Fiorenzo Magni (Italian pronunciation: [fjoˈrɛntso ˈmaɲɲi]; 7 December 1920 – 19 October 2012)[1] was an Italian professional road racing cyclist.

Fiorenzo Magni
Magni at the 1951 Tour de France
Personal information
Full nameFiorenzo Magni
NicknameIl leone delle Fiandre ("The Lion of Flanders")
Born(1920-12-07)7 December 1920
Vaiano, Italy
Died19 October 2012(2012-10-19) (aged 91)
Monza, Italy
Team information
Current teamRetired
Professional teams
1944Pedale Monzese
1949–1950Wilier Triestina
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
7 individual stages (1949, 19501953)
Giro d'Italia
General classification (1948, 1951, 1955)
6 individual stages (1948, 1950, 1953, 1955)
Vuelta a España
Points classification (1955)
3 individual stages (1955)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships
(1951, 1953, 1954)
Tour of Flanders (1949, 1950, 1951)
Medal record
Representing  Italy
Men's road bicycle racing
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1951 Varese Elite Men's Road Race

Biography edit

Magni was born to Giuseppe Magni and Giulia Caciolli, and had an elder sister Fiorenza.[2] He started competing in cycling in 1936, in secret from parents. His early successes became known to locals, including his parents, they allowed him to continue.[3]

After the death of his father in December 1937, Magni left school to take over his father's business and provide incomes for the family, yet he continued his cycling workouts.[4]

Magni breaking the world record over 100 km at Velodromo Vigorelli on 7 November 1942.


Shortly before the war in Italy on 10 June 1940, Magni was recruited to serve as a gunner at the 19th Regiment of Florence, although he had requested to become a bersagliere, while being licensed to dispute a race, its battalion was embarked for Albania, but the ship, where he should have been on board, also sank without leaving survivors.[citation needed]

He moved to the Olympic Battalion of Rome where he remained until 1943 when he returned to Florence at the 41st Artillery Regiment. After the armistice of 8 September 1943 he was recalled to serve the newborn Italian Social Republic and, in the Voluntary Military Forces of National Security, he was in charge of the railway control at the side of the carabinieri in Vaiano, his country of birth.[citation needed]

In January 1944 Magni's battalion, together with carabinieri, men of the Muti Legion and the Carita' Band, was involved in a violent confrontation with the local partisans, giving rise to the Battle of Valibona, with deaths on both sides. When Magni arrived the fights were already over, but later on he would be charged with numerous accusations, including the killing of Lanciotto Ballerini, the band leader.[citation needed]

On 5 November 1947 Magni married Liliana Calò; they had two daughters, Tiziana and Beatrice.[6] In 1951, at the peak of his cycling career, Magni started working for Moto Guzzi, and two years later began selling cars with Lancia. Later in 1980 he became an official dealer for Opel and some Asian companies. In the 1980s he was also involved in trading petroleum products with Giorgio Albani.[7]

Magni terminated his business activities in 2009. He died on 19 October 2012 in Monza,[8] near Monticello Brianza, where he had lived since 1975.[6]

Professional cycling career edit

During the war Magni combined track and road events, but later focused on road racing. He was the "third man" of the golden age of Italian cycling, at the time of the rivalry between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. The highlights of his career were his three overall wins in the 1948, 1951 and 1955 Giro d'Italia, and the three consecutive wins (record) at the Tour of Flanders (1949, 1950 and 1951).[9][10]

Magni excelled at racing in extreme weather conditions, especially in cold, windy, rainy or snowy days. All three of his victories at the Tour of Flanders were in harsh, cold conditions. He rode Tour de France in 1949–53 and wore the yellow jersey at least once.[9]

During the 12th stage of the 1950 Tour de France, while he was wearing the yellow jersey, he was forced to retire from the race (together with all the other Italian riders) by Bartali, captain of the Italian team, who had been threatened and assaulted by some French supporters accusing him of causing Jean Robic's fall.[10][11]

Years later, when asked about how he felt abandoning in the yellow jersey he replied: "Of course I felt bad about that but I believe that there are bigger things than a technical result, even one as important as winning the Tour de France."[10]

Magni at the 1956 Giro d'Italia

In the 1956 Giro d’Italia, stage 12, Fiorenzo Magni famously broke his left clavicle and still managed to finish second overall. At the hospital he refused a plaster cast and refused to abandon the Giro in the year of his announced retirement.[citation needed]

Magni continued the race with his shoulder wrapped in an elastic bandage. To compensate for his inability to apply force with his left arm, he raced while holding a piece of rubber inner tube attached to his handlebar between his teeth for extra leverage. Since his injury prevented him from effectively braking and steering with his left hand, the next day (Modena-Rapallo), Magni crashed again after hitting a ditch by the road during a descent on stage 16. He fell on his already broken clavicle, breaking his humerus, after which he passed out from the pain. They put him in an ambulance, but when Magni regained his senses and realized that he was being taken to the hospital he screamed and told the driver to stop. He chase the group, caught it and arrived on Bondone under a blizzard. For this gesture fellow racers Ugo Tognazzi and Raimondo Vianello nicknamed him Fiorenzo il Magnifico.[12] Of the evening that followed Magni said "I had no idea of how serious my condition was, I just knew that I was in a lot of pain but I didn't want to have X-rays that evening".[10]

Just four stages later, the infamous 20th stage of Giro '56 dawned where Luxembourg's Charly Gaul would execute his legendary mountain stage victory in Trento, haunted by snow and ice over the Costalunga, Rolle, Brocon and Bondone climbs. That day 60 people abandoned the race, and Gaul went from 16 minutes behind to winning the 1956 Giro; Magni, despite his injuries, placed second, 3 minutes and 27 seconds behind Gaul.[citation needed]

Magni has been mentor to at least two famous frame builders. Ernesto Colnago worked on his first Giro d'Italia in 1954 as second mechanic. First mechanic at that time was Faliero Masi, who Magni described in an interview as “The best mechanic of all time.”[10]

It was Masi’s idea to use the piece of inner tube attached to his handlebar when he broke his clavicle the 1956 Giro d’Italia.[citation needed]

When asked what it was like to ride against Coppi and Bartali, Magni replied: "In life, defeats are more likely to happen than wins. Losing to Coppi and Bartali, and therefore congratulating them, is an experience that I am happy to have had and an experience that taught me a lot. I have always admired them for what they could do and esteemed them for who they were. Not only were they champions, they were also great men. Why do you think we are still speaking about them? Because they made history. I consider myself lucky because racing with them I could be part of this history. I would have won more without them but it wouldn't have been during a legendary cycling era."[10]

Career achievements edit

Major results edit

1st Giro del Piemonte
1st Tre Valli Varesine
9th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st   Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 19
1st Tour of Flanders
1st Giro della Toscana
1st Trofeo Baracchi
6th Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 10
1st Tour of Flanders
1st Trofeo Baracchi
1st Stage 8 Tour de France
6th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 16
1st   Overall Giro d'Italia
1st   Road race, National Road Championships
1st Tour of Flanders
1st Giro del Lazio
1st Giro di Romagna
1st Milano–Torino
1st Trofeo Baracchi
2nd   Road race, UCI Road World Championships
7th Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 18
2nd Overall Giro d'Italia
6th Overall Tour de France
1st Stages 6 & 22
1st Rome–Naples–Rome
1st   Road race, National Road Championships
1st Giro del Piemonte
1st Giro del Veneto
Tour de France
1st Stages 9 & 22
1st Sassari–Cagliari
1st Rome–Naples–Rome
9th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 10, 16 & 21
1st   Road race, National Road Championships
1st Giro della Toscana
1st Milan–Modena
6th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st   Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 2
Vuelta a España
1st   Points classification
1st Stages 7, 13 & 15
1st Giro di Romagna
1st Milan–Modena
1st Giro del Piemonte
1st Giro del Lazio
2nd Overall Giro d'Italia

Grand Tour general classification results timeline edit

Grand Tour 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956
  Vuelta a España 13
  Giro d'Italia 9 1 DNF 6 1 2 9 6 1 2
  Tour de France 6 DNF 7 6 15
 — Did not compete
DNF Did not finish
DSQ Disqualified

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "LUTTO. È morto Fiorenzo Magni, domani a Monza i funerali". Tuttobiciweb.It. 19 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  2. ^ Bulbarelli, pp. 14–15
  3. ^ Bulbarelli, pp. 18–19
  4. ^ Bulbarelli, pp. 19–26
  5. ^ Archives, Cycling. "World Record, Track, 100 km".
  6. ^ a b In 1951, in the year of the 90th-century celebration of the Unification of Italy (1861-1951), the Giro d'Italia opened with a visit to the altar of Patria in Rome. Magni is not invited with the rest of the race participants because of his past militancy in the Italian Social Republic (RSI). Subsequently Magni, victoriously concludes the Giro d'Italia in 1951.[citation needed]Bulbarelli, pp. 69, 376
  7. ^ Bulbarelli, p. 311
  8. ^ "Fiorenzo Magni, Monza saluta il Leone delle Fiandre in Duomo". Monza Today. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Fiorenzo Magni.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Fiorenzo Magni, a bridge between the legendary past and the modern era of cycling". Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Fiorenzo Magni". Cycling Hall of Fame. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  12. ^ Gucci, Emiliano (2015). Sui pedali tra i filari: Da Prato al Chianti e ritorno. Gius.Laterza & Figli Spa. p. 49. ISBN 9788858120996. Retrieved 13 April 2023.

Bibliography edit

External links edit