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The legendary Italian ex-cyclist Felice Gimondi dies

The legendary Italian ex-cyclist Felice Gimondi dies

The legendary Italian ex-cyclist Felice Gimondi, who achieved his greatest victory conquering the Tour de France in 1965, died on Friday at the age of 76.

«A great champion who made our sport more human leaves us. A great man ”, highlighted the Italian Cycling Federation.

Gimondi died after suffering a heart attack while bathing in the waters of Sicily, in Giardini Naxos, near Taormina.

For five decades, Gimondi was a respected figure in Italian and international cycling.

In addition to the 1965 Tour, Gimondi won four other major stage rounds, three Giros d’Italia (1967, 1969, 1976) and a Vuelta a España (1968).

With titles in the three great rounds in stages (Tour, Giro, Vuelta), Gimondi is one of the seven cyclists who have achieved this feat in history. The others are Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, and Chris Froome.

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Gimondi’s title on the Tour was in his first year as a professional and one year after making himself known by winning the Tour del Porvenir.

He was also world champion on the road on one occasion, in 1973, in Montjuic (Barcelona).

That day, the captain of the Italian ‘Squadra’ dominated the sprint to a stellar trio, the Belgian Freddy Maertens, the Spanish Luis Ocaña and the also Belgian Eddy Merckx.

– Influential figure –

Gimondi retired as a runner in 1978 and took up residence in a 19th century castle. He opened an insurance company, but continued to be linked to cycling.

He was an ambassador for the bicycle manufacturer Bianchi, a very influential figure and even went so far as to advise Marco Pantani, the first Italian to win the Tour de France (1998) since the success of Gimondi 33 years earlier.

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Along with his successes in the big three and in the road World Cup, his track record includes victories in other emblematic cycling events, such as the Milan-San Remo (1974), the Paris-Roubaix (1966) or the Tour of Lombardy (1966). and 1976).

He was also the winner of the 1969 Tour of Romandie, the 1972 Tour of Catalonia and the 1973 Tour of Apulia.

In his interviews over the past five decades, Gimondi often highlighted the sacrifice necessary to succeed in the sport to which he dedicated his life.

«I did not have a spectacular gift. But with working, doing my job correctly, with volunteering and application, I succeeded. In the lower categories he was not very fast. Even in professionals he had problems with changes of rhythm, “he admitted.

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