Friday, May 14, 2010
Fausto Coppi - "Campionissimo"
Angelo Fausto Coppi, 15 September 1919 - 2 January 1960 (died at age 40)
Comparing riders from different eras is a risky business subject to the prejudices of the judge. But if Coppi isn't the greatest rider of all time, then he is second only to Eddy Merckx. One can't judge his accomplishments by his list of wins because world war two interrupted his career just as world war one interrupted that of Philippe Thys. Coppi won it all: the world hour record, the world championships, the grands tours, classics as well as time trials. The great French cycling journalist, Pierre Chany says that between 1946 and 1954, once Coppi had broken away from the peloton, the peloton never saw him again. Can this be said of any other racer? Informed observers who saw both ride agree that Coppi was the more elegant rider who won by dint of his physical gifts as opposed to Merckx who drove himself and hammered his competition relentlessly by being the very embodiment of pure will.
Coppi broke the world hour record on the track in Milan on 7 November 1942. He rode a 93.6 inch (2.43 metre) gear and pedaled with an average cadence of 103.3rpm.
The record stood until it was beaten by Jacques Anquetil in 1956.
Posted by Andy Matthews at 6:33 PM