Fiorenzo Magni

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Fiorenzo Magni
Fiorenzo Magni with family.jpg
Magni with wife and daughters
Personal information
Full name Fiorenzo Magni
Born (1920-12-07)7 December 1920
Vaiano, Italy
Died 19 October 2012(2012-10-19) (aged 91)
Monza, Italy
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Professional team(s)
1940–1943 Bianchi
1944 Pedale Monzese
1945 Ricci
1947–1948 Viscontea
1949–1950 Wilier Triestina
1951–1953 Ganna
1954–1956 Nivea-Fuchs
Major wins

Grand Tours

Giro d'Italia
General Classification (1948, 1951, 1955)

One-day races and Classics

Tour of Flanders (1949, 1950, 1951)
National Road Race Championships (1951, 1953, 1954)

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


Magni in 1943

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 deaths 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]

On 10 June 1940 Magni was enlisted as a gunner to the 19th Regiment in Florence and dispatched to Africa, but the ship that was supposed to transfer him sank, and Magni was reassigned to Rome. He served there until returning to Florence in 1943. Next year he was enlisted to the Italian voluntary militia. His unit was involved into a violent confrontation with Calenzano partisans known as Battle of Valibona, but Magni himself arrived to the site when the battle was over.[5]

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 lived since 1975.[6]

Professional cycling career[edit]

Magni breaking the world record over 100 km at Velodromo Vigorelli on 7 November 1942[9]

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).[10][11]

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 Tours de France in 1949–53 and wore the yellow jersey at least once.[10] 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.[11][12] 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."[11]

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. 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, 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. Magni took his bike and was able to finish the stage in the peloton, which had waited for him. 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".[11] 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.

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.”[11] 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.

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."[11]


Giro del Piemonte
Tre Valli Varesine
Jersey pink.svg Giro d'Italia, with 1 stage victory
Tour of Flanders
1 stage victory in the Tour de France
Giro della Toscana
Trofeo Baracchi
Tour of Flanders
1 stage victory in the Giro d'Italia
1 stage victory in the Tour de France
Trofeo Baracchi
Jersey pink.svg Giro d'Italia
Tour of Flanders
1 stage victory in the Tour de France
MaillotItalia.svg Italian National Road Race Championship
Giro del Lazio
Giro di Romagna
Trofeo Baracchi
Criterium of Bordighera
2 stage victories in the Tour de France
Giro del Piemonte
Giro del Veneto
MaillotItalia.svg Italian National Road Race Championship
3 stage victories in the Giro d'Italia
2 stage victories in the Tour de France
Giro della Toscana
MaillotItalia.svg Italian National Road Race Championship
Jersey pink.svg Giro d'Italia, with 1 stage victory
Giro di Romagna
3 stage victories in the Vuelta a España
Giro del Piemonte
Giro del Lazio

Grand Tours overall classification results timeline[edit]

Grand Tour 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956
Pink jersey Giro 9 1 WD 6 1 2 9 6 1 2
Yellow jersey Tour - - 6 WD 7 6 15 - - -
red jersey 'Vuelta - - - - - - - - 13 -

WD = Withdrew DSQ = Disqualified


  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. ^ Bulbarelli, pp. 42–43, 49
  6. ^ a b 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. ^ World Record, Track, 100 km.
  10. ^ a b c Fiorenzo Magni.
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ a b "Fiorenzo Magni". Cycling Hall of Fame. Retrieved 19 October 2012.