PHOENIX, AZ (BRAIN)—Domenic Malvestuto, a longtime bicycle retailer and influential figure in the Phoenix, Arizona, cycling community, died this month at his home in Phoenix after battling colon cancer. He was 68, and is survived by his wife of 22 years, Judy Malvestuto.
A native of Sulmona, Italy, Malvestuto started bicycle racing at age 16, amassing an impressive string of victories. He was about to turn pro when he was drafted into the Italian army in 1964, putting his cycling career on hold.
Malvestuto got out of the army 15 months later and moved to Hamilton, Ontario, to live with a sister. He spent 11 years racing in Canada, becoming a citizen and opening a shop, Main Cycle in Hamilton, along the way. He won the Ontario State Championship and was selected to the Canadian World Championship road team in 1969. In the World Cycling Championship in Czechoslovakia that year, Domenic was the only member of the Canadian team to finish, Judy said.
On a vacation to Phoenix in the late 1970s, the 300-mile-a-week cyclist took a shine to the desert community and its promise of year-round riding. He moved there in 1979, opening Domenic’s Cycling (later Domenic’s 2 Wheelers) in Tempe, Arizona, and founding the Strada Racing Club, where he dedicated much of his time to developing junior cyclists. His protégés in the club included Chad Beyer, who rode for the BMC Racing Team in this year’s Giro d’Italia, said Strada coach Michael Kolin.
Malvestuto also founded the Tour de Tempe race, now a free community bike ride.
In 2007, he retired from Domenic’s 2 Wheelers, which Judy continues to oversee. He was diagnosed with colon cancer last year.
Judy, who met her future husband at Interbike in 1984, remembered him as a tirelessly positive booster for cycling. “Ever since I’ve known him, he never said a bad word about anyone. If anyone ever said anything negative, he’d try to turn it into a positive. He always had a smile on his face,” she said. “He just loved cycling so much—that was his whole life. He always believed in helping the younger riders and was always there to help anyone who wanted to learn about cycling.
“He just believed that everyone should ride bikes, just to stay healthy.”