|Lemond vs Hinault|
|Lance's "confession" on Oprah|
|Gino Bartali in the 1938 Tour de France|
When the war finally ended, Bartali was able to return to cycling. However, he was no longer a young man, and many speculated that his best years were lost to the war. His temperament had changed as well, and he was considered by many to be aggressive and rude. During the 1948 tour, the media criticized him tirelessly, and as he fell behind by more than twenty minutes, it looked like his days as a professional cyclist were coming to an end. What happens next . . .well, if you don't already know, you'll just have to read the book.
Anyone who follows cycling knows that riders can be quite arrogant, self-centered, and having an magnified sense of importance (in truth, the same can be said of athletes in many sports). At times Gino Bartali demonstrated many of these same characteristics. But his story is a reminder that there is much more to any individual than just that which appears in the media. Bartali reminds us of the indomitable human spirit, and the endurance to overcome any challenge.
|Bartali with rival and teammate, Fausto Coppi, in the 1949 TdF|