- Category : Cyclist
- Type : GE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Consciousness 4
Fiorenzo Magni (December 7, 1920 – October 19, 2012) was an Italian professional road racing cyclist.
Magni was born in Vaiano, province of Prato (Tuscany). He was the "third man" of the golden age of Italian cycling, at the time of the rivalry between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. The highlights of his career were his three overall wins in the 1948, 1951 and 1955 Giro d'Italia, and the three consecutive wins (record) at the Tour of Flanders (1949, 1950 and 1951).
Magni excelled at racing in extreme weather conditions, especially in cold, windy, rainy or snowy days. All three of his victories at the Tour of Flanders were in harsh, cold conditions.
During all of the 6 Tours de France Magni participated in he was able to wear the yellow jersey at least once.
During the 12th stage of the 1950 Tour de France, while he was wearing the yellow jersey, he was forced to retire from the race (together with all the other Italian riders) by Bartali, captain of the Italian team, who had been threatened and assaulted by some French supporters accusing him of causing Jean Robic's fall. Years later, when asked about how he felt abandoning in the yellow jersey he replied: "Of course I felt bad about that but I believe that there are bigger things than a technical result, even one as important as winning the Tour de France."
In the 1956 Giro d’Italia, stage 12, Fiorenzo Magni famously broke his left clavicle and still managed to finish 2nd place overall. At the hospital he refused a plaster cast and refused to abandon the Giro in the year of his announced retirement. Magni continued the race with his shoulder wrapped in an elastic bandage. To compensate for his inability to apply force with his left arm, he raced while holding a piece of rubber inner tube attached to his handlebar between his teeth for extra leverage. Since his injury prevented him from effectively braking and steering with his left hand, Magni crashed again after hitting a ditch by the road during a descent on stage 16. He fell on his already broken clavicle, breaking his humerus, after which he passed out from the pain. They put him in an ambulance, but when Magni regained his senses and realized that he was being taken to the hospital he screamed and told the driver to stop. Magni took his bike and was able to finish the stage in the peloton, which had waited for him. Of the evening that followed Magni said "I had no idea of how serious my condition was, I just knew that I was in a lot of pain but I didn't want to have X-rays that evening". Just four stages later, the infamous 20th stage of Giro '56 dawned where Luxembourg's Charly Gaul would execute his legendary mountain stage victory in Trento, haunted by snow and ice over the Costalunga, Rolle, Brocon and Bondone climbs. That day 60 people abandoned, and Gaul went from 16 minutes behind to winning the 1956 Giro; Magni, despite his injuries, placed 2nd, only 3 minutes and 27 seconds behind.
Fiorenzo Magni has been mentor to at least two famous frame builders. Ernesto Colnago worked on his first Giro d'Italia in 1954 as second mechanic. First mechanic at that time was Faliero Masi, who Magni described in an interview as “The best mechanic of all time.” It was Masi’s idea to use the piece of inner tube attached to his handlebar when he broke his clavicle the 1956 Giro d’Italia.
When asked what it was like to ride against Coppi and Bartali, Fiorenzo replied: "In life, defeats are more likely to happen than wins. Losing to Coppi and Bartali, and therefore congratulating them, is an experience that I am happy to have had and an experience that taught me a lot. I have always admired them for what they could do and esteemed them for who they were. Not only were they champions, they were also great men. Why do you think we are still speaking about them? Because they made history. I consider myself lucky because racing with them I could be part of this history. I would have won more without them but it wouldn't have been during a legendary cycling era."
Fiorenzo Magni died in the hospital of Monza on 19 October 2012, near Monticello Brianza, where he lived.