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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

Tour de France news for June 22, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Coppi's bike to be auctioned at the Tour

The July 6 start of the Tour de France in Luxembourg will include an unusual bike sale: an auction of the bike ridden to victory by the campionissimo, Fausto Coppi in the 1950 Paris-Roubaix.

Two years later Coppi gave the bike, Bianchi number 231560, to a new professional on his team, a young rider called Raphael Geminiani.

It's unusual for a bike to become available that can be traced to Coppi with this degree of certainty. Coppi's legend means there are many claims that this bike or that bike belonged to the rider who is generally considered Italy's greatest ever cyclist. But in this case, the bike's history is clear.

Geminiani and Coppi were firm friends and the bike has been in Geminiani's possession almost continuously for half a century. It was restored by Gipiemme at the beginning of the 90s and returned to Geminiani in November 1995 in a ceremony attended by Coppi historian Gino Bartali.

At the beginning of this year Geminiani donated the bike to the Vel'Auvergné cycling development association, of which he is president, and this is the body that will benefit from the proceeds of the auction.

The reserve price has been set at 15,245 Euro, but a piece of cycling history this rare and in this good condition is expected to fetch over twice that.

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