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Ottavio Bottecchia Photo Gallery

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Ottavio Bottecchia (August 1, 1894–June 15, 1927) was the first Italian to win the Tour de France.

Growing up in stifling poverty, Ottavio Bottechia became a mason before joining the Italian army in World War One. He was a member of Bersaglieri Corps, fighting as a cycling soldier. He carried messages and supplies on his bike and earned a medal for engaging the enemy with a machine gun.

After the war he went to France in search of work. There he took up cycle racing and began to have good results. He returned to Italy and in 1923 rode the Giro as an independent rider. His fifth place (46 minutes behind winner Costante Girardengo) made him the highest placed independent.

He was recruited by French bike maker Automoto, which had ambitions of selling bikes in Italy. He rode the 1923 Tour de France as a domestique for winner Henry Pélissier.

The next year he took the lead after winning the first stage and held the lead to the end. In 1925 he again won the Tour, though this time he rode more tactically and economically. After that, the winning magic seemed to have left him.

He abandoned the 1926 Tour during a terrible, stormy stage.

He was found badly beaten on June 3, 1927. His skull was broken, but his bike was a short distance away, undamaged. Taken to a hospital, he died on the fifteenth of his injuries. There are many theories about his death, but no strong evidence points reliably to any explanation.

Major victories:

1923: Highest placed independent rider in the Giro d'Italia, stage one of the Tour de France (finished second overall)
1924: Tour de France with four stage victories, Giro della Provicia Milano (teamed with Costante Girardengo)
1925: Tour de France with four stage victories, Giro della Procincia Milano (teamed with Costante Girardengo), Buenos Aires 6-Day
1926: Stage two of Vuelta al Pais Vasco (finished second overall)

Professional Teams:

1922: Ganna-Dunlop
1923: Ganna
1923: Automoto-Hutchinson
1924: Automoto
1925-1926: Automoto Hutchinson
1927: Automoto

Nicknames: The Stonemason from Friuli, Butterfly (because of his big ears)


Ottavio Bottecchia

Ottavio Bottechia in the uniform of the Bersaglieri Ciclisti (cycling soldiers) during World War One.

Ottavio Bottecchia

Bottecchia in 1919

Ottavio Bottecchia

Ottavio Bottecchia photo that spent many decades pinned to the wall of the Mondonico workshop.

Ottacio Bottecchia leads the peloton in the 1923 Tour de France

Bottechia leads the peloton in stage 15 of the 1923 Tour de France

Ottavio Bottecchia n the Izoard

Ottavio Bottecchia climbs the Izoard in stage 10 of the 1924 Tour de France

Ottavio Bottecchia wins the 1924 Tour de France

Bottecchia wins the 1924 Tour de France

1924 Automoto ad featuring Bottecchia

1924 Automoto ad of Bottecchia's 1924 Tour victory

Ottavio Botteachia leads Aymo and Francis pellisier on the Aubisque

Bottecchia leads Bartolomeo Aymo and Francis Pélissier up the Aubisque in stage 8 of the 1925 Tour de France

Ottavio bottecchia on the Izoard in the 1925 Tour de France

Stage 13 of the 1925 Tour de France: Bottecchia on the Izoard

Ottavio Bottacchia

Bottecchia cleans up after stage 18 of the 1925 Tour de France

Ottavio Bottecchia after sinning the 1925 Tour de France

Bottecchia after winning the 1925 Tour de France

Bottecchia monument

Bottecchia monument in Trasaghis near the Tagliamento river. Johan Jaritz photo.

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