From last place in the 1951 Giro d’Italia to making bikes that were ridden to Tour de France glory

Giovanni Pinarello, founder of the Italian bicycle manufacturer whose frames have been ridden to Tour de France glory by the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Miguel Indurain and Jan Ullrich, has died at the age of 92.

Known as ‘Nani,’ Pinarello’s business was founded in 1953 as a bike workshop towards the end a cycling career in which perhaps his most notable distinction was finishing last in the 1951 Giro d’Italia to clinch the maglia nera [black jersey], which at the time carried a lot of prestige.

He also won races including Rome-Naples-Rome and the Giro delle Dolomiti.

Pinarello passed away yesterday evening at 6.45pm, shortly after being taken to hospital in Treviso, his grandson Nicola told the Corriere del Veneto.

 

“Now granddad has found Andrea,” he told the newspaper, referring to his grandfather’s youngest son, who died of a heart attack after taking part in a stage of the amateur Giro dei Friuli in 2011.

He continued: “He began to feel unwell at around 6pm and we took him to accident and emergency. Sadly there was nothing to be done and shortly afterwards he died, fortunately without suffering, but leaving a hole that cannot be filled.”

The mayor of Treviso, Giovanni Manildo, said: “He will remain for everyone in Treviso a lovely image of our city, a man who left his mark not only on Treviso, taking the name of this area all around the world.

“Each of us has a memory of him, I remember him with a broom in his hand, cleaning the area in front of his shop. He was, and will always be, one of the great people of Treviso and an affectionate thought goes to him and his family.”

The company he founded has added a gallery of images from his racing career and afterwards to its Facebook page, where it also says that his funeral will be held tomorrow, Saturday 6 September, at Treviso’s cathedral at 3.30pm, with all welcome to attend.

 

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.