There is a song about Giovanni Gerbi by the Italian singer Paolo Conte, titled “Diavolo Rosso”, which goes something like this:
“Forget about the road, Red Devil,
and come have an orange soda with us.
Time goes by, facing the sun.
Look into the deepest nights
in this starry north-western sky.
Look at the frosted cartwheel grooves,
as cold as the gaze of a Frenchman”
In 1906, however, there were still no Frenchmen who could challenge Giovanni Gerbi for supremacy at the Giro del Piemonte (as the race was called back then).
Actually, the Belgian Jos Hoevenaers would be the first foreigner stepping on the podium 51 editions later, hitting second place in 1961.
Anyhow, let’s go back to Gerbi.
Hailing from Asti, where he was born in 1885, he was one of the pioneering heroes of cycling. He went down in history as Diavolo Rosso, the Red Devil.