Gino Bartali. Cycling hero. It wasn’t until after his death, he turned out to be a war hero too. He rarely talked about the sacrifice he had made. Very few people knew he had smuggled fake IDs for Jewish Italiens, hidden in the space of his bicycle frame. Between Florence and Assisi he completed his ‘training’ on the white roads, day in, day out, putting himself in danger.
Shimano GRX ambassadors Laurens ten Dam and Stefan Bolt were immediately drawn to the idea of making a cycling documentary about this fascinating story. In LION MAN | Gino Bartali - the war years, they explore the smugglers route of Gino and immerse themselves in the Italy of now and then, searching for answers from those who knew him well. Answers and adventure.
The men savour everything this region has to offer, visiting quaint little bars and ‘osterias’ along the way. Starting in the famous city of Florence, they follow the dusty off-road track to Assisi, passing sleepy towns. Not riding the Bartali Legnano without gearing, but their state-of-the-art GRX groupset. At least, that was the plan. It would not be a real cycling adventure, if they didn't have to face a technical challenge too, which forces them to switch plans accordingly. After an exciting ride of almost 200 kilometers, they finish in style, in front of the Basilica San Damiano of Assisi, the place where Gino Bartali would deliver the fake documents.
The beautiful hilly landscape of Umbria and Tuscany is the decor in this off-roadmovie, that, apart from being a sincere tribute to the brave man Gino Bartali was, brings you those much needed summer bike holiday vibes.