Farewell to Vittorio Adorni. The first cyclist

Cyclist, journalist, presenter.
At 85 he passed away Vittorio Adorni: winner of Tour of Italy 1965 and World Champion at Imola in 1968 with an epic escape that started when the finish line was 235 km away.

Polite and elegant. Precise and essential. Stubborn and spectacular. Person and television personality thanks to the intuition of the great Sergio Zavoli who considered it “the emblem of the modern runner”.

Vittorio Adorni is and will always remain the first technical commentator in the history of Rai. One of those who at the turn of the 60s and 70s aroused the interest (and envy) of the media from all over the world because of those bicycle interviews in the belly of the group.

Vittorio Adorni, Multifaceted champion. Technical commentator, variety and public relations man (role covered for Campagnolo) able to dispel the stereotype of the proletarian and benevolently ignorant cyclist.
HERE an interview with Pier Paolo Pasolini.

For Rai, not only the recordings in Processo alla Tappa or in the commentary next to Adriano De Zanbut also the management of Hello Mom (photo below).
A program that starts from the first words pronounced by Fausto Coppi after the victory at the Milan-Sanremo in 1946: «I’m happy to have won. Hello Mom”.

Vittorio Adorni

The one-month disqualification for a non-negativity to an anti-doping control on the occasion of the 1968 Giro di Sardegna, the years as sporting director, the career as an insurer in his native Parma and from 9 May 1979 officially Journalist.

Here are some excerpts from the Lectio doctoralis proclaimed by Vittorio Adorni at the University of Parma on 18 May 2015 on the occasion of the conferment ceremony of the Honorary master’s degree in Sciences and techniques of motor activities.

Vittorio Adorni
Photo: Massimo Paolone / LaPresse

«At that time, the two authors of Pippo Baudo’s television programs came to my house. Since I’m inactive, they offer me to be the presenter of a program called “Ciao mamma” which was a parody of those runners who at the end of the race said goodbye with a phrase that later became a sort of refrain: “Ciao mamma, I’m happy to come first”. If not “someone has arrived” as someone had said».

«I asked for time and telephoned Zavoli and Pippo Baudo. They both answered me: “Accept, then we’ll see”. Sergio Zavoli, creator and presenter of Processo alla stage at the Giro d’Italia, has certainly been instrumental in my career. He had given me the opportunity to highlight myself, that there were people who were different from the classic runner, the one who stumbled in front of the microphone or the small screen at the finish line and could only say trivial phrases ».

Vittorio Adorni

«Zavoli, also interviewing me while running, extending the microphone, made me enter people’s houses, made me known as a runner but also for my correct dialectic. He taught me how to manage discussion, debate. I owe him that popularity that went beyond cycling successes also because at the time there was only state television so everyone watched it, like it or not».

Vittorio Adorni

«The Giro d’Italia and the Tour were two appointments that sportsmen did not desert. After all, Zavoli was a true master and almost every day, upon arrival, he made me participate in the general commentary, discussing what had happened in the race, even making me answer questions from the journalists. People still remember that “after stage”, I meet people of a certain age who talk to me about it with nostalgia».

Photo: Gian Mattia D’Alberto / LaPresse

«So I signed the contract: the broadcast would have started in June but in the meantime I was training to face the Giro d’Italia. As “training” I participate in the Tour of Spain, I work hard to conquer fifth place. He won Gimondi. At the Giro I was in the Faema team with Eddy Merckx who hadn’t yet won a major race but was a veteran of the world championship won the year before».

«I ran to his side, thus being able to admire a great champion who won the Giro, honoring me with his friendship. I arrived behind him: being roommates, we represented a truly unusual couple, first and second! In mid-June I began to attend the Rai studios in Milan for the “Ciao Mamma” show, I felt a little uncomfortable but they said I was fine”.

Photo: Gian Mattia D’Alberto / LaPresse

«While I was a presenter, I won the World Championship at Imola with a solitary breakaway, finishing ten minutes ahead of the second. More nobody managed to do it. The escape that took me to the finish line began 235 km from the finish: there were seven of us and we all went together up to ninety km from the finish. At that point, no climb of the Tre Monti above the Imola racetrack, I detached my fellow adventurers and raced towards the overall title. On the straight at the Autodrome they recorded me a lead of 9’50” over Van Springel and 10’18” over Michele Dancelli».

Vittorio Adorni
Vittorio Adori with Chris Froome. Photo: Massimo Paolone / LaPresse

«Mine was a double success: on the bicycle and on television, I was also “discovered” by foreign newspapers and in fact it was an unusual thing for a television presenter to also win the world title. A great satisfaction. Also because in the various broadcasts I was able to meet and associate with characters such as Mina, Milva, Morandi, Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Dallara, Celentano and then Sordi, Tognazzi, Vianello and the ineffable Villaggio. And then characters like Paul VI, John Paul II, Saragat, Pertini, Cossiga, Scalfaro, the Canadian premier Trudeau, Prince Ranieri and Grace Kelly, all sports enthusiasts, and again Andreotti, Craxi, above all… King Umberto».

Vittorio Adorni

Hello Victor!

Opening photo: Massimo Paolone / LaPresse

Farewell to Vittorio Adorni. The first cyclist-journalist – BiciDaStrada