RE: [CR]Vittorio Gianni - now Santini?


Example: Framebuilding:Restoration

From: "Jan Johnson" <picabo58@earthlink.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: RE: [CR]Vittorio Gianni - now Santini?
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2005 18:14:12 -0800
In-Reply-To: <27097.1131652285@www2.gmx.net>


Kim, The company name was Vittore Gianni. During the 1983 World Road and Track Cycling Championships in Switzerland (we watched a very young Greg LeMond win the Pro Road Race), Peter and I hopped a train from Zurich to Lugano, then slipped into our wool cycling kits and rode the remaining 70 or so km. into Milano on our matching PJ bikes. It was equally difficult and thrilling, riding through Milan's real rush-hour traffic, and finding our way to Via Proccacini 23. Hidden behind a massive wooden gate was the modern showroom and factory of Vittore Gianni.

Once inside - mamma mia! - it was like being in a candy store and we had unlimited funds to buy as many treats as we wanted. The U.S. dollar was quite strong in '83 and I think $100 bought several wool jerseys and shorts. We didn't stop there: we also loaded up on the two piece track suits, long wool tights, and a whole slew of long-sleeve jerseys. It was magical. I still remember the look on the beautiful salesgirl's face when we just kept piling more and more garments on the counter. She carefully wrapped everything into two equal bundles with thick moth-proof kraft paper and tied them with twine. We lashed the bundles to our Karradice seat bags and rode to the Milan train station and caught the next train to Lugano. The entire way back we tried on all the clothing and breathed in its luscious heavenly scent.

Here's a little bio from the Castelli website:

There are people and families in the world of sports, of cycle racing in particular, that have made history. Men who marked an era like Armando Castelli and his son Maurizio. This extraordinary story begins with an important brand name in international cycling, "Vittore Gianni", born in 1876 as a small clothing company. Armando Castelli entered the business in the '30s. At the same time racing bicycles were born.

In 1932 Vittore Gianni supplies clothing to the Los Angeles gymnastic federation and in '36 designs the first pair of shorts for Gino Bartali. In the mean time the first track suits were born, but were not used by cyclist until after the war. When Coppi suggested the idea of tights to Castelli they become a world wide fashion.

In 1948 Armando Castelli buys out Vittore Gianni. Ownership changes but the brand name remains and the story begins: Anquetil, Van Looy, Moilenaers, Bahamontes, Merckx, Baldini, Moser, Magni, Roger Riviere...

At the beginning of the Sixties the body suit was born. It was requested by Anquetil, who complained to Armando Castelli that the silk that he wore to race, flapping about, created too much friction causing him to loose precious seconds. With great patience Anquetil lets Armando practically sew the suit on him. He wins the Tour de France with this innovative outfit; the same type that Merckx wears when he breaks the one hour record in 1969 in Mexico City. The "corpetto", as it was called then, was made of silk and weigh only 85 grams. At least, that's what rumours say. Probably the jersey weighed only 85 grams with the total weight not being more then 200 grams.

In 1974 under the sign of the Scorpion, Castelli Sport is born. Maurizio Castelli commercialized the first Lycra short in cycling, doing away the traditional wool. Moreover, he made sensation with the new look of Argentin at the world championships of 1986, because of the Champion of the World jersey with the stripes redesigned in pastel. In some cases like the "Tirreno-Adriatica" or even on the Tour de France jersey, Maurizio managed to have the jerseys designed by notable artists such as Mario Schifano.

March 1995: Maurizio Castelli tragically dies in a bicycles accident. The world of cycling endures an irreparable emptiness. But the Scorpione doesn't stop, the myth continues through an historical and evolutionary journey in cycling apparel until...

...May 2003: CST Spa is born, exclusive licence for Europe and Asia of the historical brand of Scorpione. And the story continues...

Jan Johnson
Portola Valley
Northern California
USA