In the middle of the 1938 Tour de France, Mussolini published a Manifesto on Race, which led later to Jews being stripped of citizenship or any position in government or the professions.
His role in the network was uniquely suited to his talents - he became a courier. On the face of it he was undertaking the long training rides for which he was renowned, but in reality he was carrying photographs and counterfeit identity documents to and from a secret printing press, because he was was known to cover large distances with his bicycle for training purposes, he hid forged documents in his bike frame and handle bars, forged documents that were produced by the Assisi network, another rescue operation initiated by Church people in that town.
When Bartali was stopped and searched, he specifically asked that his bicycle not be touched since the different parts were very carefully calibrated to achieve maximum speed.
At the age of 11, in order to attend middle school in Florence, Gino needed transportation. With his own earnings and with help from his father and sisters, he purchased his first bicycle. While riding the hilly roads of the region, Bartali started to develop and refine his racing skills. In 1931, at the age of 17, he won his first race.
On June 10, 1940, Italy declared war on France and Great Britain. In October, Bartali was called to active duty. Because of an irregular heartbeat, he was assigned to be an army messenger. Allowed to use his bicycle for his missions, Bartali was able to continue training and racing for the next three years.
As the war progressed and cycling races were cancelled, Bartali's cover began to appear less credible. In July 1944, Bartali was interrogated at Villa Triste (Sorrow House) in Florence, where local Fascist officials imprisoned and tortured their prisoners. Fortunately, one of Bartali's interrogators happened to be his one-time army commander, who convinced the other interrogators that Bartali was innocent of any charges.
He went on to win the Giro d'Italia in 1946. With a stunning performance in the mountains of France, he won the 1948 Tour de France (10 years after his first Tour de France victory).
The program will offer children between the ages of 14-17 the opportunity to apply to attend a course dedicated to training riders in mountain biking, road cycling, BMX and track cycling.
Up to 24 children from across the world will be accepted onto the course with the program dedicated to involving participants from all different faiths and socio-economic backgrounds.