Gino Bartali, Tour de France winner and one of the most beloved Italian athletes of all time, had a secret life.
With his cycling career as a cover, Bartali cycled thousands of miles between cities across Italy. Hidden in the frame of his bike were falsified identity cards and other secret documents to help victims of the Second World War cross borders to safety from Mussolini’s fascist regime. His efforts saved hundreds of persecuted Jews and other refugees, many of whom were children.
Bartali was a local hero as well as a national figurehead, renowned in his community for his unwavering commitment to helping others. His story has a powerful message for audiences today about bravery, loyalty and doing the right thing regardless of the consequences.