Fausto Coppi, known in Italy as Il Campionissimo, the champion of champions, is one of the greatest cyclists ever the world has known. His glory years were especially the years before and after World War II. He was a hero for Italy at a time when the country was in desperate need of heroes.
Angelo Fausto Coppi was born September 15, 1919. As a child he had a weak health and school did not interest him. At thirteen, he left school and went to work at a butcher. With the bike he took orders around and came in contact with the bike. When he was fifteen, he started his first race and won directly. It was free boxer Giuseppe Cavanna, also known as Biagio, which interested him seriously for the sport. He sent him in 1939 to the Tour in Tuscany with the command: “Follow Bartali” Unfortunately Coppi had bad luck with his bicycle, but later that year he won a major competition Varzi. The difference between him and his opponent was enormous.
Tour of Italy
His first major success was the victory in the Giro d’Italia in 1940, when he was only twenty. In 1942 he set a new record werelduur who was fourteen years until Jacques Anquetil took over. World War II was a time when there was little space for cycling and Coppi was only in 1946 again seriously cycle. Coppi took part in World War II. First, he was using his officers, so he had time to ride, but he was sent to North Africa in 1943. On April 13 of that year, he was captured by the British and became a prisoner-of-war. In 1945, the British sent him back to Italy, to an RAF camp in Caserta.
In 1949 and 1952 Coppi won the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia are both in the same year. Giro he won five times in all, something only Eddy Merckx and Alfredo Binda imitate him. Milan-San Remo, he won three times and he won Paris-Roubaix and Fleche Wallonne. In 1952 he won the Alpe d’Huez stage this year for the first part of the Tour. He took only three times in the Tour and won twice. It is said that Coppi was the one who introduced doping in cycling. At that time it was not yet illegal. It was known that he used amphetamines.
The lady of The White
The fifties were still very cautious in Italy for years and when Coppi began an affair with La Dama in Bianco, such as Giulia Occhini originally named by the Italian media, many people were very shocked. Pope Pius XII asked Coppi to return to his wife and refused to bless the Giro, when Coppi rode. There was great pressure on the pair. Brown Ciampolini, wife of Coppi refused to divorce him because there was a taboo about divorced women. Giulia had a son Coppi, called Faustino.
After the scandal with Giulia went downhill career Coppi. 1951 Coppi had already suffered a blow as his brother Serse Coppi during a fall on a sprint had a fatal hemorrhage. But in the late fifties, he was physically unable to drive out the races and just using doping, something he managed to keep up. In December 1959 went Coppi together with some other riders from Burkina Faso to bicycles and participates in a safari. When he came back, he was ill and the doctors suggested a misdiagnosis. On January 2, 1960 Coppi died. But Italy did not forget him, it was a movie about his life, Il Grande Fausto and the Giro d’Italia is the Cima Coppi for the rider who reaches the highest point in the Giro. In 1999 Coppi placed second in the competition for the athlete of the twentieth century.