Friday 19 March 1976: the 67th Milan-San Remo was won for a record seventh time by Eddy Merckx.
Eddy Merckx was part of a leading group of fifteen riders that formed on the descent of the Capo Berta which came after the 240 km mark. Along the rolling coast road Merckx attacked three times. Each time he caught the rest of the group by surprise with bursts of effort that took him up to 100 metres clear. Each time his rivals fought back up to him, but having to dig deep into their reserves of strength. Then suddenly the race route turned right off the wide coastal road and onto the narrower road of the Poggio climb. Here came the fourth and vital attack. Again it was a surprise move but this time there was hesitation. De Vlaeminck (Brooklyn) and Maertens (Flandria) looked at each other, each hoping the other would bridge the gap. Instead it was a young Vandenbroucke (Peugeot-Esso-Michelin) who crossed and joined Merckx.
The two Belgians climbed side by side and at the top it was clear the victory would be between these two. “Eddy asked me to do my share but I had to confess that I was virtually at the end of my strength.” Vandenbroucke said later. At the top the nearest, Paris-Nice winner Laurent (Miko-De Gribaldy), was 15 seconds behind followed by Panizza (SCIC) with the rest not far back. Merckx had out-witted his rivals once again for most had been expecting an attack over the top of the Poggio, scene of several of his winning moves in the past.
Into San Remo itself Vandenbroucke took over the lead from Merckx who motioned him through. With 300 metres remaining Merckx erupted from Vandenbroucke’s back wheel and the race was over. On the descent of the Poggio only Panizza could get by Laurent who stayed just clear of the sprint won by Planckaert (Maes-Pils-Rokado) from Van Linden (Bianchi) and Sercu (Brooklyn).