Friday, August 27, 2010

Bartali returns

Probably the rider most effected by the war in terms of cycling, Bartali, lost a big chunk of his cycling career, but then again the same can be said for Coppi who won the last Giro before the War. Imagine how different history would have been if these two had been able to go head to head all those years?
Gino Bartali, Biarritz - Lourdes
Well 1948 saw the return of both the Italian team and the great Bartali. He was licking his wounds still after a poor showing at the Giro. He came out with guns blazing and took the first stage but would relinquish the jersey on the next stage. He looked out of sorts trailing by 20 minutes and it was Italy on the brink of civil war that ignited him to set up the stage for a great comeback. He would win the following stage and slash the lead to just over a minute. The following day he put on the yellow jersey again and would not relinquish it all the way to Paris. He may also have stopped a civil war which to me was the greatest victory of the  1948 Tour.

Photo from L'Equipe and info from wiki

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