Lagazzettadellabici's Blog

Posted in Uncategorized by lagazzettadellabici on June 2, 2009

This is stolen from Velonews

Pope Pius XII appointed the Madonna of Ghisallo patron saint of cyclists in 1949, and this church has since served as a shrine to cycling greats. | Photo: Ben Delaney

Gallery: Northern Italy’s Madonna del Ghisallo chapel enshrines cycling’s greats
By Ben Delaney
Published: Jun. 2, 2009

As Carlos Sastre charged away on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, several Italians gathered around a TV in a small café just paces away from the Sanctuary of Ghisallo, the tiny church for the patron saint of cyclists in Magreglio. Pope Pius XII officially gave the Madonna of Ghisallo the title in 1949, and today the hilltop shrine in northern Italy — smack on the Tour of Lombardy course — serves as a shrine to cycling greats, past and present.

Overlooking Lake Como, the Ghisallo church sits on the road south from Bellagio towards Milan. The steep climb up to the church is often decisive in the Giro di Lombardia.

Inside, the walls are thoroughly covered with the bikes, jerseys and other momentos from some of the biggest names in cycling, including Eddy Merckx, Fausto Coppi and Miguel Indurain.

Ghisallo: Legend holds that a Count of Ghisallo prayed to Madonna atop this hill in the 11th century. A church was built on the spot in 1623. | Photo: Ben Delaney

Ghisallo: Fabio Casartelli was born in nearby Como in 1970. The Olympic gold medalist died in a crash coming off the Col de Portet d’Aspet during stage 15 of the 1995 Tour de France. | Photo: Ben Delaney


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