We The Italians | Italian sport: Top Ganna, the Italian lightning bolt of cycling

Italian sport: Top Ganna, the Italian lightning bolt of cycling

Italian sport: Top Ganna, the Italian lightning bolt of cycling

  • WTI Magazine #159 Jan 21, 2023
  • 371

Italians' passion for bicycles has ancient roots. Everyone as a kid dreamed of having a bicycle at least until the 1990s, but even today millions of Italians have a bicycle and use it, some for work, some for sport and, of course, to dream of one day becoming a great champion.

In the field of competitive cycling, few nations in the world have a long list of great cycling champions like Italy. From the beginning of the last century onward Italian climbers and sprinters have won every kind of competition in the world.

Everyone in Italy remembers past champions such as Alfredo Binda, Costante Girardengo, Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, and Marco Pantani, undisputed rulers of stage laps, as well as great sprinters such as Francesco Moser, Giuseppe Saronni, and Mario Cipollini. All cyclists who became true legends thanks to their epic feats that made them known and loved by sports fans around the world.

The long list of Italian champions has been enriched in recent years thanks to the fastest cyclist on earth, Flippo Ganna, nicknamed "Top Ganna." The cyclist born twenty-six years ago in Verbania, a town in Piedmont overlooking Lake Maggiore, is truly the fastest cyclist in the world, because in October 2022 he set the world record for the hour on the track, covering 56.792 kilometers (35.29 miles) in sixty minutes on the Velodrome Suisse track in Grenchen!

When he gets on the saddle of his bicycle, Filippo is a human jet reaching supersonic speeds for a human being. And it is precisely because of his speed but also his incredible endurance that "Top Ganna" has been the undisputed king of track and road time trials for a few years now, and considering his young age he may remain on the throne for many more years.

Filippo became a professional cyclist in 2017, at just twenty-one years old, but already as an amateur he had stunned the world by winning the world title in the individual track pursuit at the World Championships in London in 2016, and in the same year three silver medals at the European Track and Road Championships. From that 2016 on, the cycling speed phenomenon has won titles in Europe and around the world virtually every year.

On the track, he won five more world titles in the pursuit (four individual and one team), on the road he won two world titles in the time trial, and at the European Championships he won two golds in the individual and team pursuit and one on the road in the relay event. Ganna also won several stage victories at the Giro d'Italia, the world's second most famous tour after the Tour de France. In 2020 he won four stages and in 2021 he won two, and both times he also wore the pink jersey as provisional leader of the general classification.

Then in 2021, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, he achieved a true masterpiece by winning gold on the track in the team pursuit event and setting the world record (3'42''032) with his teammates. A year later, as we have already written, in Switzerland he became the fastest man in the world by setting the hour record on the track. And we are just at the beginning because already this year Top Ganna is ready to win on the track and on the road all the races in which he will participate.