Italian legend Felice Gimondi has been inducted into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame, joining inaugural member Eddy Merckx, who was elected in 2012. Gimondi won the Corsa Rosa three times – in 1967, 1969 and 1976 – and finished on the podium no less than nine times. With his Tour de France victory in 1965, and Vuelta a España triumph in 1968, he became the second rider in history – after Frenchman Jacques Anquetil – to win all three Grand Tours.
“I’ve deeply moved by this important tribute, even if I have arrived second behind Merckx yet again!” he laughed as he received his special ‘Trofeo Senza Fine’ at the offices of Italian newspapers Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Joking apart, it is a great pleasure for me and it makes me even happier to receive this beautiful trophy in the company of my team-mates and fellow adventurers in the fabulous world of cycling.
“Each one of them deserves a small part of this trophy,” he continued, gesturing to a number who were present at the ceremony. “Vittorio [Adorni], who welcomed me into his home when I was still a young rider; Italo [Zilioli], from whom I learned a great deal, especially his humility and approach to things. Renzo [Zanazzi] taught me to ride on the track. I should thank Luigi for his tenacity in building and sustaining our team. Claudio [Corti] deserves my admiration for building a solid career. I have admired Marino [Vigna, a former teammate of Merckx’], especially in recent years for his courteous and exquisite company. I thank Nerio [Marabini] for his professionalism, and Dino [Zandegú] for the enthusiasm and sense of fun that made so many post-race evenings memorable. Massimo [Ghirotto] I consider an irreplaceable support in my mountain bike team.”
In addition to his Grand Tour victories, Gimondi won several major one-day races, including Il Lombardia in 1966 and 1973, Milan-Sanremo in 1974, and he became World Champion in 1973. Last year’s edition of Il Lombardia started in his home city of Bergamo in celebration of the great champion’s 70th birthday.
“I would also like to thank La Gazzetta dello Sport and RCS Sport for honouring me in this way,” he said of his induction. “It is an unforgettable day for me.”