Watch: Lion Man — Gino Bartali: The war years

The new documentary from Laurens ten Dam's Live Slow Ride Fast media sets out to explore the lasting legacy of the Italian cyclist and war hero.

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Gino Bartali’s legacy endures far beyond his three Giro d’Italia and two Tour de France victories.

The decorated Italian cyclist was also a war hero, yet that chapter in his life wasn’t documented until after he died in 2000.

While ‘training’ on the strade bianche between Florence and Assisi during the Second World War, Bartali was also delivering messages to and from Jewish refugees who were hiding along the route. His fame precluded him from being stopped by the authorities. It was documented that in 1943 Bartali led Jewish refugees towards the Swiss Alps himself, pulling a wagon with a secret compartment behind his bicycle and telling patrols it was part of his training.

Ever humble, Bartali is quoted as saying, “good is something you do, not something you talk about. Some medals are pinned to your soul, not to your jacket”

In a new documentary film from Live Slow Ride Fast, Laurens ten Dam’s multi-media company, the ex-WorldTour rider and media director Stefan Bolt set out to uncover more layers of Bartali’s legacy. The two immerse themselves in the Italy of now and then, on a quest to find out more about Bartali. They ride Bartali’s smuggling route between Florence and Assisi, passing world-famous cities and sleepy towns, visiting quaint bars and osterias, and enjoy lakes, hills, and the white roads of Umbria and Tuscany.

Looking, as they say, for answers and adventure.

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