Inductee

Joseph Magnani

Inducted in 1998 for Veteran Road & Track Competitor (Pre-1945)

Honors

  • ~1935 - Grand Prix Waldorf, Nice :: 1st
  • 1935 - Marseille-Nice :: 1st
  • 1936 - Boucles du Sospel :: 4th
  • 1936 - 5th Nice-Toulon-Nice :: 5th
  • 1936 - Circuit du Mont Blanc :: 6th
  • 1936 - Circuit du Midi :: 9th
  • 1936 - Marseille-Nice :: 10th
  • 1936 - Tour du Vaucluse :: 10th
  • 1936 - Tour of Switzerland :: 18th
  • 1936 - Grand Prix des Nations :: 18th
  • 1936 - Paris-Nice :: 19th
  • ~1937 - Grand Prix d'Antibes :: 2nd
  • 1937 - Nice-Toulon-Nice :: 4th
  • 1937 - Circuit du Bouronnais :: 6th
  • 1937 - Tour of Switzerland :: 22nd
  • 1937 - Milan-San Remo :: 22nd
  • 1937 - Paris-Nice :: 24th
  • ~1938 - Marseille-Toulon-Marseille :: 1st
  • 1938 - Circuit de Lourdes :: 1st
  • ~1938 - Tour de l'Est Central :: 2nd
  • 1938 - Tour du Sud-Est :: 6th
  • 1938 - Tour du Vaucluse :: 7th
  • 1938 - Grand Prix de Cannes :: 8th
  • 1938 - Paris-Nice :: 9th
  • 1938 - Milan-San Remo :: 29th
  • ~1939 - Lyon-St. Etienne :: 1st
  • 1939 - Tour du Vaucluse :: 6th
  • 1939 - Tour du Sud-Est :: 7th
  • 1939 - Circuit des Maures in Toulon :: 7th
  • 1939 - Marseille-Lyon :: 14th
  • ~1940 - Tour de Porto Allegre :: 1st
  • 1940 - Grand Prix d'Antibes :: 2nd
  • 1940 - Grand Prix de l'Eclaireur de Nice :: 6th
  • 1941 - 4th Circuit du Mont Ventoux :: 4th
  • 1941 - 4th Tour de Correze :: 4th
  • 1941 - 9th Grand Prix d'Industrie du Cycle :: 9th
  • 1941 - 9th Vichy-Limoges :: 9th
  • 1941 - 10th Grand Prix des Nations (time trial) :: 10th
  • 1941 - 10th Criterium du Midi :: 10th
  • 1942 - Four Days of the Route :: 2nd
  • 1942 - Grand Prix de la Haute Savoie :: 2nd
  • 1942 - St. Junien :: 2nd
  • 1942 - Course de Cote du Mont Agel :: 4th
  • 1942 - Grand Prix Pneumatique :: 5th
  • 1942 - Grand Prix des Nations (time trial) :: 6th
  • 1942 - Grand Prix de l'Industrie du Cycle :: 7th
  • 1942 - Grand Prix de la Fete Federale a Carcassone :: 7th
  • 1942 - Circuit des Villes d'Eaux d'Auvergne :: 8th
  • 1942 - Grand Prix de Provence :: 10th
  • 1943 - Grand Prix de Bergerac :: 3rd
  • 1943 - St. Etienne-Lyon :: 13th
  • 1945 - Criterium du Routier Complet :: 4th
  • 1945 - Dijon-Lyon :: 5th
  • 1945 - Circuit des Ville d'Eaux d'Auvergne :: 5th
  • 1945 - Grand Prix de Lyon :: 5th
  • 1945 - Criterium du Limousin :: 7th
  • 1945 - Grand Prix Pneumatique :: 7th
  • 1945 - Circuit de l'Humanite :: 7th
  • 1945 - Criterium du Midi :: 8th
  • 1945 - Marseille-Nice :: 8th
  • 1945 - Paris-Limoges :: 11th
  • 1945 - Paris-Reims :: 13th
  • 1945 - Grand Prix des Nations (time trial) :: 15th
  • 1945 - Paris-Tours :: 34th
  • 1946 - St. Gere :: 1st
  • ~1946 - Villefrance-Rouergue :: 1st
  • 1946 - Firmy :: 1st
  • 1946 - Grenoble-Gap-Grenoble :: 2nd
  • 1946 - Circuit des Alpes :: 2nd
  • 1946 - St. Etienne-Montceau :: 5th
  • 1946 - Grand Prix de Cannes :: 9th
  • 1946 - Armagnac-Paris :: 10th
  • 1946 - Paris-Vimoutiers :: 11th
  • 1946 - Tour of Switzerland :: 23rd
  • 1947 - Tour du Lac Leman :: 3rd
  • 1947 - World Championships Road Race :: 7th
  • 1947 - Tour of Switzerland :: 17th
  • 1947 - Tour of Romandie :: 19th

Biography

From the era when European road racers wore a spare tire in a figure eight over their back and through their arms, Joseph Magnani holds the distinction as the only U.S. racer to compete against Italian legends Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. Magnani was born in the central Illinois town of LaSalle and grew up in Mount Clare. He earned the reputation as one of his generation’s best riders from 1935 to 1948 on French and Italian pro teams.

Magnani established a name for himself when he won the 1935 race from Marseille to Nice in southern France, a regional classic previously won by Italy’s world champion Alfredo Binda. Magnani made a bold break in the final kilometers after seven hours of racing. In 1938 he scored victory in the 149-mile Marseille-Toulon race, followed by the two-day Circuit of Lourdes. He set the Nice Velodrome hour record, pedaling 42 kilometers. The next year he rode in the week-long Paris-Nice stage race, finishing ninth overall.

He was 28 in 1940 when he won a stage of the Grand Prix de la Côte d’Azur, where he posed for a celebratory photo with his fiancé, Mimi. The couple married at the end of the 1941 season. By then politics intervened and the German army invaded France. Magnani was arrested by the Gestapo in February 1942 and confined in a concentration camp in northern France. He stood 5-11, and his weight dropped from 170 pounds to 98 pounds. After U.S. and British troops launched the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and liberated Paris, Magnani and others were set free. He reunited his wife after two years of captivity. Their son Rudy was born in 1945.

Italian star and world-hour record holder Guiseppe Olmo formed a pro team and hired Magnani to ride for his Olmo squad in the 1946 Giro d’Italia, making Magnani the first U.S. rider to compete in a Grand Tour. He rode support for the team leader, who wore the coveted pink jersey of race leader until Magnani suffered a hard fall and had to withdraw.

Magnani rode in the Tour of Switzerland, and in the 1947 world championship road race in Reims, France, he scored a seventh-place finish. The next year he retired from racing and went to work for the Schwinn bicycle company in Chicago.


(Courtesy - Peter Joffre Nye)

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