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(short-term) by his UVI national federation, virtually on the eve of the Swiss

race. Ignoring this non-fulfilment setback Anquetil still managed to do “

        proud, riding in “stormy weather” conditions to beat first Ferdi Kubler

and then Pasquale Fornara - another Swiss event regular from Piemonte,

Italy;              certainly earned his  that day!

The long-awaited Coppi-Anquetil “duel” never in fact took place within their
career timescales, with both riders competing as equals. In Autumn 1954,
Coppi’s passport was withheld during the “Lady-in-White” scandal
proceedings, leading to a rather circumscribed end to his racing year.
Ironically, one of Coppi’s best 1954 rides that June had been a

         “international” time-trial stage from Lecco (Lake Como), Italy, which
finished in Lugano. This 61-mile test was won by him at over 25mph to beat
the eventual general classification winner Fornara; one can’t help wonder
whether - according to some rule of the day - Fausto needed to place one
foot on the ground at the Como/Chiasso frontier, when he showed his travel
credentials to the Swiss border guards!

The Italian media are fond of recalling the more memorable examples of

great events as     or legendary events, be it a cycle time-trial, a

motor race or even a legacy opera performance. The Lugano time-trial was

no exception in this respect and in 1963 a prominent Italian journalist

Vittorio Varale of                        was invited to comment. Sig.Varale

- a friend of the “Grand Prix des Nations” creator Gaston Bénac - chose

the 1953            (as above), along with the 1956 race, as his two personal

favourites. He also thought them the most significant in that 1956 was

the last of Coppi’s three wins and 1953 was the first of Anquetil’s six

victories, the last of these being with “Ford-France” in 1965.

Coppi’s love affair with Lugano was manifest and he must have regarded it

as a lucky place to compete. The race managers at               issued him

with an entry invitation in 1959 - when his career was in decline - and initially

he hesitated to accept. In an RTSI (radio) interview he later confessed it

was really “an offer he (personally) could not refuse”. He then paraphrased

the words of the famous exotic black American singer/dancer Joséphine

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