The escapes of Livio Trapè (not only) at the Giro d'Italia

The escapes of Livio Trapè (not only) at the Giro d'Italia

It was in the 1961 pink race that the ex-racer broke his femur and was no longer himself. First, at the 1960 Rome Olympics he won gold with the 100km quartet and silver in the road race. "I touched the shotgun. That silver was very bitter. I still feel bad just thinking about it"

Montefiascone, home of wines (Est Est Est) and of pilgrims (Via Francigena) and cradle of champion cyclists. To name two: Sante Ranucci, world amateur championship, year 1955, e Livio Trape, Olympic gold and silver, 1960. Ranucci escaped from the group a week ago: he was almost 90 years old. Instead, Trapè's escapes are, in this period, daily: he jumps on his bike and, at the age of 86 (turned yesterday), he enjoys its fifty kilometers in a tour - another Tour, in fact -, airy and tree-lined, which touches Civita di Bagnoregio.

The pink race is a tour of memories and dreams, adventures and misadventures, businesses and crises, stories and passions. Another Giro is the column by Marco Pastonesi who will accompany us along the roads of the Giro d'Italia 2023

The first pedal Trapè is Tarquinio: “My father, one of the first licensed four-wheelers in the province of Viterbo, courier driver, from Montefiascone to Rome and from Rome to Montefiascone along the Cassia, then truck driver, mills and Flour. He knew about cycling ”. The second pedal-operated Trapè is Ardelio: “My brother, over 18, an amateur, but a strong one, then the war in Africa, in charge of checking and restoring telephone lines, therefore on the front line. When he returned, he started running and winning again. As a runner and then as a coach". The third pedal Trapè is him, Livio: “Sixth of three brothers and three sisters, tall and thin, too frail to ride a bike, ruled Ardelio, who made me wait until I was 19 before attaching the first backbone. Six victories in 1956, 12 in 1957, 20 in 1958…. We ran together, he was the old man, I was the young one."

If Bartali and Coppi had split Italy in half between the professionals, Trapè and Venturelli – Romeo Venturelli known as Meo, from Sassostorno di Lama Mocogno near Pavullo nel Frignano on the Modenese Apennines – built an authentic rivalry, characterful and competitive, fierce but even affectionate: “The difference was that, when we both competed in the blue jersey, we could trust me because I listened and obeyed, instead Meo did his own thing and, in the vast majority of cases, for himself. We were friend-enemies, the devil and holy water. The only time we competed together, one for the other, in a Trofeo Baracchi, 120km time trial, we even beat the professionals”. One day Livio lost his head and called Meo, who had also been a shepherd as a boy, a "sheepdog". "And Meo didn't flinch."

Their paths separated at the end of 1959: “Olympic blockade in view of the Rome Olympics. If desired, the block could be bypassed. A year earlier I had renounced a proposal from Learco Guerra: his supporters received 50,000 lire a month, he offered me two million a year, but Ardelio said it was still early for me, trying in vain to reach two and a half million . Instead Meo gave up the money under the table of the Federation to take those of San Pellegrino, with Bartali sports director and Coppi captain. I set myself two Olympic races as a goal: the 100km quartet and the road race. I touched the double: gold in the quartet and silver in line. A very bitter silver. Don't ask me why. I'm still sick just thinking about it." It was “a quadruple scam”. The first due to a broken pinion, which forced him to move from 14th to 18th. The second because Pinella De Grandi, the mechanic of the national team, and also of Coppi, did not have a suitable wheel for Livio and so Livio decided to keep that one. The third for a water bottle at the last refill, contained sugared tea and not glucose and a vitamin complex, so much so that in anger after about fifty meters he threw it to the ground and was left without liquids and without energy. The fourth scam, decisive, for a wrong advice in the final sprint with the Soviet Viktor Kapitonov, that of the journalist Lillo Pietropaoli who was on the flagship, shouted at him to sprint because they were returning from behind, and it was not true, Livio set off along and was jumped 10 meters from the finish.

And the Giro d'Italia? For Trapè, six years as a professional, two individual victories and an Italian team championship, the Giro was the terminus: “The 1961 edition, the centenary edition, the twentieth and penultimate stage, the 275 km Trento-Bormio with Pennes, Giovo and Stelvio, the Gavia was planned, but it had snowed during the night, and Vincenzo Torriani didn't want to risk anything on our skin. I was returning alone on Rik Van Looy, Hans Junkermann and Carletto Brugnami, to Merano, I was in the wake of the flagships, when I faced a double bend, but it wasn't signposted. In the first corner I saved myself, in the second I crashed, fractured femur, and from that day on it was no longer me". Despite everything, a second place in the 1962 Giro di Lombardia (“But first on the Muro di Sormano, and without pushing”), a third stage in the 1964 Giro and the 1966 Vuelta (“Even if the annals report, who knows why , fourth").

The bike, for Trapè da Montefiascone, is infinitely more than a bike: "Unless we say that life is a bike".

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