How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Imerio Massignan

With the brim up.


Massignan was a noted Italian climbing specialist, who raced as a professional between 1959 and 1969. In that time he captured the Mountains title at the Tour de France twice (1960, 1961), and claimed eight top ten overall finishes at the Tour and Giro, the highest being 2nd at the 1962 Giro d'Italia. A standout among the pantheon of epic battles of the Giro d'Italia was the first ascent of the Passo di Gavia in 1960, the first time the climb featured in the race. Jacques Anquetil, five-time champion of the Tour de France was there. Rik Van Looy, counted among the greatest climbers of all time was there. Charly Gaul, nicknamed the Angel of the Mountains for his grace in climbing was there. Gastone Nencini, with two earlier mountain stage wins already under his belt was there. Each of those greats, all but Gaul, withered in their turn. The road in 1960 was still unpaved and the melting snow on the pass's steep slopes had created a slippery quagmire with grades up to 17%. Undaunted, Massignan attacked the accomplished Gaul, pulling away with each turn of the wheel. The first puncture set him back, all the more because he had to change the flat himself. Pushing on, the second puncture set him back yet again, this time for good. A heroic effort, though, saw him finish as runner-up, only fourteen seconds back of Gaul. 

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