Lagazzettadellabici's Blog

Posted in Uncategorized by lagazzettadellabici on September 19, 2009

He is the champion of champions of the modern era. Idolized and revered, he seems to have become the object of a real cult of the excitable “tifosi”. He won the 1964 Tour of the Future, and in the following year the young champion, turned professional, triumphantly carried off the Tour de France, at the age of 23, beating R. Poulidor and G. Motta. In 1966 his remarkable solitary victories in the Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Brussels races definitely made a star of this all-round athlete, who then went on to steer his career with wisdom and intelligence. Felice Gimondi, at ease in every domain, asserted himself especially in long races by stages, but also in those against the clock. Finally, in 1973, it was in the sprint on the Barcelona-Montjuich circuit that he won for himself the title of road champion of the world beating Freddy Maertens. He was the young leader of Italian cycling and showed from the beginning that he was well able to live up to his responsibilities. His qualities as a man and as a champion have made him a respected and well-liked “gentleman” of cycling. His personality singled him out from the bunches. However, the countless offers have never made this exacting and careful sportsman stray from his chosen path. When he promised to be the No. 1 of his generation, Gimondi had to concede the front of the stage in favour of the great Eddy Merckx. However, he never gave up. His way of challenging the burning ambition of his young Belgian rival roused the patriotism in his countrymen, whom he stirred into a fever whenever he wore the pink jersey of Giro, his favourite race. He was a prisoner of his popularity, and year after year staked in this race a reputation which also belonged to the make of Bianchi. His third victory, at the age of 34, drove the crowd wild after it had already been electrified by his win in the 1974 Milan-San Remo race. This happy ending to the 1976 Giro was sustained in a Paris-Brussels race, where his tactics enabled him to get the better of the world champion, Hennie Kuiper. Ten years after his first victory in the Belgian city, Gimondi completed the circle superbly. To erase from memory a disappointing 1977 season, he has decided to race again in 1978.

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