sometimes you have to stop and smell the chamois butter

Thursday, January 27, 2011

De Rosa - t.i.c.h.

Iconic frame builder to the stars, Ugo De Rosa was born on 27 January 1934 in Milan, Italy. 
A passion for bicycles that started in his early years, Ugo dabbled in racing in the amateur ranks before realizing that he was more interested in the vehicle itself.  His first job, he worked for his uncle assembling and repairing bikes.  In the early fifties, he opened his own shop dedicated to the manufacturing of racing bicycles.  In 1958 he was approached by Raphael Geminiani, to build a frame for the upcoming Giro d' Italia.  Knowing that a star of the pro peloton astride one of his bikes could quickly bring him credibility, De Rosa delivered.  This was just the beginning of an amazing legacy.  In the early sixties he provided frames for the powerful Faema squad.  Gianni Motta approached him in 1969 to become his frame builder and mechanic for the Sanson team.  Then in 1973 he was approached by none other than Eddy Merckx to build frames and wrench for the legendary Molteni team.  The results were unprecedented as Merckx and his teammates won nearly all the major races including the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, Milano-San Remo and the World Championship.  He continued to work for Molteni until Merckx's retirement in 1978.  And as if it weren't enough to have the great Merckx on his bikes, he added Francesco Moser (Filotex, later becoming Sanson) and Roger DeVlaeminck (Sanson) to his roster.
As the 1980's approached, De Rosa's sons started to show interest in the business. The timing could not have been better as the demand for De Rosa bicycles skyrocketed in the eighties as De Rosa had entered new markets for the first time including the United States, Russia, Japan, Belgium, and Germany.  Then in the 90's they begin to explore other frame materials.  Three years were spent on the development of their Titanio frame with fantastic results.  Today the De Rosa family continues to build the finest bicycles they know how to while constantly searching for ways to improve their product.
Here is a quote from Ugo about his history.
"It may happen that the memories of fifty years of a lifetime in cycling build up and become confused with one another. But there are some that are unforgettable for their intensity, emotion and satisfaction. All these memories are linked with champion cyclists. Like Raphäel Geminiani, whom I met in 1958 and who immediately wanted me as a mechanic in his team. Or like Van Looy, the king of fast finishes. Like Gastone Nencini, the never-forgotten “Yellow Cloud”. Or like Gianni Motta, elegant in the saddle. Like Eddy Merckx: a champion par excellence, on the cycle and in life, Eddy was so scrupulous that sometimes he might seem capricious. How many sleepless nights, for Eddy…but how many satisfactions! After that came many more, thanks to Moser, Argentin, Berzin, Gonchar, Vainsteins, Casagrande, Baldato, Pellizzotti...and all those champions who have ridden or are still riding my bicycles. And whom I group together in a symbolic photo to commemorate their and our successes."
So today we celebrate a legendary craftsman of the cycling world.
Buon compleanno Ugo De Rosa!

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