Cino Cinelli

A career linked to the bicycle, his dear partner

Cino Cinelli, the seventh of ten children, was born on 9 February 1916 in a country house in Montespertoli.

Cino and his two older brothers Arrigo and Giotto usually cycle several kilometers every day to go to school and their competitive nature transforms what should have been a routine shift into a daily cycling race.

Cino would like to devote himself entirely to cycling, but the family economic reality does not make it possible. In 1930, at the age of 14, he began working, first as a helper in a doctor’s office and then as a secretary in a publishing house. Following a small car accident, Cino receives a generous financial compensation with which he can finally buy the much desired racing bicycle.

Passionate more than ever to two wheels, Cino begins, like his brothers, to participate in some amateur races showing an innate determination.

The years of his cycling training

In 1931 he ranked second in front of a promising Florentine boy destined to become a great champion: Gino Bartali. In the following years Cino continues to work hard and read books, which allows him to make a career within the publishing house where he works.
In the meantime, his legs pedal hard and he achieved excellent results in amateur cycling: between 1934 and 1936 he won the Tortelli Cup, the Olmo Cup, the Giro dei Colli Fiorentini and the Peretola Cup. In 1937, at the age of 21, he found himself at a crossroads: to continue his career as an employee and abandon the two wheels or give up a certain salary to pursue the dream of becoming a professional cyclist, without certainty, without money, without sponsors.
It is not easy to decide, but Giotto’s gaze of understanding is decisive for Cino who chooses to give body and soul to his greatest dream.
In that same year, as an independent professional, he won the Pro Radio Cup, the Ciano Cup, the Menabuoni Cup and two other particularly important competitions: the Andrea Boero Cup and the Giro dell’Appennino, thus receiving, in addition to the approval of the public, also the his first cash prizes.
The technicians have been observing him for some time and, in 1938, Cino Cinelli was hired by the Frejus team. In 1940, together with Olmo, Bini, Leoni, Bizzi and other great cyclists, he wore the colors of the Bianchi team.
Cino wins many important competitions, including the Bernocchi Cup, the Giro di Lombardia, the Giro di Campania, the Giro del Piemonte, the Tre Valli Varesine, various stages of the Giro d’Italia and a memorable Milan-Sanremo which he himself defined as the biggest win of his entire career.

The change of life from cyclist to craftsman

The Second World War puts an end to Cino’s cycling career, but he, who in addition to a great athlete is also a brilliant craftsman, puts his technical knowledge to good use and becomes an entrepreneur. In 1944 he moved to Milan, became a Benotto representative and began selling the handlebars and stems produced by the Cinelli brothers. Cino also works as a representative of the Columbus brand, proposing the prestigious pipes in Italy and abroad and collaborating with Angelo Luigi Colombo first and then with his son Antonio Colombo. Over the years his genius led him to create and develop his market even beyond the border, giving life to a company of components and bicycles recognized and respected all over the world: Cinelli. The events of Cinelli and Columbus intertwine even more permanently towards the end of the seventies when Cino, in the smell of retirement, decides to sell the business to Antonio Colombo, who is still President of both companies, in Milan today.

To know more

The whole story, from the first glorious rides of Cino to the era of Antonio Colombo,
owner of Cinelli since 1978, it is available on the website

More info on the Cinelli company:

On the right, the poster of the event organized on the occasion of the flying finish line of the 2019 Giro d’Italia in Montespertoli. The Municipality, in collaboration with the Cinelli company, celebrated one of its most illustrious citizens, Cino Cinelli, with the exhibition dedicated to him “At the Origins of the Champion”. The exhibition was curated by Cinelli Vintage.


All photos are kindly granted by the Cinelli Vintage archive

The other characters