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however Kubler was to win by almost four minutes from Coppi and Koblet,
with the others fairly well down.

The following year saw Coppi win by two minutes from Koblet, having caught

Hugo on the Sorengo hill at the start of the last 9.7mile lap: Kubler was

third, only nine seconds adrift. Coppi won again in October 1952 - the year

of his second Giro/Tour double - beating both his fellow

Giancarlo Astrua and his French “soul mate” Louison Bobet by almost four

minutes. By now  had also become part of the celebrity social

scene; with World Formula One champion Juan Fangio appearing on film with

his lady, “Beba” Espinosa. Down on his luck in 1952, the famous Argentine

driver had broken his neck in a crash at Monza earlier that Summer.

Although there is no record of any conversation between Fangio and Coppi

                 at the Lugano event, perhaps they both

                 consulted the same osteopath?!

                 By 1953 the type of rider type preferred by the

                 “ selectors was pretty well set in stone.

                 Mature stage race winners, world class road and

                 pursuit champions, and those with enough

                 natural speed to ride solo in time-trials. Coppi -

                 now 34 - was well qualified in all of these

                 respects, both as the newly-crowned Lugano

                 World’s road race champion from August that

                 year and also as holder of the World 1-hour track

                 record since November 1942. For 1953 the scene

                 was set for an ambitious old-versus-new

                 generation showdown between Coppi and the

                 brilliant 19-year old time-trial newcomer Jacques

Anquetil         Anquetil. By this stage “Maitre Jacques” had

                 won the 87-mile Grand Prix des Nations

                 convincingly in Paris at an average of 24.6mph.

This was only two weeks before the set  date and the race entries

and appearance money had already been finalised by        . In spite of

all the publicity groundwork, honour was not to be served by this predicted

“duel of the century”! Almost unbelievably Coppi had been suspended

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