am with his soigneur Isaia and a Molteni team car behind. I told him 'if you're tired and are still 50km away, just stop. You have to keep going as long as you can and don't stop. Always allez!'"
Ernesto Colnago wanted to give Merckx three different bikes to test before the World's, but found it was hard to catch Merckx before he went training. "We took him to a hotel not too far from here in Cannonica Lambro, Albergo Forsati, and I said 'Eddy, think about which bike you want to use Sunday.' Because each bike had a different seat-tube angle, so I suggested that he get up tomorrow morning and try the three bikes.
When Isaia went to wake up Merckx at 8am, he was already gone! He asked in the reception and they told him 'Oh, Merckx left at 7am to ride the Ghisallo.' The day before he had done 380km and the next day he was out on the bike again. So Isaia jumped in the car and by the time he caught up with him, Merckx was already in Lecco, halfway to Ghisallo. That was Merckx..."