Gino Bartali (18 July 1914 – 5 May 2000), nicknamed The man of steel, Gino the Pious, Ginettaccio, was one of the biggest champions of road cycling history. He was the most renowned Italian cyclist in mid/late1930s – ealry 1950s having won the Giro d’Italia three times (1936, 1937 nad 1946), the Tour de France twice (1938 and 1948), Italian championship 4 times (1935, 1937, 1940 and 1952), Milano – San Remo 4 times (1939, 1940, 1947, 1950). His second Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest gap between victories in the race.
Bartali was a good climber and a pioneer of using gears and derailleurs. His style was unusual: he rarely danced on the pedals and often stayed in the saddle throughout a 15 km climb. When others attacked, he stayed in the saddle but changed up gear, to a sprocket three teeth smaller. He rode smoothly over the mountains but every now and then freewheeled, always with his right foot lowered with his weight on it. Then a second or two later he would start pedalling again.
Bartali earned respect for his work in helping Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during the time of the Italian Social Republic. It emerged in December 2010 that Bartali had hidden a Jewish family in his cellar and, according to one of the survivors, saved their lives in doing so. Bartali used his fame to carry messages and documents to the Italian Resistance. Bartali cycled from Florence through Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche, many times traveling as far afield as Assisi, all the while wearing the racing jersey emblazoned with his name. Neither the Fascist police nor the German troops risked discontent by arresting him.
Bartali’s rivalry with Fausto Coppi divided Italy. Bartali, a conservative, was venerated in the rural, agrarian from the south. While Coppi was more worldly, secular, innovative in diet and training, was a hero of the industrial north.
There are many stories about Bartali that will never be forgotten. In 1943, he led Jewish refugees towards the Swiss Alps himself. He cycled, pulling a wagon with a secret compartment, telling patrols it was just part of his training. Bartali told his son Andrea only that “One does these things and then that’s that”. Even after the war he never boasted his merits, he used to say: “The good is done, but it is not said. And certain medals hang on the soul, not on the jacket.”
At the end of 1948, Gino Bartali left Legnano Team and decided to race with his own team, Cicli BARTALI. The racing bikes were produced by Santamaria brothers (Cicli Fratelli Santamaria) in Novi Ligure. Bartali probably chose the factory of Santamaria brothers due to Fausto Coppi’s advice, who lived in Novi Ligure as well. Coppi was a great friend of the brothers Santamaria (the Santamaria brothers built Coppi’s racing bike in 1939 for the Giro of Piemonte, after which Legnano convinced Coppi to move to them for the 1940 Giro d’Italia. The commercial involvement between Santamaria and Bartali continued until 1955.
Happy to present another legendary Italian steel racing machine – BARTALI Corsa by Santamaria, which dates back to 1952-53, thanks to special vintage bike register. The frame is made of very light Columbus tubing (for early 1950s era) and equipped with Bartali brakes, Simplex gearing system. Easy to recognize typical Santamaria lugs, fork crown, headbadge and decals on downtube with Gino Bartali sign on a top tube. Beautiful steel racing bike ready to participate at L’Eroica.
Nice catch for any vintage bike collector. A museum piece.
Frame & Fork: BARTALI by Santamaria (frame no.47124)
Gearing system: Simplex
Hubs: Gnutti (steel)
Saddle: BROOKS (original)
Tubulars: Vittoria Rally
Handlebar Tape: cotton, blue
Bottle cage & bottle: metal
Condition: The frame was completely restored, re-chromed and refubrished by professional guy. No cracks, no dents, not bent. All parts are workig fine.