Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bartali's 1948 TdF Legnano

So what did the great Bartali ride. Well he had a single gear in the chainring and was using the latest technology with rear shifters. How we take things for granted these days. You can see the Campie Shifters of old and also the quick release skewers on the wheels. So what exactly was he riding?

The Legnano legend from its birth was associated with glory and the first bit of news of the company arrived with Lignon wins an Italian road race called the Val di Taro Cup. Emilio Bozzi is the in the founder of a company bearing his name and would build a bicycle empire starting from 1908. He later teamed up with Franco Tosi who had some patents from an English firm and wanted to build complete bicycles. They build the Legnano brand with the warrior badge and their own warrior is in the from of Alfredo Binda who receives a lifetime contract with the company.
These outstanding bikes are ridden by outstanding riders and the team is led by Edoardo Pavesi, the "avucatt" (the lawyer) who makes a clean sweep of victories. Legnano would really build up a respectable palmares:
  • 6 world titles (Binda alone wins 3 of them), 1
  • 5 editions of the Giro d'Italia, 
  • 2 editions of the Tour de France
Pavesi is probably the greatest team manager of all time. As he followed this by another brilliant rider named Gino Bartali from Tuscany. Gino arrives at Legnano in 1936 and immediately wins the Giro. It seems as if the sweet is getting sweeter. But the best naturally comes last as a bag of bones arrives on the team in 1939, Fausto Coppi. Amazingly some of the greatest riders would ride under Pavesi and on Legnano.

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