After Coppi, who is there? Fausto Coppi. It occurs to me as I read the blurb for this new book. Not only that. After Coppi there is a subtitle, for this new book, written by Carlo Delfino, a profound connoisseur of history, historian of cycling who writes in these pages published by Alba Editions: there is the strange crisis of Italian cycling in the years of the economic boom. After Coppi there is a story that needed to be told like this. In a historical novel. By Luciana Rota
After Coppi there is still Coppi, however, and this is a reflection of the writer but also a fact whether we like it or not. There is also Bartali, revitalized in his long fame (and rightly so, Just) by a history of humanity and humanitarian dedication that few have on their resume. Not even Coppi.
After Coppi there is an eagerness to publish and then read and tell about cycling that stays with us. Also the one right after Coppi. Before going into the heart of this book, which focuses precisely on the immediate After Coppi, there is a preface to highlight and it is that of Imerio Massignan. From which we cannot avoid extrapolating some fundamentals passages. Like this: (…) I did not do badly on the level of popularity and sympathy in cycling people who always understood my efforts and misadventures, and, wherever I went, even in my eighties, they never failed to give me a smile and pats on the back. Now that I have my doctor friend’s book in my hands, I have gone back 60 years to when cycling was the main sport and the bicycle was still the only means of work and transportation for so many countrymen. (…) within the pages I found especially many friends. Lots and lots of them. So many have already “retired” — the final one; with many others we talk often and sometimes see each other when there is a bit of a party and a drink to be had. (…) One of my last outings, however, was with Luigi Zaimbro at Ghisallo and the Sormano Wall where 70 years ago they had been able to appreciate my hocks. At Magreglio, they always invite me to eat polenta al toc, and for me, the friendship of these people, who gave me honorary citizenship, is worth more than many victories.
Delfino’s DOPO COPPI is a (coming-of-age) novel.
Or a historical novel of cycling that, chapter by chapter, addresses the crisis of all of us and perhaps you without Coppi, a people well supplied with expectations and love of heroic cycling. Delfino’s DOPO COPPI recounted by an accountant lent to marketing, takes us back, one year after another passing and repeating, to a review of facts and champions, of fantastic places, of feats, of stages in the history of cycling that changes and escalates after those three: Coppi, Bartali and Magni. And it’s not easy. These were the years of Gastone Nencini, the Sormano Wall and the Poggio, Massignan and Balmamion, Maspes and Gaiardoni at the Vigorelli, the Gavia and the power of Ercole Baldini. Of Venturelli. These are years of great cycling!
Another phrase borrowed but you will find it when reading these beautiful book pages: (…) When Magni enters the discussion, he argues that we should not always judge Italian cycling by the yardstick of Coppi and Bartali: that is a period that will most likely never return. Now we are going through a somewhat unfortunate cycle, other nations, on the other hand, have very classy men; there are historical ebbs and flows. Signed Bruno Raschi. After Coppi we are also left with them. Writing champions. And that is no small thing.