HomeCyclingLOMBARDIA 1905: Gerbi The 'Pink Satan'

LOMBARDIA 1905: Gerbi The ‘Pink Satan’


The Giro di Lombardia was born in 1905, and Giovanni Gerbi – referred to as the ‘crimson satan’ – was the primary winner. The story of his break – deliberate in a devilish means, and realized with a lot energy – has grow to be a well-known legend, which has the style of a fable each ingenious and malicious.

*** You possibly can learn Ed Hood’s Il Lombardia’22 PEZ Preview HERE. ***

Authentic story by Ulisse Corno, printed within the Gazzetta dello Sport Giro di Lombardia program, Oct 16, 1952. Translation by Alessandro Federico

Studying by way of the official program for the 1952 Giro di Lombardia is a tremendous blast into biking’s previous, a blast that we’re compelled to share with our high quality PEZ-Readers. We’ve taken the freedom of translating the story of Giovanni Gerbi – winner of the race’s first version – on your studying enjoyment. In 1905, it was not unusual for racers to make use of quite a lot of means to achieve a bonus over their rivals, and if the corsa was not ideally suited to your explicit model, effectively, why not simply modify the corsa?

Giovanni Gerbi, the primary winner of the Giro di Lombardia, was an amazing satan, in 1905. It was the time of the biking heroes. Already there have been laws which punished the ‘transgressors’, with penalties and disqualifications, already there was the intention to self-discipline the game. However the unbelievable situation of the roads, the technical high quality of the bikes themselves, the issue of the executives to observe the races and, final however not the least, the impression to be the pioneers in a brand new period, prompt to the riders, generally, the usage of singular strategies and, generally, the usage of each doable technique.


Giovanni Gerbi, winner of the 1905 Giro di Lombardia, poses subsequent to a poster from his glory days.

In such contests, the place deception was as essential as energy, it was regular to assume that the satan was invited to participate; the satan, represented by the irascible Giovanni Gerbi.

It’s not our model to method the story as a fable born from rhetoric photographs. However Gerbi as a the satan, the well-known crimson satan who everyone remembers, it’s one thing accepted. He has bought, in reality, all the fundamental qualities of the satan: the malicious shrewdness, the surprising anger and the high quality logic.

“How did I win the primary Giro di Lombardia?” asks Giovanni Gerbi, who nonetheless exhausts black clouds from his shaved head on the age of 67. “I gained it as the opposite races, utilizing my highest quality: I used to be an ideal finisseur. As soon as I gained two or 300 meters, it was executed: no one was in a position to catch me again. The race was mine… Clearly I at all times wanted time to review an in depth plan. So for me was crucial within the preparation the examine of the route. Each time I scheduled upfront the second of my assault, and sometimes I used to be in a position to carry out it as deliberate. Clearly choosing the proper second depended from some calculation, some adjustment…”

“Some methods…” we propose. Gerbi’s face turns into darkish. Coming again to his enterprises it’s unfair to talk about methods. In a couple of phrases, Gerbi, was ready to make use of that good and high quality expertise which is a part of the Italian custom. Through the 1905 Giro di Lombardia, as an illustration (this reality may be very well-known), he deliberate to assault close to the intersection of the highway to Crema the place the city prepare rails crosses. He select that place as a result of he observed that whoever rode between the rails the place they turned an intersection couldn’t proceed with out stopping and crossing the rails by foot.


The tracks the place Gerbi executed his plan. The bottom between the rails was typically higher for biking than the adjoining roadway, so racers would typically experience in between the rails. However bunny-hopping a 50lb. bike was not as simple as you may assume, and dismounting was the one option to get again onto the highway, until you deliberate forward like Gerbi.

Can we name it trick? Is it no more right talk about consideration to particulars? Giovanni Gerbi, fifty meters earlier than the intersection positioned some mud on the aspect of the rail to be able to discover the way in which to get out. Then, as soon as within the race he gained the pinnacle of the bunch and led it in the midst of the rails. On the proper time he left by the ready means and began to pedal with desperation. The others, continuing between the rails crashed all collectively in an amazing means. Govanni Gerbi, intelligent satan, baptized in such means the Giro di Lombardia: we gained with extra then 45 minutes on the second.

After a few years, the outdated satan nonetheless tells his story with satisfaction. However he speaks with out a malicious smile. The outdated satan by no means smiles, he’s an excessive amount of satisfied about his profession to talk about it in a easy means as a form of sport. He’s additionally actually satisfied about his superiority.

“What do you concentrate on subsequent Giro di Lombardia?” we ask to him.
“This Bartali… this Coppi… these foreigners… these children…” he thinks talking. It’s clear that it’s troublesome for him reply a query which doesn’t contain him as protagonist.

“You understand” he all of a sudden provides “I’m very busy”.

Giovanni Gerbi owns a small bike manufacturing store. He lives in Asti in an enormous flat, half museum, half dwelling, the place he meets generally bishops, mayors, admirals and pals. He’s an unique king, and appears ahead with out a lot care to the precise biking champions.


The Gerbi bike store

1905 Giro di Lombardia November 12
Distance: 230.5kilometers (143.2miles)
Profitable time: 9:13:52.

Giro di Lombardia 1905 Consequence:
1. Giovanni Gerbi (ITA) Maino
2. Giovanni Rossignoli (ITA) Bianchi
3. Luigi Ganna (ITA) Rudge-Whitworth.

The 1905 Giro di Lombardia was the first version of the Giro di Lombardia, now often known as Il Lombardia, a basic one-day cycle race organized by La Gazzetta dello Sport. The race began with 55 riders. Giovanni Gerbi made his successful transfer at a railroad crossing. He jumped up the crossing and again onto the course and rode forward, whereas a couple of riders behind crashed. Gerbi stretched his benefit to forty minutes. Of the riders that began, twelve completed.

*** Keep PEZ for the 2022 Il Lombardia Race Report on Saturday. ***


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