Sports fans love comparisons. Baseball is famous for its obsession with statistics (“The most successful left-handed pitcher throwing against a Chicago team on a Tuesday evening...”) and certainly all sports have record-holders. Pro cycling defies easy comparison of its stars. Can we figure out who was truly The Greatest of All Time?
Bookshelf: On January 2 every year there is a big event in Castellania, a tiny village in Italy's Piedmont region. This year the morning began with a mass in the little church, there was a special opening of Casa Coppi, and in the afternoon a visit to nearby Novi Ligure and the Museo dei Campionissimi. Because on January 2, 1960, sixty years ago, Fausto Coppi died and a cycling legend began.
Fausto Coppi Remembered: Today, the 2nd of January is the 60th anniversary of the death of Fausto Coppi. Leslie Reissner takes a look at the life and times of 'Il Campionissimo' the Champion of Champions, who was either loved or hated by the fans, the general public and even the Pope. Coppi's life was full of triumph and tragedy, but he was unquestionably a 'Superstar' of the road.
The incredible war-time story of multi-champion Gino Bartali didn't come to light until a long time after the second World War was over. Chuck Peña reviews the story behind the hero of the road and his exploits saving the lives of hunted Jews in Italy during the 1940s in “Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation”.
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.
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.