In the spring of 2012, Giuseppe Marinoni found himself a bit incredulous when his son told him the one-hour record for the 75-79 age group at the time. It was 33 km. “I said ‘33?'” recalls the elder Marinoni. “I could do more than that easily—33.”
The founder of Montreal’s Marinoni Cycles comes by his confidence honestly. Born in the province of Bergamo, Italy, roughly 40 km north of Milan, on Sept. 30, 1937, Marinoni raced as a young man. He was the champion of the Lombardy region in 1958. He also raced pursuit on the track. After coming to Canada in 1965, he continued to compete. He rode in the Tour of St. Laurent in 1965. He won Quebec-Montreal two times, in 1966 and 1968. He also competed in six-day races on the track. “I was Mr. Cyclist in Quebec for 1967, 1968 and 1969,” he says. Today, at 75, he averages 300 km per week, riding almost every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning. It seems he still is Mr. Cyclist.
To prepare for his record attempt, Marinoni headed first to the velodrome in Bromont, Que. He made three attempts and averaged 34.4 km. “There were big winds at the time,” Marinoni says. “I thought I could do more in Italy in better conditions.” His training runs at the covered Montichiari Velodrome in Brescia, Italy confirmed his suspicions. He averaged 36.3 km.
The bike that Marinoni selected for the record attempt had his name on the frame. He picked it partly because it was a traditional steel-frame track bike that met the requirements for the UCI-regulated record. (In 2000, the UCI restricted the equipment for the one-hour record to gear that resembled that used by Eddy Merckx in his record-setting ride in 1972.) Marinoni’s bike already had some history attached to it. The frame builder made the machine for Jocelyn Lovell in 1978. On this bike, Lovell won three gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton and silver at the 1978 road world championships in Nürburg, West Germany.
On Oct. 20, 2012, Marinoni went to the Montichiari track to warm up. He prepared for half an hour and then was ready to race the clock. However, the doctor who needed to be onsite to administer the drug test was held up at a hospital. Marinoni had to wait for an extra 35 minutes, during which he cooled down and also grew a bit more nervous. He admits that the ride didn’t go as well as he had hoped, but he is still pleased with his record-breaking 35.728-km ride. The figure was finally registered by the UCI in mid-November, after the drug test cleared.
“My next project is at 80,” Marinoni says referring to the age that puts him into a new category for the onehour record. “And, I hope it will be at a covered track in Canada.”