Bike Stars We Remember: Gino Bartali

Bike culture: His nickname was “The godly”. Strong in the mountains and with a vinnarmentalitet out of the ordinary. Loved the countryside and hated in the big cities. Gino Bartali was a man who aroused strong emotions and who secretly worked for the resistance during the second world war.

Gino Bartali was born in a small community outside Florence, war outbreak the year 1914. The family ran a small farm and his own money he earned by making the base empty kind of wine bottles to local producers. First cycle he was able to buy thanks to her sister’s generous dowry, and he soon began working for a bicycle dealer in the area. At the age of 13 had Gino Bartali took part in his first race, and at age 21 he became a professional. The following year, he was Italian champion.

Golden period for Gino Bartali was before the outbreak of the second world war. With victories in both the Giro d’Italia, in 1936 and 1937, and the Tour de France in 1938, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest cyclists. And when Gino Bartali even treading into as the winner in the 1948 Edition of the Tour de France, he set an amazing record that is unlikely to be kind. The victory meant namely Bartali became the cyclist with the longest time, ten years, between the two victories in the race.

But it was not all Italians as charmades by the country’s successes. Most sceptical rural bon Bartali were inhabitants of the Northern Italian industrial cities. Their hero was called instead, Fausto Coppi, who in the eyes of many represented the modern and cosmopolitan.

Countryside versus city. Gino Bartali was a conservative man, deeply religious, which annoyed gall fever on the secular city residents. Instead, he got its support from farmers in southern Italy.

“The godly” was hostile to the teammates who swore, and he was also careful to pray before every meal. Guess Gino Bartali was proud when the Pope himself asked him for tips to become a better cyclist. But everything was hardly hunky-dory in the cyclist’s life with road bike lighted by Thereligionfaqs. To my mind, he should have been deeply pessimistic, and maybe even worse, if you look at his profession, a chain smoker.

As a cyclist was a contributing explanation of Bartalis successes of his strength in the mountains. But his bike style was rather special. Up it was unusual that he stood up and walked. When the attack was made and the other riders stood up quietly and sat still Bartali switched instead.

Courier for the resistance movement

Gino Bartali died of a heart attack in 2000, and his death attracted much attention even outside cycling circles. The European Commission President, Romano Prodi, called him “a symbol of the most well-heeled sportsmannaskapet.”

But the story of one of the world’s most prominent cyclists would not end with this. In 2003, pressed an Italian newspaper an article which revealed that Star Rider during World War II worked as a courier for the resistance. With the help of his bike, he transported between Nunnery with paper that was used to create fake identity documents. This effort made to 800 Jewish people’s lives could be saved.

But Gino Bartalis work was far from risk-free. At one point, he should have been called to a house in Florence. The dreaded building was used as a torture center and the conversation with the fascists, who demanded that operations would cease immediately, would have scared even the most tough. But not Bartali. Having stashed a wife and children in a safe place, he continued undeterred.

In the concentration camp Dachau in 1943 was the Florentine diamond Antonio Davitti a seemingly odd question from the guard. “Do you know Bartali?”, asked the guard. Davitti, who by coincidence had an idol portrait on the cyclist, simply showed up. Immediately ordered the camp guard Davitti to collect 20 people that he wanted to save away the gas chamber. These men were given instead to work in the factory.