I truly hate having to correct Jan's posts, but given his oft-stated desire for accuracy, I know that he, more than most of us, is all too happy to get things straightened out.
> Coppi used Simplex in 1949.
This is mostly true. Coppi apparently won the tour with Simplex, but there are plenty of photos from 1949 that show Coppi riding bikes equipped with a Campagnolo cambio corsa. I can't tell whether these photos were from early or late in the season, or perhaps even during the Tour itself. Campagnolo also advertised that Coppi won some 1949 Tour awards using Campagnolo, so who knows exactly?
> Vittoria Marguerita is the one he loved, according to the Dancing
> Chain and others. He bought stock in the company, or a partnership,
> or something similar.
The gear is not Vittoria Marguerita but Vittoria Margherita with an 'H' not a 'U'. Furthermore, the gear system that he used in 1949 (as I had already stated prior to Jan's post) was a Cervino, so therefore neither a Margherita, nor even made by Vittoria. (By the way, if you want to see an actual photo of a Cervino gear, let me know) Cervino was an independant company that was co-owned by Bartali and Tommaso Gnieddu. Amedeo and Tommaso Gnieddu had jointly owned and run Vittoria before the end of WWII, but there were no corporate ties between Cervino and Vittoria. As far as Bartali loving the Vittoria Margherita, I truly doubt this. I base this on a number of points. It can be said that he used the VM gear system during his first Tour win in 1938, he did not however use it for his second Tour win in 1948, where he used a Campagnolo Corsa. He was also always claimed by all the media to be the most adept user ever of the cambio corsa; hardly what you would expect from somebody enamored of another derailleur. Lastly, Jan misquotes 'The Dancing Chain', as it actually says that he became enamored with the Cervino derailleur and not the VM.
As to the article in the VBQ that Jan quotes, I can't comment, as I haven't read it.
(not an editor of anything as I am still not sufficiently knowledgeable)