Fiorenzo Magni and Alfredo Martini locked in conversation at the Colnago presentation.
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“Lion of Flanders” won Giro d’Italia three times
Three-time Giro d’Italia winner Fiorenzo Magni has died at the age of 91 after suffering an aneurysm in the early hours of Friday morning. His funeral will take place in Monza on Saturday.
Born near Prato in 1920, Magni was the “third man” of Italian cycling’s golden age – often overshadowed but rarely overawed by Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali during a career that spanned from 1940 to 1956, and saw him win the Giro d’Italia, Giro del Piemonte, Trofeo Baracchi and Italian championships on three occasions.
In spite of those Italian successes, Magni is perhaps best remembered for the remarkable feat of winning three consecutive Tours of Flanders between 1959 and 1961. In a far less globalised era, the Tuscan became only the second non-Belgian to win De Ronde, earning the moniker of the “Lion of Flanders” in the process.
On home roads, Magni struggled to compete with the popularity of Coppi and Bartali – in part due to his fascist sympathies during World War II – but still took three Giro d’Italia victories in the post-war period. His first win in 1948 came amid some controversy with Magni penalised two minutes for receiving pushes on the Pordoi, but he resisted the jeers of the tifosi to carry the pink jersey to Milan.
After adding a second Giro in 1951, Magni went on to become the oldest winner of the race in dramatic circumstances in 1955. By then 35 years of age, the wily Magni attacked in the company of Coppi on the penultimate stage to San Pellegrino Terme, conceding the stage victory to Il Campionissimo in return for his help in dislodging a distraught Gastone Nencini from the maglia rosa.
The most enduring image of Magni at the Giro would come from an edition he did not win, however. As defending champion in 1956, Magni broke his collarbone in a crash on stage 12 from Grosseto to Livorno, but continued in the race to finish second overall behind a rampant Charly Gaul,
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