THE HISTORY OF AMORE&VITA
Established by Lorenzo Fanini in 1948 under the name G.S. Fanini, Amore&Vita is, at present, the operating professional cycling team with the oldest tradition. Throughout its history, it has won around 7,000 competitions, among which 12 World Championships and 65 National Championships (both in Italy and in other countries), in addition to having enrolled almost 4,000 athletes, hundreds of whom have been successfully launched in the world of professional cycling. Champions the likes of of Mario Cipollini, Michele Bartoli, Andrea Tafi, Rolf Sorensen, Alessio Di Basco and Glenn Magnusson have been personally discovered and launched by the Commendatore Ivano Fanini. The latter has also relaunched other great champions, who won several grand prix across the world wearing the colours of his team. Some of them are the winner of the Giro d’Italia race, Franco Chioccioli, the three-time Italian champion and winner of the Milano-Sanremo race, Pierino Gavazzi, and the conqueror of classic races, among which the Giro di Lombardia, Gian Battista Baronchelli, to name only a few.
In the mid-70s, Ivano Fanini felt amateur cycling confining. He had always been a dreamer, and he aimed to see the Fanini team among the professional ones. He thus started to travel around the world looking for talented cyclists on whom nobody would bet. He took to Italy athletes from Argentina, Venezuela, Australia, America, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom and even Africa. He tried to bet on those countries that had developed no cycling culture up until that moment and which nobody had tried to test yet. In this way, his dream slowly began to come true. His first professional cyclist was Olimpio Paolinelli. He started to take part in the most important races as an independent cyclist in the maximum category, wearing Fanini’s blue and white jersey and riding his bike, which was made, back then, from the Alan frames by “Master” Lorenzo, the founder of the family. Olimpio clashed with cycling idols such as Merckx, Gimondi, and many more, and he was always personally accompanied to the races and assisted by Ivano. At the end of the 70s, Ivano decided to take an even bigger step: he used Fanini’s name, or, better, its bikes, as a sponsor for the professional team San Giacomo, where back then Beppe Martinelli, a promising and talented man, raced, and is nowadays known as the worldwide most winning manager, with his victories in the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta Espana races (won by Marco Pantani, Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru).
Being loyal to ideals
The final, thorough step took place in 1984, when the first Fanini–Whurer–Sibicar team was created. The first, proper, professional FANINI group, with the great Gino Bartali and Piero Pieroni as managers. As time went by, victories and fulfilment were not long in coming. Important sponsors came, too, like Pepsi, and together with them the satisfaction of conquering prestigious rankings, Italian championships, tours and stages, like the Tirreno-Adriatico and other stages of the Giro d’Italia race. Further on, in 1989, on the occasion of a presentation of the team to the Holy Father Pope John Paul II, in the Vatican, Fanini decided to reveal his opinion on an issue that is still nowadays most burning and dramatic: abortion. Thus, with the will of testifying in favour of life even in the sports world, he had his cyclists’ jerseys (in specific those of the Fanini-Pepsi) printed with the slogan “NO TO ABORTION” (while on the ones of the Fanini-7UP the slogan was “GOD LOVES YOU”). Continuing on this path of heightening the defence of life in every direction, in 1989 he had an inspiration –still upon the advice of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II, who was very close to Ivano and his team– to call his group “AMORE&VITA” (literally “LOVE&LIFE”), thus sending out a Christian and humanitarian message of indubitable beauty. A message of universal solidarity, which draws people of all cultures and faiths nearer and which, even nowadays, after 30 years, is still printed on the jerseys of the athletes as a major slogan, regardless of the sponsors.
Successes and victories
Throughout the years, Amore&Vita has been the protagonist of many initiatives aimed at enhancing its ideals. To make an example, during the 78th Giro d’Italia race, the athletes of the team wore jerseys with the message “Thank you for not lightning me” by the Campaign Against Smoking, and the slogan by the Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori (the Italian Association Against Cancer). Or, before that, in 1990, Ivano Fanini imposed the obligation to wear a full-face helmet to all his athletes, both during races and training, and received harsh criticism and disapproval even from his own cyclists, who did not share his choice, at the time. A choice which turned out to be pioneering and which afterwards, other than saving many lives, served as an inspiration to the bill that came into force after the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Since then, every cyclist of every age, category or discipline is obliged to wear a full-face helmet when racing, to the great satisfaction of Fanini, to whom the merit was attributed. In March 1996, Fanini surprized the sports world once again by having his cyclists wear jerseys with the slogan “FORZARCORE” at the Milano-Sanremo, a worldwide race –Arcore being a city in the North of Italy where the politician Silvio Berlusconi lives. The team conquered four stage wins in the 79th, 80th and 81st Giro d’Italia race with these jerseys. This was such a unique initiative that the Honourable Silvio Berlusconi, intrigued by what the mass media reported, expressed his will to personally meet the author. Since then, Berlusconi, having appreciated this surprising initiative, has been following the vicissitudes of Amore&Vita with great interest, so that our group has benefited from the support of companies of the Mediolanum and Mediaset group, too, still spreading its ideals across the streets.
In 2002 the team showed up with an even newer image: our athletes, coming from eight countries spread over three continents, displayed jerseys with the image of the American flag and the slogan: “To cycle all together”, in memory of the tragic events that took place on 9/11; we received the praise of the President George W. Bush. Today, after thirty years of successes, fights and victories, Amore&Vita is the world oldest historical professional team. A symbol of anti-doping and an example not only for the UCI continental division, but also for all the athletes who are determined to demonstrate their talent without the help of doping, and for all those people who want to throw themselves again into sports once and for all. The team, just like a real multinational company, is composed of athletes and staff coming from no less than 15 different countries (spread over three continents: Europe, Asia, and America), and relies on the concrete support of people who believe in our message and that of the contributing members. In these last few years, Amore&Vita has counted on the cooperation of several sponsors that, with their contribution, have supported this professional team, the goal of which is to take part in the Giro d’Italia race again soon.