Sono Coppiano! Sono Bartaliano!
Fausto Coppi. Gino Bartali. The two most famous cyclists in the world in the 1940s and 1950s. Their rivalry dominated cycling and divided Italy. Nobody remained neutral.
Sei Coppiano o sei Bartaliano?
Are you for Fausto, or are you with Gino?
An immensely strong climber, ‘The Man of Iron’ possessed extraordinary physical gifts. In Stage 13 of the 1948 Tour de France, Bartali gained 19 minutes on the race leader. Riding through snow and fog in the mountains, he won the day and climbed into second place overall, just over a minute back.
Bartali went on to win that Tour, claiming his second victory, 10 years after first conquering La Grande Boucle.
Sei Bartaliano? Are you for Bartali?
Coppi was gangly and physically awkward off the bike, but he seemed born to sit in the saddle. He was a complete rider who climbed with power and grace. He appeared to ride effortlessly, floating away from his competitors. And when he won, which he did a lot, it was usually in spectacular and dramatic fashion.
In the 1946 Milan San-Remo, Coppi rode more than half the race alone and finished 14 minutes ahead of the next rider. Bartali was another 10 minutes back.
And Coppi’s ride over the mountains in Stage 17 of the 1949 Giro d’Italia is legendary. He rode unaccompanied for nearly 200 kilometers, winning the stage by 12 minutes. Gino Bartali came in second that day.
Sei Coppiani? Are you for Coppi?
Bartali won the Tour de France twice and the Giro d’Italia three times. He was a four-time Italian National Champion, three-time victor in the Giro di Lombardia and four-time winner of Milan-San Remo.
Coppi won the Tour twice, the Giro five times, and claimed both in the same year on two occasions. He was a World Champion, the Hour Record Holder, and three-time victor of Milan-San Remo. He won the Giro di Lombardia five times and included victories in Paris-Roubaix and La Flèche Wallonne in his palmarès.