By 1943, Italy was in chaos. For even a well-known sporting hero such as Gino Bartali, his public profile was no guarantee of his safety. Yet Bartali chose an even more risky course of action, as foreshadowed in Part 1. He would subsequently go on to even greater sporting and public glory.
Gino Bartali, the great Italian rider of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, would be a legend if it were just for his exploits on the bike. But his career spanned tragedy and triumph for Italy as a whole and Bartali managed to be at the centre of the action.
In 1946, in his first major race after spending most of World War 2 in a British prison camp, Fausto Coppi set out to win Milano-Sanremo. To do so, he took – for the time – three unconventional steps.
As the centennial Giro d’Italia takes its place in the history books, and cycling fans worldwide expectantly await the start of the Tour de France, a new book brings to life the world of the first racer to win the Giro and the Tour in a single year: Fausto Coppi, Il Campionissimo.
There’s a man alone ahead. His jersey is white and blue. His name is Fausto Coppi.” It was 1949 and the stage was Cuneo – Pinerolo, Giro d’Italia of course. The radio was the only way to follow the Giro at that time… and fans across Italy listened as one man on a bicycle taught a broken country to heal itself.
As the 2006 Giro d’Italia enters the Alps tomorrow it's fitting to remember one of the greatest riders of all time, Gino Bartali. At the age of twenty in 1935, Gino won the first of his seven Giro mountain jerseys. Along with this 70th anniversary it is also remembered that he won three Giro’s (1936, 1937 and 1946) and added to his enduring fame through epic battles with his archrival Fausto Coppi.
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