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Gino Bartali
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    (July 18, 1914-May 5, 2000)
    Born in Florence, Italy
    Road bicycle racer
    Two-time Tour de France winner (1938,1948)
    Three-time Giro d'Italia winner (1936-37,1946)
    Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (Order of Merit of the Italian Republic: 1986 Grand Officer, 1992 Knight Grand Cross)
    Roman Catholic
    2013 Righteous Among the Nations honoree
    Having grown up in a religious Tuscan family, he would be nicknamed ‘Gino the Pious.’
    He was a smoker.
    His brother’s death, in a 1936 racing accident, caused him to seriously consider early retirement.
    His rivalry with northern Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi created a nationwide division that ended in their mutual abandonment of a Dutch race (1948; both were suspended three months).
    By age 40 – when an injury on the road caused him to quit racing – he had lost much of his wealth.
    ‘Everything is wrong; we’ll have to start all over again.’ What a pessimist.
    Despite his open support for the Christian Democratic Party, he was personable enough that the rival Italian Communist Party forgave him.
    Among his wartime activity (WWII), he hid a Jewish family in the cellar of his Firenze home and directly led other refugees to the Swiss Alps — usually while in his cycling jersey.
    He donated a bicycle to Pope Pius XII, who blessed him at his only wedding.
    The Italian National Olympic Committee called for two days of mourning – and moments of silence before local sporting events – after his death.
    Over a two-decade run, he has only three consecutive years without a gold medal in any Tour (he did not compete in 1944).

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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