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I Campioni - the champions, part two

A pictorial of the great Italian riders

With just hours to the start of the 2003 Giro d'Italia, Cyclingnews is pleased to bring you part two of our selection of rare images of great Italian champions from before the Second World War to the present day.

Part one

Photo: © AFP
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Francesco Moser

Despite being considered the top Italian rider of the late '70s and early '80s, Moser didn't win his home tour until 1984, the year in which he seemingly pulled out all the stops, winning Milan-San Remo, the Giro d'Italia, the Baracchi Trophy (a now-defunct two-up time trial) and the Giro di Lazio.

As if to give notice that this was to be his year, Moser travelled to Mexico in January 1984 and using an aerodynamic bike and the latest training methods, twice broke Eddy Merckx's 12-year-old Hour Record, eventually setting a mark of 51.151km that stood for nine years.

Photo: © AFP
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Claudio Chiappucci

The rider they called 'Il Diabolo' was famed for his reckless, attacking style in the mountains. Chiappucci never won the Giro, but twice took the mountains jersey. Perhaps his greatest victory was the 1991 Milan-San Remo when he attacked 200km from the finish and stayed away till the end.

It was a style he'd shown in the previous year's Tour when he led an attack after just 6km of the opening stage, and demonstrated again in 1992 at Sestrieres when he put Miguel Indurain under pressure by staying away over all five of the day's climbs.

If he hadn't been up against Indurain's and LeMond's superior time-trialling Chiappucci might have a more impressive palmares, but his reputation as an entertaining, attacking rider is richly deserved.

Photo: © AFP
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Marco Pantani

Few riders polarise opinion like Marco Pantani. To some, Pantani's expulsion from the Giro in 1999 with a haematocrit of over 50 percent cast doubt on all his achievements. To others, the last rider to pull off the Tour-Giro double is a hugely entertaining racer who admits his best days may now be behind him, but may still pull a few surprises in this year's Giro.


Photo: © Sirotti
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Mario Cipollini

Undoubtedly the greatest sprinter of the modern era, Cipo the Lion King proved in 2002 that he is not only incredibly fast but also incredibly classy with his victories in Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and the World Championships.

His 2002 Giro was also remarkable for his six stage wins, bringing him just one victory away from Binda's record - and who doubts that Cipollini will equal then exceed that record over the next three weeks?

Images by AFP

  • Alfredo Binda, the greatest Italian rider of the pre-war era in the days when tech support was a tyre wrapped round your shoulders
  • Gino Bartali shone in the mountains - in the days when riders weren't jostled by crowds on every col
  • Gino Bartali won two Tours de France and three Giros d'Italia in a career marked by epic battles with Fausto Coppi
  • Fiorenzo Magni is seen here winning a Tour de France stage. Despite a palmares that includes five Tour stage wins and three Giro victories, Magni never quite made the Tour podium
  • Fiorenzo Magni won the Giro d'Italia in 1948, 1951 and 1955, but was never quite as dominant away from the Italian tifosi
  • Fausto Coppi was known as the Campionissiomo for his dominating style and the title was never more earned than in his 1952 Tour de France win, a victory secured in solo exploits in the mountains
  • Felice Gimondi (right) is one of the few riders to have won the Vuelta, Tour and Giro. He is seen here meeting the Pope, with rainbow-clad Eddy Merckx in the background
  • Francesco Moser, seen here in the 1980 Paris-Roubaix, won his place in history by using aerodynamic technology to set a new Hour Record a couple of years later
  • Claudio Chiappucci was to the early 90s what Marco Pantani was to the late: inspiring, mercurial and unpredictable but always entertaining when the going got hilly.
  • Marco Pantani is still Italy's most popular rider
  • Mario Cipollini celebrates one of the 2002 Giro stage wins that brought him within reach of Alfredo Binda's record