Born on September 15, 1919, the Campionissimo, the Champion of Champions, was a man who transcended sport. He was one of the champions during one of cycling’s great eras, the Post World War II years.
Italy, traumatized by war, looked to sports heroes for its victories after years of military defeat. Coppi’s battle with another great rider, Gino Bartali, was the stuff of legends. The two men battled through the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and numerous one-day classics in an epic struggle for athletic superiority and the hearts of Italy.
Even though he wasn’t able to compete for the majority of World War II, Coppi still won a total of seven Grand Tours.
Coppi shares the record of five victories in the Giro d’Italia with Alfredo Binda and Eddy Merckx.
Coppi won the Tour de France twice, in 1949 and 1952, dominating the competition and easily winning the overall title and mountains jersey competitions.
Coppi was the first rider to win the Tour de France - Giro d'Italia double. He did so in 1949 and 1952.
Coppi also won the the the Giro d'Italia - World Championship Road Race double in 1953.
Coppi won three out of five of cycling’s monuments for a total of nine victories in those races. This is third behind Eddy Merckx and Roger De Vlaeminck. Coppi also owns the record of five victories in the Tour of Lombardy.
His victories in the 1950 Paris-Roubaix and 1953 World Championship Road Race capped off a brilliant career that would have no doubt been brighter had his career not been interrupted by World War II.