Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali

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Gino Bartali

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Gino Bartali, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (born Ponte a Ema, Florence, Italy, 18 July 1914, died Florence, 5 May 2000) was the most renowned Italian cyclist before the Second World War, having won the Giro d'Italia twice (in 1936 and 1937) and the Tour de France in 1938. His second and last Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest gap between victories in the race.

Origins

Gino Bartali was the third son of four children of a smallholder, He earned pocket money by selling raffia to makers of covers for wine bottles. He began work in a bicycle shop when he was 13. He started racing at 13, became a promising amateur and turned professional in 1935 when he was 21. He was Italian champion the next year.

Professional career

Bartali won a stage of that same year's Giro d'Italia and was King of the Mountains, the first of seven times he won the title in the Giro. He was 20. In 1936, before he turned 22, he won the Giro and the Giro di Lombardia, although his season was marred when his brother, Giulio,died in a racing accident on 14 June. Bartali came close to giving up cycling.

He was persuaded to return and in 1937 won the...
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