Felice Gimondi, Italian, 1942 - 2019
Felice Gimondi won the Tour in 1965 - his first year as a professional, riding with the not-particularly-fancied Salvarani team. He was just 22 at the time, and had only been added to the team’s Tour de France squad at the last minute. A year previously he had come a lowly 33rd in the (amateur) Olympic Road Race - it was a some turn up for the books.
In many ways he was lucky with his timing. The Tour had been dominated by Jacques Anquetil from 1960 to 1964, but Anquetil did not ride in 1965 - leaving a huge psychological chasm that would not be filled until Eddy Merckx burst on the scene in 1969. The overwhelming favourite for the 1965 Tour was Raymond Poulidor - the all time expert at heroic failure - a man who despite being the housewives’ favourite, despite repeatedly pushing Anquetil to the very limit and despite collecting a hatful of podium finishes, never once wore the Yellow Jersey in any of his 14 Tours.
Felice Gimondi may not rank up there with the greatest titans of the sport - but he was no slouch, being one of only 6 people to have won all three Grand Tours and winning the World Championship Road Race in 1973. This postage stamp, issued by the Emirate of Ajman, dates from 1969.
Inevitably, as an Italian riding for an Italian team and riding an Italian Magni bike, Felice Gimondi won his Tour using Campagnolo derailleurs. As an aside, the now little-known Fiorenzo Magni, of the eponymous bikes, is mentioned on Wikipedia as a ‘mentor’ to both Ernesto Colnago and Faliero Masi.
This is one of two images of Felice Gimondi on this site, the other is here.