Born in Forlì, Italy on July 27, 1913 Glauco Servadei remains one of the leading figures in the cycling-mad Emilia-Romagna region of North-East Italy.
He was a long-limbed and extremely powerful athlete – of the generation whose careers were disrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War (though racing did continue through much of the war).
He was an exceptional all-rounder, with a good sprint and the power to do well on the climbs. This was in the days when gear ratios put hairs on your chest!
He had a distinguished career as a junior and amateur, winning more than 60 races. Before turning professional in 1937 he had won the Italian Cup, two stages of the Tour of Hungary and the Giro dell’Emilia. He also placed 4th with his teammates in the 100Km road race at the 1936 Olympics. This was in the days when Olympic sport was fully amateur, remember.
Having turned pro in 1937, and despite the ongoing conflict, Servadei managed to conquer 6 stages of the Giro d’Italia, wearing the Maglia Rosa in 1943, the Giro della Provincia di Milano, the G.P. Di Roma in 1943, the Coppa Bernocchi and the Milano-Mantova in 1942 and the Italian national TT Championship.
Amongst his second-place finishes were 10 stages of the Giro, 3 in the 1938 Tour de France alone, twice overall in the Tour of Tuscany, once in Milan-San Remo and the Italian National Championships of 1945.
He competed with the Ganna team, la Gloria, then Bianchi alongside Coppi from 1941-1947 and finished his career with Visconti in 1948-49.
Upon retirement, he returned to his native Forli and opened the Cicli Servadei shop which still bears his name and is now run by his grandson.
You can see my rather beautiful Servadei Cambio Corsa bike here.
In 1980, the Municipality of Forli named their velodrome in his honour – a fitting tribute to a fine rider who made a name for himself in a difficult era.