Fausto Coppi’s story is not only and simply a legend of bicycle races: some numbers and the list of his victories would
be sufficient but not enough to explain why Fausto Coppi became "the Campionissimo", a myth, not only in Italy but throughout
Europe that lasts even today.
In addition to his victories there is the bitter rivalry with Gino Bartali that seems taken from a novel: it is 1940, Fausto Coppi is still unknown to most and he begins cycling as gregarious in the Legnano team where Gino Bartali is already a champion and the undisputed team leader.
Everything seems already written and instead Coppi against all odds wins the Giro d’Italia ahead a furious Bartali ... a rivalry that begins and that will split Italy in two parties over the years.
The number of victories, I wrote, and this then puts another doubt: what if had been no war ( WWII) or if Fausto Coppi had not suffered an incredible series of injuries ? How far would he arrive? How much would he win? Because the Campionissimo did not simply win bicycle races but he did so often in spectacular way. It’s enough it to recall the famous words of Mario Ferretti " A man only is leading the race, his jersey is white and blue, his name is Fausto Coppi ".
And I like to mention another, less famous but perhaps even more evocative statement: the race is the Milano-Sanremo in 1946, Nicolò Carosio
the radio speaker: Fausto Coppi arrives at the finish line 14 minutes ahead of the second and Carosio's comment at the radio is:
"The winner is Fausto Coppi ... and while waiting for the other competitors we now broadcast dance music"
Then there is his private life. Fausto Coppi got married on November 22, 1945 with Bruna Ciampolini and from this union was born the daughter Marina Coppi on November 11, 1947. In 1953 this "normality" ends abruptly: Fausto meets Giulia Occhini, the woman that for the press will become quite soon "the white lady" (la Dama Bianca) and both leave their family to live together (Giulia Occhini was already married and mother of two young daughters)
For Italy in the 50s this is unprecedented and exceptional, especially because made by a celebrity like Fausto Coppi. Once again the name of the Campionissimo appears on all the newspapers, but now not for his sporting exploits.
Then there was a trial with a sentence for both Fausto Coppi and Giulia Occhini : after this they left the country, first to fly in Mexico and get married and then to Argentina to give birth to their son Angelo Fausto (aka Faustino) so that he can take his father's surname .
Finally there is the death at the age of only 40 years. Fausto Coppi and other cyclists including Raphael Geminiani go to Africa in the current Burkina Faso to race in the Ouagadougou Criterium and then to join a safari.
Back home both Coppi and Geminiani fall seriously ill, but the French rider is properly diagnosed with malaria while Coppi’s doctors diagnose just a strong influence and then him cure for this disease. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is incorrect and thus also the care.
Fausto Coppi died in Tortona January 2, 1960.
In Fausto Coppi are summarized the great champion, the man marked from the misfortune with many injuries, a suffered sentimental life and an early death that was unfortunate to say the least.
This should be enough if it was a fictional character born from the pen of a writer but as a real person we have the myth and the legend of the Campionissimo for so many fans who do not want to forget him even today.
Fausto Coppi's story summarized by year: facts, victories, and misfortunes.
The pages of the Pictures contain trovare a collection of the Campiossimo's photos. I've tried to split them by category.