"Go! Go home! I know what you're thinking: I'm old. You came here and tired yourselves out for nothing. There's no point in following Bartali's race, that poor old man, eh? But I'm warning you: a stopwatch won't be big enough to record the amount of time by which I'll beat the others. And don't come back to interview me when I have the yellow jersey!"
A stopwatch wasn't big enough to measure his winning margin. And you certainly can't measure the impact his win had in an Italy that was thrown into panic, with mobs taking over factories and local governments and political groups literally heading for the hills, ready to start a revolution.
I realize it's a different age, but what destroyed that bravado in our sport? Is it that respecting your rivals now means you have to bury your confidence? Does our media coverage and online peering into every word and detail around a race bury any spontaneity? Do race radios effectively control our racing to the point that the winner is almost predetermined by power numbers? Has cycling emerged from those postwar days when it was the poor guy looking to escape his situation that caused him to drop his shovel and get on a bike because he might find that labor easier to feed his family?
Whatever it is, more people need to know Gino's story and cycling's rich past.