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Gianni Bugno

A Man, The Champion in Destiny

The story of life, career...of the phoenix arab

Gianni Bugno's life story is a dense, full, at times, sportingly roller coaster...there would be so many things and anecdotes to tell, to report for posterity but two in particular define, in his cycling, the man and the athlete Bugno.

Someone, however, sees something different, something special in this guy who pedals without caring about his opponents, who looks no one in the face by sticking to his saddle no matter what happens.

This someone is Benito Volpes. The patron of Di Lorenzo Canova Case.  

But how to convince this guy, this thoroughbred horse to become a professional casually even rule-abiding? He thinks about it and comes up with one: he tells him "do this race, if you win you go to the pros."

It's a challenge, the only possible "bait" for someone who has the DNA of the champion outside the lines....

Gianni takes his bike, gets on the train, does the race, wins it and rides the same train again.

A bet between two players who take it only when the odds are in their favor, when they are confident in their means and instincts. A bet that will prove to be a winner for both of them.

That same year he makes the leap and passes with patron Cribioli's Alfa-Omega.

Years go by and Bugno wins practically everything, not hundreds of races, he only "indulges" in the ones that count, in the ones where his name remains written in history and there when he doesn't win he comes second, road races, one-day races, time trials, climbs or time trials he is always the man to beat when it counts...

he is a Paganini of cycling....

he hardly concedes twice.

This is 1992 in Benidorm, wearing the World Champion's jersey.

And here we are at the second, the turning point that consecrates him definitively in the Olympus of this sport.

It is 1992, a strange year, he is reigning World Champion, he has not participated in the Giro d'Italia, his team wants to play the Tour card, a Tour that he will not win because of a cursed stage but even the children of the gods, in Greek mythology fall only to rise again as a novel phoenix Arabian.

We are in Benidorm, Bugno, despite being the reigning world champion is not among the favorites in fact he is beginning, on one side of that world, to be considered in real decline, the leading favorite is the Frenchman Jalabert, Gianni does not seem to be in good shape, he is listless to the point of introversion, it seems almost as if he has to participate of duty.

What, those who don't know him don't know, is that this is the real challenge: winning where it counts when others don't expect it, winning where only thoroughbreds can do it.

The race starts and goes on as always, skirmishes and the group thinning as the laps pass, and as the laps pass the air changes, the perception of things changes...his companions notice...

Gianni's pedaling is firm, strong, compact but loose, he stares straight ahead without ever turning his head

as if he were running alone...they begin to understand that that turn is there to win and square around him....

they have to take him on his directorate....

his seasonal teammate, the Frenchman Fignon, also understands this,

the champion who serves as his wingman during the year (yes, Gianni has champions as wingmen because he is Bugno )...

we are three laps from the end, Fignon approaches Jalabert and says to him.

" Laurent if you want to try to win you have to stay on Bugno's wheel....

I know him and I know how he pedals, he is the favorite today."

Jalabert doesn't take it back and sticks to Gianni's wheel for the remaining laps.

He looks at him, tries to catch a moment's relenting but Gianni pedals attached to his saddle without deigning any glance,

it seems he does not even sweat.

We are at the last lap, at the last kilometer...the blue train takes him up to his 200 meters, to his sprint and he takes off...he starts a seamless 80 mph sprint... now he is on another planet and the others, even Jalabert can only manage to stay on his second wheel and everyone, his teammates and opponents, the audience at the barriers and the one in front of the telescreens, understand at once that that victory, the victory of destiny is his and so it will be...the phoenix has risen from its ashes...never underestimate, the pride, the strength, the heart of a champion!

He would stop racing as a professional a few years later giving, in the meantime other paws that remained in the primary racing records but his place in Olympus he had already reached and from there no one would ever take him away.

He would stop flying on the pedals but would continue to do so on a helicopter

because that was and always would be his spirit....

because this is the man Gianni Bugno!

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