Groningen- Giro de Italia Mario Cipollini, foto Cor Vos ©2004
  • Mark Blackwell

    Hadn’t made the connection to Peter Sagan, but you are so right. The way he won the Worlds in 2015 was just magnificent, and after the finish one of the handlers tried to chaperone him into the boring old process for the winner (press, dopage, dais etc), but Sagan was having none of that! He shrugged off the handler by giving him his bike to hold and proceeded to rip of his gloves and helmet and throw them into the crowd before taking the congratulations of Boonen etc. Add to that the wheelies, bike stunts, calling a spade a spade in interviews… then take a look at his wedding!

    Bottom-pinching aside, I love the way Sagan brings his energy and personality to races… it’s so much more interesting to watch as a fan than watching say, Simon Gerrans recite his litany about the team etc etc. Super Mario had the same thing going for him, and was way ahead of his time in many respects. Thanks for the reminder, and I will watch Sagan with all the more relish as a result.

    • David Everett

      Sagan has the similarity of using just that little too much hair gel too, the parallels just keep flowing.

  • blimit

    You forgot to mention his Pope skin suit for the 200 Giro prologue in Rome. When asked if he was comparing himself Pope John Paul II he said:
    “Of course not,” he said. “My uniform and the insignia are signs of tribute, honor and respect for His Holiness. He is a
    man of God, and I am a mere bicycle racer. I am very content to be the second-most famous man in Italy.”

    • David Everett

      There was quite a few skinsuits and kits I left out, and then there was the Rock Racing situation I omitted, There’s definitely a book’s worth of stories I could write about. The Pope comment is pure Mario.

      • Christophe Noel

        The Rock Racing association made me cringe when it happened. I can only assume it was a communication blunder. Or, Cipo was lured in by the sparkle-butt jeans of the sponsoring label.

      • Suzannetlord4

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  • I loved the pink TT suit and bike, at a Giro TT one year……

  • Wil

    Last year whilst walking round Lucca with the girlfriend and mother-in-law, I walked past an Audi Rs6. At the time I was pushing a rented Pinarello back to the rental shop when who should I walk past getting out of said car but Super Mario himself. Star struck doesn’t come close, I just about managed to blurt out a ‘hi Mario’ to which he responded with a smile and a ‘hi’. He then looked at my bike and shook his head. Made my holiday did that.

    He’s massive now, as in proper ripped. Bloke is a legend.

  • easytiger

    I was in Genova for the 2004 Giro prologue and was standing at the top of Via Fieschi (a 400m long steep cobbled climb) when he rode past in his gold baroque lion skinsuit (

    Moments before it was 5 deep with tifosi crowded across the road filling it up completely – all with their La Gazzetta dello Sport in hand. They were ticking riders off one-by-one on their start lists. I heard this gentle rumble cascading up the climb “Cipo!, Cipo!, Cipo!,…” as he was approaching. Then I heard the muffled sirens of the Carabinieri escort motorcycles coming up the hill. Facing down the hill all I could see was the backs of all these mad Italian cycling fans, and as the CIPO! chanting increased to a fever pitch and the sirens grew deafeningly loud, the crowd parted and Cipo flew past no more than a metre away from me. The Italian guy in front of me turned around and grabbed me by both shoulders, shook me and yelled jubilantly “CIPO!!!”.

    I was exultant, like I had witnessed the miracle of God on a bicycle literally parting the Red Sea of tifosi. Then the sea of tifosi closed to await the next rider. It was an amazing experience, and I don’t believe I will witness such an incredible outpouring of emotion about a cyclist ever again.

    To cap it off, Brad McGee won the prologue and pulled on the Maglia Rosa – what an amazing day of incredible memories!


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