Coppi’s bicycle and the mystery of the bottle

This early-1950 Bianchi bicycle was one of the models Fausto Coppi owned. We can definitely imagine the “Champion of Champions” riding it.

Why stop there? Let’s imagine this was the very bike he was riding in the legendary photograph in which Coppi and his eternal rival, Gino Bartali, are portrayed at Col du Galibier, during the 1952 Tour de France. The photographer famously captured the moment in which they shared a bottle of water – and nobody will ever know which of the two generously offered, and which gladly accepted.

Then this celestial object made of wood, metal, canvas, rubber and leather; with its bullhorn handlebars and racing bike pedals; with its wheel, chain, chainring, and cogs linked by a gear mechanism set on the side of the frame… In short, all the elements that make up such an instrument of fatigue and glory will come to life in our imagination, hiking up on the steep road towards that pass in the French Alps.

And, finally, we might be able to figure out who of the two racers was the more gracious sportsman.

After all, they both were certainly capable of such magnanimity.

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