Today, Giovanni Pinarello, the founder of the Pinarello bicycles has died at 92. The death of the Italian framebuilder has been announced on the Italian bike manufacturer’s Facebook page.
The cause of his death is not announced yet.
Giovanni “Nani” Pinarello was born in Catena di Villorba, Italy on 10 July 1922. He was the eighth of 12 brothers. At the age of fifteen, Giovanni began making bicycles at the factory of Paglianti. After a successful amateur career, he turned professional in 1947, aged 25.
His love for two wheels and an innate gift as an indomitable fighter led him to pursue a career in cycling. This is the ‘Eroico’ (Heroic) era in cycling: Coppi, Bartali, Bobet on white roads, difficult, very difficult terrain.
But the young Nani immediately attracted attention, winning over 60 races, and the tender age of 20 won “la Popolarissima” in Treviso, an important race in the Dilettanti circuit (a level of racing that opens doors to being a Professional).
But it is in 1951, Nani has his personal date with destiny: racing in the 34th Giro d’Italia, which is won by Rosa Fiorenzo Magni and the great Louison Bobet winning the mountain classification. In the last place comes Giovanni, but in those years the last place was not a disgrace, instead, the last rider wore the Maglia Nera (Black Jersey).
He was the last winner of the Maglia Nera, a black jersey awarded as a symbolic prize in cycling competition at the Giro d’Italia, given to the last man to finish the race.
Giovanni used the Black Jersey prize money to start his framebuilding shop, “Pinarello”, which went on to equip several winners of the vastly more coveted maglia rosa, the “Pink Jersey”, the jersey of the general classification leader in the Giro d’Italia.
Read more about this story here.
Pinarello bikes also dominated the Tour in the 1990s with Miguel Indurain, Bjarne Riis, and Jan Ullrich. In the 2010s they won many Tours with Team Sky.
In recent years, Pinarello handed the reins of the company to his son Fausto. His other son, Andrea, died tragically in 2011 after suffering a heart attack following the opening stage of the amateur Giro del Friuli.
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