In Memoriam: Fiorenzo Magni, December 7, 1920 – October 19, 2012

In Memoriam: Fiorenzo Magni, December 7, 1920 – October 19, 2012

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The Velominati mourn today the passing of Fiorenzo Magni, perhaps one of the Cycling world’s greatest living example of the spirit of The V and all that surrounds it.

Magni was the original Lion of Flanders, a feat heightened somewhat by his being Italian, not Flemish – though the Flemish had little to argue with after he won de Ronde three times in a row. He also famously used an inner tube tied to his stem and held between his teeth in order to compete in the Stage 13 time trial of the 1956 Giro d’Italia. Because quitting is for quitters, not hardmen. He finished second, a feat which we was more proud of than his three previous Giro titles.

Our sport is one of mighty peaks and valleys; the heights we reach are made great by the depth of the valley we have climbed from. Today, Magni has given us a monumentally deep valley. His passing leaves a void which may never be filled; men like him are rare in any age, but certainly the age in which we find ourselves presently. We shall walk this valley with honor and remembrance.

Magni was 91 years old, and suffered an aneurysm in today’s early morning hours. More information available at CyclingNews.com.

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// In Memoriam // The Hardmen

  1. I love that second pic, of him and Coppi smiling. There’s something wonderful about the carefree expressions on both faces. Especially since both came from such embattled pasts. Magni was the third wheel of Italian cycling during much of his career, behind Coppi and Bartali. In any other era, he would have been a great champion in his own right.

  2. I think there’s an article here. Riders who were “third wheels.” We’ve had articles on “eternal seconds” but there are others who were overshadowed by epic two-man battles. Of course, the last 20 years won’t count in my research.

    Mottet article is finished and will be submitted soon..

  3. I will be opening a bottle of Ruffino in honour of the Magni tonight.

    Chapeau and rest in a draft!

  4. Sad day. An icon.  RIP.

  5. The Lion of Flanders.

  6. they don’t make them hard like that anymore.

  7. @Steampunk

    I love that second pic, of him and Coppi smiling. There’s something wonderful about the carefree expressions on both faces. Especially since both came from such embattled pasts. Magni was the third wheel of Italian cycling during much of his career, behind Coppi and Bartali. In any other era, he would have been a great champion in his own right.

    You make a very telling point.  You can only ever appear that carefree when you have been through a whole world of pain and misery and have just been released from it.  You sometimes see it in the face of disaster survivors.  I have seen it in the face of veterans of war or a stolen moment of lightness when someone has suffered bereavement or the “black dog” has been visiting.  Shared pain leads to shared joy and freedom…those on the outside can only peek in and guess what draws a smile from such pained lips.

  8. @wiscot

    There’s a telling comment—where? in Pedalare! Pedalare! or in Fotheringham’s biography of Coppi?—that Bartali and Coppi carved up all the wins in cycling after WWII. Whatever these two titans didn’t win, Magni devoured.

  9. Today we mourn.
    Tomorrow we ride.

  10. The embodiment of the V.

    RIP

  11. @Winelli

    Today we mourn.
    Tomorrow we ride.

    I second that emotion, well put sir.

  12. @Winelli

    Today we mourn.
    Tomorrow we ride.

    +1.  Well said.

  13. His quote from the wikipedia article (my emphasis)
    ” I have always admired them for what they could do and esteemed them for who they were

    If only we could say the same of the many of last generation.

  14. Went on to read http://bikeraceinfo.com/oralhistory/magni.html
    “Human values come first. I have always put them before sport.”

    and when I get to the cycle touring in Europe that’s on the bucket list the climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo has to be in there

  15. Wow! I was not familiar with his ride in the 1956 Giro until reading up on it just now after seeing this… They don’t come much harder than this! Unbelievable!! True legend of the sport!

    Great write up Frank!!

  16. A true hero, hardpan and lover of Wiliers. It doesn’t get much better than that!

  17. That would be hardman, autospell is starting to get old…

  18. And the photos are irrefutable proof that, the less hair you have on your head, the harder you are.

    I pity you hirsute sooks.

  19. @minion

    And the photos are irrefutable proof that, the less hair you have on your head, the harder you are.

    I pity you hirsute sooks.

    The future is not bright for old Rigaberto Uran then….

  20. The 2013 edition of the Giro will be dedicated to the memory of Fiorenzo Magni.

    http://www.gazzetta.it/Giroditalia/en/19-10-2012/maglia-rosa-2013-dedicated-to-fiorenzo-magni-912948521220.shtml

  21. @Buck Rogers

    @Winelli

    Today we mourn.
    Tomorrow we ride.

    +1. Well said.

    word

    +2

  22. What a history !  A true character right enough.

    That top picture reminded me of something, then I realised who, with the greatest respect…. it is the wide toothy grimace.

  23. Old school bad ass.  Cool pics.  91 years – not a bad run.  R.I.P.

  24. A true lion.

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