1942, the hour record

On November 7, 1942, during World War II, Coppi tries to beat the hour record belonging at that time to the French rider Archambaud, with 45.840 Km per hour.

The training is not very intensive because Coppi is enlisted in an infantry regiment of the Army, located in Tortona. Nevertheless, Coppi starts the performance at 2 o' clock in the afternoon in Milan, in the Vigorelli velodrome.

Having no experience in this kind of performance, Coppi goes too fast and after thirty laps he's late in comparison to Archambaud's time. Coppi covers 22.946 Km in half an hour while Archambaud covered 23.007 Km.

Finally, Coppi starts keeping a good pace and reduces the gap with the Frenchman to 2 seconds. The last 30 laps are very hard, both for Coppi and for the people watching him. In one lap he gains some precious metres but then he suddenly looses the advantage in the next one, in a whirl of painful ups and downs. In the end, after 115 laps, Coppi succeeds in beating the hour record, setting it to 45.871 Km per hour, with a difference of 31 metres "only" from the previous record.

Archimbaud begins questioning on the regularity of the performance.
The international authorities confirm validity of the record on the 9th of February 1947, after the War.

It is very difficult to prove how things really went as some of the witnesses, the timekeeper included, had died during the war. Coppi's record breaks off only 14 years later, on the 29 of June 1956 when another French rider, Anquetil, improves it.