Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Big Three

Cinelli still at it
Reading up on Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx - the greatest cyclist of all-time - and naturally it lead me into the remarkably diverse world of Italian bicycles. The list of bike manufacturers are too numerous to name in one post (Gianni Motta is one example), but I'd like to mention three who happen to be widely regarded as the top makes of lightweight racing bikes: Masi, Cinelli and De Rosa.

No nation on the planet do bikes like Italy.

Merckx, who rode for Italian teams Faema and Molteni (now involved with Salmilano), produced a bike line bearing his name usually built on Italian frames (as well as British, Japanese and of course Belgian) built by Masi, Cinelli and Colnago.

The bike used by Merckx to inhumanely shatter the hour record in 1972 (later broken by Italian rider Francesco Moser in 1984)  was a combination of Columbus (frame), Cinelli (handlebars), Clement Seta Pista (tires), and Campagnolo (hubs, crank, seat post, pedals).

Image from Mad Motion.

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Incidentally, Belgian and Italian riders have dominated the UCI Road World Champions list. Belgium has won 25 gold medals to Italy's 19. The next best is France at eight. Italy has 55 total medals to Belgium's 47. Again, France is third with 34.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fangio And Alfa Romeo

Argentine F1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio is one of the greatest drivers in history. Fangio won his first Drivers' Championship in 1951 while driving an Alfa Romeo. The Alfetta 158/159 to be specific. The Alfetta was the child of automobile engineer Giacchino Colombo who played a role in Fangio's success. Later on, Fangio reach the pinnacle of world racing in a Ferrari and a Maserati.

Here's a neat look at Fangio in 1957 - the year of his fifth and final title this time in a Maserati 4CL.