Gino Bartali was a two-time Tour de France winner in 1938 and 1948 - an amazing feat to win cycling’s greatest prize with a ten-year gap in between, but not his greatest accomplishment.
Germany occupied Gino’s native Italy in 1943. His fame as a Tour winner allowed him to cycle freely wearing his familiar Italian racing jersey. He conceived a plan to use his training regimen to aid the Underground. He cycled hundreds of miles throughout much of occupied Italy with counterfeit paperwork hidden in the handlebars and seat of his bike. Gino saved the lives of hundreds of Italian Jews by falsely preventing their deportation to Auschwitz.
Like many heroes after the war, he spoke very little of what he had done. It was only after his death in 2000 that his amazing efforts became known. In 2013, Gino was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.