- News: The legendary Italian exciclista Felice Gimondi dies
Teacher and student, idol and emulator, Jacques Anquetil and Felice Gimondi , who died the day before yesterday, coincided for the first time in a great round in the 1966 Giro. The Frenchman had already won five Tours, two Twists and one Lap. The Italian, a Tour, the one of the previous year. He was already a star who, however, had a hard time leaving his postman trade. And he called from you ... God? He professed an impressive admiration and respect. It had to be Anquetil himself who asked him to guard him.
In that Giro, Anquetil, three years after his retirement, although after a couple of seasons of decline, he would finish in third place. Gimondi, in fifth. They would only coincide once again, in the Giro of the following year, that of 1967. Anquetil, again third, started cycling his last great podium. Gimondi came first. He would win two other Spins. The "pink Corsican" was, as an Italian, her favorite career. From 1965 to 1978 he played 14 consecutive editions. It was also second twice, and third another four. He ran five Tours and always ranked in the top seven, with another podium, second place, in 1972.
Anquetil and he shared a sport affinity only accessible to the greatest champions. Both took the Tour the year of their debut. Like, before, Coppi and, later, Merckx, Hinault and Fignon . Gimondi had prevailed in that Tour of 1965 in his first professional season, after having triumphed in the Tour of the Future of 1964. The Tour was also made the only year in which he participated (1968).
Felice (118 victories) was a versatile runner. Still today, among the Italians, the most versatile after Fausto Coppi. Someone capable of joining great classics: a Milan-San Remo, a Paris-Roubaix, two Paris-Brussels and two Lombardy Twists. Someone who, in 1973, in Barcelona, won the World Championship and who, in the time trial modality, won the Grand Prix of Nations, the most prestigious test of the modality, in 1967 and 1968.
Gimondi, born in 1942, was a generational bridge between an Anquetil terminal (1934) and a nascent Eddy Merckx (1945). The presence of the Belgian in the squad prevented the history of figures such as Luis Ocaña, Roger de Vlaeminck or José Manuel Fuente from growing. But, above all, Gimondi himself, second, in direct duels with Merckx, in the 1970 and 1973 Giro, and in the 1972 Tour. Even so, he qualified ahead of him in the 1967, 1969 Giro (the of the expulsion of the Belgian) and 1976.
Gimondi, together with Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Contador, Froome and Nibali , belongs to the minority club of runners who have won the three main rounds. He and Merckx, whom he helped to do better, retired in 1978. "The Cannibal" then said: "Felice is a complete, intelligent, brave runner. I admire his strength of character, his nobility, his kindness. He honors our profession".
There is no greater tribute.
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