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Alfredo Binda since 1902…

Cycling makes history in the small town of Cittiglio for over one hundred years

Cittiglio, a few miles north of Varese, is a small town; nevertheless it is well known because it gave birth to the greatest Italian champion in the cycling world: Alfredo Binda. He was born in 1902 and died in 1986, at the start of his career he was sponsored by an Italian bicycles dealer in France (in Nice Binda worked with his uncle and brother as a plasterer), he was then part of the legendary Legnano team led by a myth, Eberhard Pavesi. Binda’s annual salary was twelve thousand pounds. He debuted at a high level in the Giro d’Italia in 1925, as a domestique, but free to take initiative: he proved his talent by winning the pink race surprising all the fans. This was the start of an unbeatable career, 5 Giri d’Italia just like Coppi and Merckx (plus one …ad honorem: in 1930 the organizers paid him to stay home), 3 world titles, 4 Italian championships, 2 Milano-Sanremo, 41 stages at the Giro d’Italia and 2 stages of the Tour de France (unfortunately he only raced once in the Tour de France due to sponsorship reasons), plus thousands of other trophies that all just about fit in an unbelievable glass cabinet. He retired in 1936 after a disastrous fall during the Sanremo race. After the war, he became Italian team manager, looking after two “prima donna” like Bartali and Coppi: he brought to Italy four yellow jerseys (Bartali, twice, Coppi, Nencini) and two world championships (Coppi and Baldini). Together with Gianni Brera, he introduced the concept of the support car in the cycling world. An extraordinary champion, beloved everywhere, including America: his legend was great in the pre-television era, imagine how popular he would have been with the help of today’s media. Cittiglio dedicated to “il Binda” a museum of memorabilia, in the town centre, that has more than 30 thousand visitors per year and the women’s race that is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015. This is the 17th edition from the revival of 1999, the 8th as part of the World Cup circuit and it is scheduled to take place on the 29th March 2014. Its history, full of great stories and big names, makes the Trofeo Binda a unique event on National and International level. It all began in the far 1974: in that year Lecco Giuseppina Micheloni, excellent Italian athlete from Lecco, started the honors’ list of the Cittiglio race. Although it started as a regional test, it immediately involved the big names of women cycling. Among the winners of those pioneering times the incredible Maria Canins; in the 90’s talents such as Fabiana Luperini and Valeria Cappellotto won on the Via Valcuvia arrival. The first life cycle of the Binda Trophy ended in ’96. After two years of not racing, in ’99 the mayor of Cittiglio asked Mario Minervino to bring the race back to life. Said and done: the race became a national event and then an international event, duly crowning absolute champions and becoming a first class race. Since 2008, after the women’s Sanremo race was written off, the UCI designated the Binda Trophy as the only Italian test of the World Cup circuit, an event second only to the Olympics and World Championships as far as charm and prestige. In fact, it is the most important Italian race and it takes place on the roads of Alfredo Binda, who, when he wasn’t busy around the world, used to cycle with his brother Albino, swallowing kilometers on the same crazy up and downs of Valcuvia where today’s champions battle each others. The annual event of Trofeo Binda, which used to take place on Easter Monday and now just shines on its own date, celebrates a land full of passion for the two wheels. Cittiglio and the whole Varese province commit 100% to the event. The involvement of the many schools guarantees the spreading of educational messages to new generations through the sport.As usual, the 2015 edition will have something new. Departure from Laveno Mombello and arrival in the centre of Cittiglio, while the Orino hill will be once again decisive for the final selection: this steep hill is as characteristic to the Binda Trophy as the Cauberg hill is to the Amstel Trophy, as the Jaizkibel hill is to the San Sebastian race, as the Huy wall is to the Fleche Wallonne, as the Grammont to the Flanders Tour, as the Ghisallo to the Lombardy Tour, as the Mortirolo Hill to the Giro, as the Alpe d’Huez to the Tour de France. This race doesn’t allow any bluffing: since ’99 the race was won five times by athletes who have worn the World Champion rainbow jersey (Ziliute, Cooke, Schleicher, Vos), an Olympic Champion (the same Cooke), five winners of the Tour de France and/or Giro d’Italia (Luperini, Cooke, Brändli, Pooley, Vos), four star athletes of the World Cup Circuit (Ziliute, Wood, Cooke, Vos). The last two winners Longo Borghini, Johansson. The honours roll is waiting for the next great name: the long road up to the date of the 29th March has already begun. It will be another memorable day, for sure!

Story Trofeo Alfredo Binda (click link: http://www.trofeobinda.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=1&id=36&Itemid=143)

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