The Italian champion brings a significant amount for the construction of the Sagrada Familia
“One such Bartali, who seems to be cyclist, has given a major donation. Now you pluck hard. ” Eusebio Güell de Sentmenat, grandson of the patron of Antoni Gaudí, recounts the scene that he lived in his early twenties and his father, then treasurer of the construction of the Sagrada Familia, became excited home. “At that time the building of the temple was a constant struggle, there was much opposition to that end, including architects,” Guell explains, “and everything depended on donations, which were insufficient. My father did not understand sport, but I knew that I was a good follower of cycling, and explained the donation Bartali excited. ”
But how he brought the flying monk recognized Catholic who used to offer their victories to the Pope? Eusebio Guell explains: “I do not remember exactly how much, but I think it was something like a hundred thousand pesetas, a fabulous figure, undoubtedly an important contribution that made exclaim to my father that this helps the Sagrada Familia experience a turning momentum. ”
Guell estimated that everything must have happened around 1950 and assumes that Bartali had to go through Barcelona “for a career or as a tourist,” and certainly as a pious man who was visited the temple of Gaudí. “He wanted to work and did live up to their potential and their faith, certainly,” he explains.
Bartali, winner of three editions of the Giro d’Italia and Tour two of these separated by ten years (a feat no one has matched), is a legend in Italy. But not only for his sporting achievements, but also for other personal actions that have crossed borders.
In July 1948 the Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti was the victim of an attack, shot in the neck, and hovered between life and death. Bartali, who was in the Tour, received a distress call from the prime minister, Alcide de Gasperi, old friend of Catholic Action. “Gino, help us, Italy is on the brink of insurrection, only say the feat would help us a lot.”
The next day, under a snowfall, the Tour was facing the Alps. Bartali accused a delay of about 20 minutes Louison Bobet. Cannes to Briancon, the Izoard, the Italian prevailed and the news was full and tumultuous meeting of the Chamber of Deputies. In moments of great confusion a voice rose: “Bartali has conquered the stage and is the new leader.”
The next day, in Aix-les-Bains, he won again. On the third day in Lausanne again. Leader Tour lead and practically in his pocket. As explained years later Giulio Andreotti, “say the civil war by a victory in the Tour de France is definitely avoided excessive, but certainly Bartali helped ease tensions.” When Togliatti awoke after surgery on his skull his first words were: “What did Bartali?”.
But still they had to discover more amazing stories of the Florentine rider. The latest, three years after his death, through historical research that revealed the Corriere della Sera. Gino Bartali was part of a network in the region of Pisa who saved more than 800 Jews from deportation between 1943 and 1944. He walked the roads of Tuscany in their training and worked with a Jewish accounting of Pisa,
Giorgio Nissim, next to several priests and nuns.
Bartali carrying, hidden in the picture of your bike, photos and documents that were used to produce identity cards. He deposited them in convents, where they had a clandestine press. In 2003, following the discovery of these acts of war, his son Andrea said: “My father never talked about what he did in those years. He said only that in life there are things that are done and just “.
Even without direct intervention came to save lives. In 1943 Antonio Davitti a guard on the island of Elba, was deported to Dachau. A German officer knew of his Tuscan home and asked him if he knew Bartali. Davitti took from his wallet a photo dedicated cyclist. “Give it to me and prepares a list of twenty prisoners, not regret.” Four days later the elected left the camp to be moved to a factory. They had saved his life.
The sporting decline coincided with the glory Bartali and Fausto Coppi, with whom he had epic duels. Coppi Bartali godly against the libertine. Their collaboration to spend a full bottle of water in ascension is a graphic icon of the sport.
A late fifties they shared in the RAI television shows. They even sang a duet with ironic tone. Gino “Ed io ripenso to quel lontano / le lotte nostre sui sui monti and piano / e sulle Alpi … coperte of nevi tempo” and tore Fausto replied: “… come perdevi, eat perdevi” (how you lost).
In September 2013 Israel Bartali named Righteous among the Nations, a booth who helped Jews during the world war recognition.
Courtesy Car Service Barcelona