Friday, October 8, 2010

Meet Vittorio Seghezzi, Gregario to Coppi and Bartali

On Saturday, I bumped into this stylish older guy with a powerful voice. I knew that he had to be someone important, and I was certainly right. Meet Vittorio Seghezzi, gregario of Coppi and Bartali.

From the book "Coppi's Angels" - 'When he was in his third, we were in second. When we were in third, he was in fourth. When we are at the limit, he seemed to have another gear: a fifth, a sixth, it was a mystery... As an amateur I wasn't bad - 23 wins. As a pro it was a different tune. I turned pro in '47 and my role was to help. Free days to try myself: zero. And after lots of work, to arrive at the finish was already a great success.'

How heroic were those days? 'In 1948 I was called up for the cadet's team for the Tour de France. My role was to help Ronconi, who the year before arrived fourth in the GC. On the second stage there was a huge crash. Fifty of us went down, and I broke my saddle. It wasn't like it is now: if I hadn't recovered my saddle, nobody would've given me another. I did 42 kilometers on my pedals with my saddle in hand. No help. I finished a half hour down, muscles destroyed, but with my back end still clean! I won't ever forget that.'

'I thought that would've been it for my misfortune, but I was tricked. One day I broke my crankset. Again, it wasn't like today: there was only one team car, and that followed the captain. I did 80 kilometers pedaling with just one leg, so the journalists wrote the next day that I was the "Enrico Toti of the Tour de France". I came across another bike, by luck. It was too small for me, but I rode it another seventy kilometers to arrive to the finish. By myself. I arrived outside of the time limit, but at least I arrived. That night I was last in the classification, and by the rules I should have been eliminated. But the jury looked me in the face, knew what I had been through, and kept me in the race!'

1 comment:

  1. i love to hear of these heroic tales. thanks