We The Italians | Italian Sport: The new Italian champions of cycling

Italian Sport: The new Italian champions of cycling

Italian Sport: The new Italian champions of cycling

  • WTI Magazine #144 Oct 16, 2021
  • 191

Italy is rediscovering the passion for cycling twenty years after the last boom, when the "pirate" Marco Pantani was able to drag oceanic crowds along the routes of the great European tours.

In a little less than two months, from the Olympic Games in Tokyo to the most grueling one-day race in the world, the Paris-Roubaix on October 3, the Italian cyclists have made the Italians fall in love again with their extraordinary feats that take them back to the days of the great Fausto Coppi.

After the success of August at the Olympic Games in the team road race, the most fascinating among the races, with Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon and Jonathan Milan winners of the gold with the world record, on September 19 all the Italians exploded with joy for the historic feat of one of the four Olympians of Tokyo, Filippo Ganna. The 25-year-old cyclist from Verbania, the beautiful Piedmontese town overlooking Lake Maggiore, won the world title in the individual time trial in Bruges, Belgium.

"Top Ganna", as he is nicknamed, was the reigning world champion, having won the title in 2020 in Imola, Italy, and by repeating the success he entered the legend of world cycling. Filippo has been racing among the professionals for only five years, and thanks to two world titles in the time trial, the Olympic gold and the four world titles won in the individual pursuit trial (2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020), he has earned the title of "king of speed". And that's not all, because at the 2020 World Championships, in the qualifying race, he also set the world record! No one in the world in recent years has been as fast as him and with a long career ahead of him, Ganna could become the best speed specialist of the new millennium.

With the Italians celebrating yet another sporting success this summer, with the arrival of autumn came another unexpected "tricolor" victory. After twenty-two years, Sonny Colbrelli, an Italian cyclist from Desenzano del Garda, in the province of Brescia, Lombardy, about whom little had been said until September 12, when he won the European cycling title at the age of 31, accomplished a feat that has succeeded in very few Italians in history, including Fausto Coppi. What did he do that was so extraordinary?

On October 3, he won the 118th edition of Paris-Roubaix, one of cycling's most grueling and fascinating one-day road races and even one of the toughest sporting events in the world. On a hellish day, with rain that made the cyclists compete for 257 kilometers in the middle of mud and on slippery and dangerous roads, he won an epic race. Together with Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, he demolished his opponents one by one with stretches that took everyone's breath away. 

When he managed to catch the two fugitives, the Belgian Florian Vermeersch and the unlucky Italian Gianni Moscon, who was close to victory until he got a flat tire and then fell, he arrived at the Roubaix Velodrome in the company of the Dutchman and the Belgian, and with his body and face completely covered in mud, he got up on the saddle and sprinted to a historic, epic victory, just as more than sixty years ago happened to the greatest Italian cyclist of all time, Fausto Coppi.