Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Italian Cycling Teams

Over the years there have been 47 cycling teams based in Italy; more than any country. The United States is next with 38 followed by France with 24, The Netherlands 23, Belgium 17, Germany 10 and Spain 9.

Italy's rich cycling tradition doesn't begin and end with cyclists who have had their fair share of world championship titles and gold medals.

Beyond this there are the companies that build the bikes and parts as well as those who sponsor teams. For example, Lampre-Merida and Cannondale are currently competing in the Tour de France.

Since the Tour is currently being contested (with Vincenzo Nibali in the yellow jersey after 14 Stages of 21), I thought it would be interesting to bring up the only three Italian teams to win the Tour de France. Those being Faema, Molteni and Mercato Uno.

Of the three, Molteni was a family run ream who had on its roster arguably the greatest cyclist ever in Belgian Eddie Merckx. Needless to say, they won a bunch of races between 1958 and 1976. 663 to be exact. Three of those were Tour de France wins under Merckx.

The other two teams feature Faema and Mercato Uno. Merckx won his first tour in 1969 with Faema - an innovative espresso machine manufacturer. The team's only victory.

Mercato Uno is a supermarket chain based in San Marino and was one of the strongest teams in the peloton throughout the 1990s (the golden age of Italian sports) with legendary cyclist Marco Pantani serving as its leader. Under Pantani, Meracto Uno won the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France as well as many other races and competitions.

*Image Merckx with Faema; the Velostore.

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