Page 13 - DLN Oct2013-975
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Fausto Coppi and Lugano ’53

By Mick Hartley

The Parkside “Poets’ Corner” met
after the recent OMA ‘10’ and
conversation turned - as it
frequently does - to places visited
and fond memories of the same.
Stack mentioned Lugano,
Switzerland as an early youth
tour memory, so giving me a
“starter for ten” to recall the 60 th
anniversary of a legendary 1953
cycle race, held that year at my
own favourite destination on

Earth! August 30 this year
th
marks 60 years to the day since
Fausto Coppi won the
professional road title at Lugano,
on the famous Crespera circuit.
This event remains probably the
most revered of the “World’s” competitions ever - especially if you happen
to be Italian! - and in some ways this was quite a remarkable choice of
venue, both in its origins and execution on the day, and for its eventual
unhappy aftermath during Coppi’s Championship Year.

In the post-WWII era Coppi’s record in the world road championship had
been (to put it mildly) almost dismal. These events produced three
retirements - with the 1948 edition resulting in suspension with Gino Bartali
for negative riding - and in addition three others had been affected by
“health” issues. His sole “podium” placing had been at Copenhagen in 1949,
when he was beaten in a 3-man sprint by Rik van Steenbergen and Ferdi
Kubler. Blame was also placed more generally on the undemanding -
sometimes flat - courses selected, these often favouring the sprinter types
to the detriment of Coppi’s particular riding skills. The 1953 World’s were


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