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CAMPAGNOLO: THE STORY THAT CHANGED THE BICYCLE
1 December 2008
Corporate Campagnolo CAMPAGNOLO: THE STORY THAT CHANGED THE BICYCLE
On the occasion of EICMA 2008 (italian show) , Paolo Facchinetti and Guido Rubino presented their book dedicated to Campagnolo: La storia che ha cambiato la bicicletta (English title: Campagnolo: 75 Years of Cycling Passion), published by Bolis Edizioni in Italian and by Velopress in English. Available online and in bookstores, the book tells the story of the company's evolution through the inventions, innovations, and the great champions who have used Campagnolo components, from the quick release to the first Gran Sport shifter, from the first Record to the current product range.

The book was presented by Gino Cervi of Bolis Edizioni, who defined it as a book with two souls: the historical one narrated by Paolo Facchinetti and the sport-technology one directed by Guido Rubino. "The best part of cycling," Cervi affirmed in his introduction, "joins passion and technology. It's a sport of the road that has a strong bond with history. The same goes for Tullio, a man of the road and at the same time an industrial genius, who personally followed his champions at every race."
The story that changed the bicycle

On hand for the presentation were Valentino Campagnolo and Vittorio Adorni, a cycling great who raced in the''60s and knew Tullio Campagnolo well. "Tullio was an extraordinary person," Adorni recalled. "At the end of every race, he would go and talk to the mechanics, to understand what could be improved." Paolo Facchinetti, co-author of the book with Guido Rubino, confessed that when he was asked by Bolis Edizioni to write this book, he was undecided. Used to telling the story of great champions, it was hard for him to think of telling the story of a company and a person ? Tullio Campagnolo ? who did not practice sport competitively but contributed to doing it. But as soon as he began his research, he realised what an extraordinary person Campagnolo was and, along with him, the company that he created.



The man

"I was excited to discover Tullio Campagnolo the man," Facchinetti recounted. "The thing that amazed me the most was that I only heard positive judgements about him. This had never happened to me before." Those who knew Tullio held him in the highest esteem. Fiorenzo Magni defined him as being in a class by himself in terms of mechanics, but in the industry they would call him the Ferrari of the bicycle or Leonardo da Vinci. "All this hyperbole," explained Facchinetti, "shows the measure of the personality and the capacity of this extraordinary man." Claudio Gregori, a journalist who writes for Gazzetta dello Sport and a huge cycling enthusiast, defined him as a Daedalus. A creator. "Tullio Campagnolo was born in a region, the Veneto, that was extremely poor, devastated by the Great War," Gregori recounted, "and he managed to emerge simply by working with his hands." In that period, many derailleurs were being produced: the Nieddu, the Simplex, but also Italian derailleurs like the Dux, which was developed in Turin in 1934 in the midst of the Fascist era. Campagnolo was able to beat the competition with the force of his passion for cycling and his incredible capacity for invention, imposing the simplicity and ingenuity of his products.

The inventor

"Campagnolo travelled a lot," Facchinetti explained, "and he returned from every trip with a new idea: the corkscrew, the nutcracker, the Campastira." Facchinetti continued: "Alberto Masi was there in person at the birth of the idea for the Campagnolo corkscrew. They were at dinner and needed to open a bottle of wine. Back then, you opened bottles by holding them between your knees and using the strength of your arm to lever the cork. But on that occasion, Tullio was not able to do it, and like at the Croce d''Aune Pass, he said: ''Something needs to be changed here.'' Two weeks later the two-lever corkscrew was born. "What really surprises me," confessed Facchinetti, "is that Tullio was never content, like we would be, just to say that something needed improvement. He simply found a way to do it."

The genius

"The genius of Campagnolo," concluded Guido Rubino, co-author of the book who worked on the strictly technological part, "is the simplicity of a derailleur that worked. In the early 1900s, before Campagnolo, derailleur prototypes already existed, but they were complex, complicated, and heavy. Tullio Campagnolo was able to create a derailleur that was effective, lightweight, and functional, beating the competition of that time and keeping faith over the years with this philosophy: simplicity and ingenuity." "?and Valentino Campagnolo," continued Facchinetti, "was able to take the company in hand, doing extraordinary things and maintaining the prestige of the Campagnolo brand." "For me, Campagnolo is like the Wright brothers," Gregori concluded poetically. "The Wright brothers transformed the bicycle into an airplane; Campagnolo made it fly."
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