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If God Was a Tester – He’d Race in Lugano!

                      Part 1: The Chosen Few

                             By Mick Hartley

In the 2013 October DLN, I promised to follow-up my Coppi ’53 Worlds article
with another on time-trial racing in Lugano, Switzerland. This belated
two-part article of mine is
basically an account of the
now-defunct Gran Premio
Lugano Time-Trial; bear in mind
however that the cycle time-
trial remains popular in the
Swiss Canton Ticino to this day.
In 1998 a Giro TT stage was
held there, and both the 1996
and 2009 World’s produced
Swiss Elite TT winners in Alex
Zülle and Fabian (“Spartacus”)
Cancellara. Also - in September
2001 - I saw the Swiss
Professional TT Championship,
held on a very rainy Lugano
Sunday morning. The canton overall is still a venue of choice for Tour of
Switzerland TT stages, with 2014 no exception. I could almost imagine our
own Terry Deeley saying,” It must be a kind of showcase for all those Swiss
watches and clocks!”

The G.P.Lugano time-trial was originally an unashamed elitist competition
held in the Autumn of each year, towards the end of the professional road
racing season. With a field limited to only 10 or 12 riders the event was run
almost continuously between 1950 and 1979. Only three editions were
missed-out in the ‘seventies, as the more major sponsorship began to falter.
Before launching into anecdotes about the pantheon of “big shots” who
rode the events, I would like to provide further details about the event’s

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