Eight Tour de France victories in ten years!
Pinarello Firsts ~
The Pinarello passion for cycling began around 1940 when Giovanni Pinarello started his racing career. By 1947, Giovanni had won over sixty titles as an amateur and turned professional. He raced until 1953 with five pro wins to his credit. By this time, Giovanni Pinarello had become involved with building bicycles. By the end of the 1940’s, Giovanni was building bicycles at the workshop of Paglianti. In fact, Giovanni’s cousin Alessandro had already been building bicycles as far back as 1922 and was given a gold medal and diploma at the prestigious Milan Bicycle Fair of 1925. In 1952, in order to make room for an up and coming new racing star, Pasqualino Fornara, Giovanni’s sponsor, Bottechia, offered him 100,000 lire to hang up his cleats and build full time. This allowed Giovanni to begin manufacture of Pinarello bikes and become involved in the world of team sponsorship. By 1957, Pinarello bikes were competing at Italy's national level. By 1960 they were in regular use professionally. Pinarello bikes had their first international victory by Guido de Rosso in the 1966 Tour d’Avenir. By the mid-1970’s the top Jolly Ceramica team was riding Pinarellos and the bikes were becoming very well known.
In 1980, Pinarello affiliated itself with Inoxpran, an experienced team captained by Giovanni Battaglin. This was the first time the Pinarello logo was seen on a team jersey as official sponsor. In 1981, this highly successful pro team captured two top victories in international racing – the Vuelta di Spagna and the Giro d’Italia. A further boost to Pinarello came in 1984 when an American cyclist, Alexi Grewal, won the Olympic gold medal in the road race. By 1988 Pinarello stood atop the podium at the prestigious Tour de France with Pedro Delgado’s victory for the Reynolds team. This team later became the Banesto team which twice won the Giro d’Italia and had five consecutive Tour de France victories with Miguel Indurain. During this period, there were also many victories for important Italian teams such as Del Tongo from 1988 to 1991 and Mercatone Uno from 1992 to 1995. After Miguel Indurain became the first person in history to win the Tour de France in five consecutive years there was a sixth consecutive Pinarello victory as Bjarne Riis of Telekom took the 1996 Tour podium and 1997 made the seventh consecutive victory as Jan Ullrich won the Tour, making eight Tour de France victories in only ten years!
Pinarello’s nearly countless victories continued with Telekom, Banesto, Fassa Bortolo, Acca Due, Prime Alliance and others riding the now legendary Pinarello frames. These recent successes are largely due to the high-tech and experimental bikes made for these top pro teams. Indurain’s time-trial machines of the early 1990’s were quite exotic and very aerodynamic for the era. Innovation continues with the current Montello time trial bike used by the top sponsored riders today. The Opera frame started the current trend of carbon-fiber rear seatstay assemblies used on nearly all professional machines today. The Dogma is the first magnesium tubed bicycle built for serious professional use and has garnered many victories under such riders as Alessanro Petacchi.
At the start of the 21st century, Pinarello introduced a new line of bicycles – Opera. These extremely high-tech bikes take advantage of recent technological advances not yet used in the Pinarello line such as carbon fiber in the Leonardo and titanium in the Palladio. There is also a model of Easton Scandium with carbon, the Giorgione. These frames were raced successfully during the 2003 season by the Fakta team and for 2004 the Illes-Balears-Banesto team, the latest incarnation of the old Banesto team, is taking Pinarello to new heights.