Channel your inner Fiorenzo from cycling’s golden age, sans ...


Channel your inner Fiorenzo from cycling’s golden age, sans helmets

This vintage cycling event taps into the real soul of cycling, and is not for the faint of heart

Steve Smith

They really don’t like hearing this, but modern cyclists are a bunch of soft-arses. With said bottoms cossetted in irresponsibly tight lycra and perched upon overpriced, carbon-fibre road bikes, they flit about along the smooth asphalt, stopping only for small cups of single-origin arabica and selfies.

And they really hate it when you mention Fiorenzo Magni. In a storied career that included winning the Giro d’Italia and three victories at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, this wool-clad Italian hardman cemented his rep at the 1956 Giro when, on stage 12 through his native Tuscany, Fiorenzo crashed on a descent and broke his left collarbone. At this point Mr Rapha Pants would be taken sobbing to the closest ER, but not our Fiorenzo.

No. He hopped back on his bike and, with a length of inner tubing clenched between his teeth and affixed to his handlebar for a modicum of bike and pain control, he completed the stage. And lined up again the next day. And then fell again. This time breaking his left elbow. Time to quit? Phht. Mai! Why would you quit when you could do Stage 20 with its four mountain passes and an impending snowstorm? With most of the field abandoning the race during near-apocalyptic conditions, Fiorenzo hung in there, finishing third on the stage and ultimately second in the race...

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