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The tale of the GranPiemonte told through the deeds of 5 champions: Felice Gimondi

26/08/2021

Before 1971, the Giro del Piemonte had been raced, alternately, at all times of the year. Then, on its sixty‑first edition, it was permanently moved to late season.

Those were the years of the rivalry between Merckx and Gimondi, and oftentimes the wind of fortune was in the Belgian ace’s sails.

That year, the race was held on September 11, along a route of 238 km starting and finishing in Marano Ticino.

1971

That year, Gimondi had already surrendered to Eddy Merckx at the Milano-Sanremo and at the World Championships, which had taken place just one week before the Giro del Piemonte.

Hence, that morning, he was looking for a chance at redemption. He was looking for answers, more for himself than for anyone else.

Without his opponent standing in his way, he won the race 2’35” ahead of his team‑mate Gianni Motta.

1972

The rivalry, however, resumed the following year, when Merckx took it to the start line in Marano Ticino.

How did it work out?

The “Cannibal” took first place, nearly one and a half minutes ahead of Gimondi.

They got even off, and were back to square one.

1973

1973 was one of the greatest years in the career of Felice Gimondi, who had just snatched the world title in Barcelona, six days before the Giro del Piemonte. Instead of suffering the pressure of wearing the rainbow jersey, or feeling tired and fatigued from the competition (or the celebrations), he felt invigorated and galvanized. He attacked throughout the race, outsprinted Marcello Bergamo on the finish line, and won by a good margin over all his other opponents.

The tally showed 2-1 for Gimondi.

One month later, he also took his second Giro di Lombardia win, after Merckx was disqualified.

Their antagonism rocked the whole world, and was the exciting recurring theme of all the major races of those years.

Admittedly, the Cannibal was often victorious. But at the Giro del Piemonte, the final tally showed 2 to 1 for Felice Gimondi, as it did back in 1973.

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