Trentino: the land of cycling legends
Trentino is famous not only for the roads and passes in the Dolomites, but also for the big names that have gone down in Italian and international cycling history
The Giro del Trentino stage cycling race for men was launched in the late 1980s. It is now known as the Tour of the Alps and it is an internationally renowned event. It is a spring race that takes place in late April every year and its long list of winners includes Italian and international greats such as Francesco Moser, Maurizio Fondriest, Gilberto Simoni, Cadel Evans, Mikel Landa, Geraint Thomas and the Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who won the most recent edition in 2019. The event attracts athletes of a very high calibre and its strategic timing in the international racing calendar means that it is ideal for putting legs, hearts and minds to the test ahead of the Grand Tours, especially the Giro d’Italia in May.
We would now like to present you with a slightly different Tour of Trentino. Instead of the breathtaking climbs – in places such as Monte Bondone and the Dolomites – that have gone down in Italian and international cycling history, it is all about people. In particular, we would like to tell you about the stars of the sport who come from Trentino and have made a name for themselves worldwide.
Born in Palù di Giovo, among the terraced vineyards of the Valle di Cembra, Francesco Moser has no fewer than 273 victories to his name, which makes him the Italian cyclist with the most career wins. He won the Giro d’Italia, the Road World Championships and the individual pursuit at the Track World Championships. He also enjoyed success in numerous one-day classics, winning Paris-Roubaix three times, the Giro di Lombardia twice, and each of La Flèche Wallonne, Gent-Wevelgem and Milan-Sanremo once. In 1984 he set a sensational Hour Record in Mexico City, beating the previous record set by Eddy Merckx. His distance of 51.151 km made him the first man in the world to break the 50 km/h barrier with his average speed during a record attempt of this kind.
Palù di Giovo is also the birthplace of Gilberto Simoni, who won the Giro d’Italia in 2001 and 2003. As well as being a consummate climber and stage race specialist, he picked up stage wins in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. After establishing himself as one of the leading names in stage races in the 2000s, he ended his competitive career in mountain bike racing.
At just 23 years of age, Maurizio Fondriest won the 1988 Road World Championships in Ronse, Belgium. Originally from Cles in the Val di Non, he was a one-day race specialist with wins to his name in events such as Milan-Sanremo, La Flèche Wallonne and Züri-Metzgete. 1993 was the most successful season of his career: he claimed 25 victories and won the Road World Cup for the second time (the first was in 1991). Considered one of the greatest talents of his generation, he is a selfless and versatile athlete who now competes in masters ski mountaineering events.
Gianni Moscon e Letizia Partenoster
Gianni Moscon and Letizia Paternoster are two more big names from the Val di Non.
Gianni Moscon is one of the most promising athletes on the Italian cycling scene. He turned professional in 2016 and won the Time Trial at the Italian National Road Championships in both 2017 and 2018. He dreams of winning Paris-Roubaix or one of the other Monuments in northern Europe, which are ideally suited to his characteristics because he sets a good pace on the flat, is strong on pavé and is also an explosive climber.
Letizia Paternoster is a road and track cyclist from Revò who has been very successful in Junior and U23 races in recent seasons. She is a member of the Italian national team pursuit quartet and is considered a big medal hope for the omnium at the Tokyo Olympics. After winning numerous Italian and European junior championships, in 2019 she claimed the U23 title at the European Championships, underlining her status as one of the most versatile and promising Italian prospects for the years to come. Her wins on the road and the track make her a hugely inspirational figure for both male and female junior cyclists everywhere.
Matteo Trentin, Daniel Oss e Cesare Benedetti
Meanwhile, the Valsugana produced two cyclists who have been in the professional ranks for many years: Matteo Trentin from Borgo Valsugana and Daniel Oss from Pergine. One of the most combative riders in the peloton, Trentin chases down stage wins and is a one-day race specialist. He has won Paris-Tours twice, one stage in the Giro d’Italia, three in the Tour de France and four in the Vuelta a España, as well as the European Road Championships in 2018 and the silver medal at the Road World Championships in 2019. Daniel Oss is a one-day classic specialist who has taken part in the Tour de France eight times and the Giro d’Italia three times. He can maintain high speeds for long periods of time and is an accomplished time trialist. He won the team time trial with BMC Racing Team at the Road World Championships in both 2014 and 2015.
Cesare Benedetti of Rovereto is another outstanding racer who supports exceptional leaders. He turned professional in 2010 and played a starring role in one of the most exciting stages of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, which went from Cuneo to Pinerolo and saw him deservedly claim his first ever win in the race.
It is no surprise that Trentino has produced so many big names in cycling. The widespread passion for the sport could almost be called part of the culture and the highly varied shape of the land means that superb routes can be found here for all kinds of training. This applies to those with a speed-oriented approach and especially to cyclists who want to enhance their climbing skills. Now that you have learned about the greats, it is your turn. We have selected and put together a guide to the best, most legendary climbs: follow unforgettable routes that have witnessed spectacular cycling feats and try to beat your own, personal record.