Updated: April 30, 2020
The Legnano brand and the great Gino Bartali are synonymous, with two Tour de France and three Giro d’Italia victories that included a victory in the mountain classification on all three of his Giro wins, and seven mountain victories in all. And all of this was achieved around a five year blackout (1941-1945) due to the second world war that surely would have seen additional Bartali victories in the Tour de France and Giro had international professional cycling not be interrupted.
Most of the photos of Bartali that circulate are from the closing years of his cycling career immediately after the war when he won his third Giro in 1946 and his second TDF victory in 1947, both ahead of his much younger former teammate Fausto Coppi who returned from the war to ride for Bianchi. These were the years of the great Bartali-Coppi rivalry that engaged the hopes and aspirations of a war torn Italy so much in need brighter days.
The record shows (Wikipedia) that Bartali joined the Frejus team in 1935, joining the Legnano team the year following in 1936 and winning his first Giro d’Italia in that same year, including the mountain classification victory, at the age of 22.
And a final photo of Gino Bartali from the pre-war years that would appear from the setting to have been taken before the start of a race. If a reader has any other photos of Bartali from these years or clarification of dates or details that I have posted, please drop me a line anytime at email@example.com .
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