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Vittoria Cycling Shoes founder Celestino Vercelli passes away

Published December 1, 2020

BIELLA, Italy (BRAIN) — Celestino Vercelli, a former pro cyclist and founder of Vittoria Cycling Shoes, has passed away at age 74, the company announced.

Vercelli raced as a professional from 1969 through 1978. He rode for legendary teams including SCIC, SCIC-FIAT, Brooklyn and the 1978 Italian National Team, until a back injury forced his retirement. His teammates included two of the giants of professional cycling, Roger de Vlaeminck and Gianni Motta and he raced against many other famous cyclists such as Gimondi, Bitossi, Adorni, Dancelli and Eddy Merckx, who he often cited as his favorite rider.

Vercelli competed in 10 grand tours: seven Giros d'Italia, two Tours de France and one Vuelta a Espana, as well as many other races throughout Europe.

After his retirement he founded Vittoria Cycling Shoes in 1976, continuing a family history of shoemaking.

Up until his passing he was still involved at the factory, working side by side with his son Edoardo on a daily basis. Edoardo continues to oversee the day-to-day operations of the factory as he has for several years.

Many champions have raced in Vittoria shoes including Stephen Roche, Marco Pantani, Sean Kelly and Mario Cipollini. Vercelli died in his native Italy on Nov. 26; the company said his death was not related to COVID-19. "Celestino will be greatly missed, we wish his family and friends our deepest condolences," the company said. 

(l to r): Celestino Vercelli, Eddy Merckx, Edoardo Vercelli.

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