Friday, February 18, 2011

Alfredo Martini Celebrates 90th Birthday

Alfredo Martini, an icon of Italian cycling, celebrated his 90th birthday today. His professional career spanned seventeen years from 1941 to 1957. Martini won the Giro dell'Appennino in 1947, the Giro del Piemonte in 1950, and a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 1950; he wore the pink jersey for one day and finished third behind Koblet and Bartali. He also won a stage in the Tour de Suisse of 1951, finishing third behind Kubler and Koblet.

Martini is also remembered for his finish in the legendary Cuneo-Pinerolo route raced on the 17th stage of the 32nd Giro d'Italia on 10 June, 1949: a truly memorable moment in Giro history. Then, the first time the route was raced, the route comprised five major climbs in a row through the Italo-French mountain passes: Colle della Maddalena (Col de Larche in French), Vars, Izoard, re-entry into Italy via Monginevro and, finally, Sestrière before arriving in Pinerolo. Two hundred and fifty kilometres, much of which on dirt roads as they were then. “Campionissimo” Fausto Coppi’s performance is legendary, his 190-kilometre solo ride beginning halfway up the Colle della Maddalena and concluding at the finishing line in Pinerolo. He won by 11 minutes and 52 seconds from his historic friend and rival Gino Bartali in second, with Alfredo Martini third – but first among the “mere mortals” – at 20 minutes 40 seconds.

Later, Martini became the C.T (Commissario Tecnico) of the Italian national team from 1975 to 1997. Under his leadership Italy won World Championships with Francesco Moser in 1977 in San Cristóbal (Venezuela); with Giuseppe Saronni in 1982 in Goodwood (Great Britan); with Moreno Argentin in 1986 in Colorado Springs (USA): with Maurizio Fondriest in 1988 in Renaix (Belgium); and with Gianni Bugno in 1991 in Stuttgart (Germany) and again with Bugno in 1992 in Benidorm (Spain).

Since 1998 he has been the Honorary President of the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana.

Martini, more recently, has been on the committee that has been successful in having Firenze (Florence) awarded the 2013 World Road Championships.


Video from a RAI interview with Martini today here.

Photo: Alfredo Martini in his Wilier Triestina jersey, circa 1947/1948.

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  1. The program last night on RAI Sport 2 was great. Not only the usual cycling pundits babbling, but lots of old racing footage from the '40s through '90s, tributes by all the living "royalty" of Italian cycling, and loving admiration from members of his extended family.

  2. RAI Sport TV is just ONE of the reasons we want to eventually live full-time in Italy! Buon compleanno Martini!