Posted by Editoress on 03/22/19
On the eve of the "Classicissima" [Milano San Remo], one of the most exciting and spectacular races of the international calendar and first Monument of the season, the cycling family gathered in Milan for a big occasion. The new Ambrogio Molteni Foundation was been officially presented on March 22nd at RCS' Sala Buzzati, with the media partnership of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
A noble goal inspired and the Foundation: to help former professional cyclists or rising talents struggling because of down-on-their-luck situations or victims of disabling injuries. The Molteni family made this happen in the name of Ambrogio Molteni, who gave live to the very first international top-team in cycling history, in the late 50's, with over 600 wins achieved over 18 years.
Mario and Pierangela Molteni, son and daughter of the team's founder (who personally created the iconic jersey worn by Eddy Merckx) aim to return to some cycling's unlucky heroes at least part of what cycling gave to their brand [a furniture design company].
Mario and Pierangela Molteni with Eddy Merckx and the historical Molteni jersey - (Bettini Photo)
"Sad stories of athletes down on their luck once their career is over - regardless of the reason why - cycling is not an exception, regardless of the hard consequences of crashes during races or training. Our family's name has been relevant in cycling and we guess our father would appreciate this strong will to help and support the less fortunate ones on the bike," explained Mario and Pierangela Molteni at the launch event, full of souvenirs and emotions, crowded by many authorities and former champions, first and foremost Eddy Merckx, alongside his main opponent Felice Gimondi.
Under the patronage of the Italian Cycling Association, with the support of Lombardy region, the project aims to help two former athletes, preferably one man and one woman, in the first year. The names will be selected among the stories brought to the attention of the commission appointed by the Foundation, and unveiled by the end of 2019.
The historical Molteni jersey, with its unique look, ideally represents this commitment to honour the most generous contributors of Ambrogio Molteni Foundation. Every sport and cycling fan is also allowed to donate, regardless of the amount, through the official website - www.fondazionemolteni.org.
Molteni is widely regarded as the very first international top team in post-war professional cycling, due to the long standing brand exposure on the riders outfit (18 years, from 1968 to 1976) and the unequalled number of victories, no less than 663.
The Molteni colours showed their supremacy in every kind of competition, led the long domination by Eddy Merckx - the Belgian wore the Molteni shirt for six seasons, from 1971 to 1976, claiming 246 wins on his own - as well as those by Rudy Altig, Gianni Motta, Michele Dancelli and Marino Basso.
All in all, 124 riders wore the Molteni jersey throughout the whole 18-season period, 77 of whom Italians.
• 8 Grand Tours victories (4 times Giro d'Italia, 3 Tour de France and 1 Vuelta a España) with 102 stage wins overall
• 23 national championships
• 15 "Monument" classics (3 Lombardia, 5 Milan-Sanremo, 5 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 1 Paris-Roubaix, 1 Tour of Flanders)
• 3 Road World Championships (Altig 1966, Merckx 1971 and 1974)
• 1 hour record (Merckx 1972)
Dusting off Molteni brand and team's corporate identity, keeping the graphic and colours unchanged, gave an historical meaning to what the family will pursue in cycling.
The Molteni family has made a commitment to back the Foundation, and be fully operational with funding, regardless the level of support by third parties' donations.
The official logo and the stationery will accompany all communication actions that the Foundation has planned to give strength and exposure to the project and increase its opportunities.
Generating attention and reputation for the Foundation will help building up a solidarity network, gathering all cycling lovers in the common goal of contributing for a better quality of life of those who need such support.
The Italian Cycling Federation has given its patronage to the Foundation, recognizing its role in bringing a sentiment of solidarity within the Italian and international cycling family, connecting histories and leading figures of all ages.
The Regione Lombardia, sharing the Fondazione Molteni's purpose since the very beginning, has expressed appreciation for an initiative carried out by a family of Lombardy's entrepreneurs playing a pivotal role both in industry and in cycling sport.
From left, Felice Gimondi, Michele Dancelli, Eddy Merckx, Mario Molteni, Gianni Motta, Davide Boifava and Mario Anni (Bettini Photo)
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