Monday, January 25, 2010

The Flight of the Phoenix

The birth of the young Phoenix...
1966 Tour de France.



Felice Gimondi was the connoisseur of cycling. Worshiped and revered for his long & classy career, he was adored by the Italian fans.

He won the 1964 Tour de l'Avenir, the amateur version of the Tour. The following year he turned professional and finished the Giro in 3rd place. A remarkable result for his first pro year. He entered the 1965 Tour as a last minute addition to a depleted Salvarani team. His team coach was confident that he could ride two Tours in the same year. He knew the ability of this young rider.

The twenty-two year old Gimondi attacked on the sacred cobblestones on stage two to Roubaix. Having no trouble over the pave, his second place showed great promise. On the next stage to Rouen he won it and took the yellow jersey. And to seal the deal, he won the final TT into Paris. And so the Tour was his on his first attempt.

Gimondi was made for the long drawn out Tours but he was also made for the harshness of Paris-Roubaix. Unusual for a non Flemish rider. In the 1966 edition, he easily conquered the pave to solo to victory. That same year this versatile rider secured a second Monument classic and won the Tour of Lombardy...

...where he also won the hearts of the Tifosi who made him their new campionissimo!


The flight of the Phoenix...
1966 Paris-Roubaix.







The new campionissimo!

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