The yellow jersey in the Tour de France is not the only important symbol in cycling of this colour. For example, Bartali’s bikes were yellow. And already, this association with a legendary name makes it clear how much yellow has always been present in cycling.
Yellow is considered the colour of victory. In addition to wearing the Tour de France yellow jersey, the race leader wears a yellow jersey at Volta a Portugal, the Tour of Cameroon, and many other races around the world. Even the leader of the Vuelta Espana used to wear yellow – the famous amarillo jersey of the Vuelta – before the Vuelta was bought by the same company that organizes the Tour de France, which required that the Tour de France yellow jersey be the only true yellow .
Yellow was Gino Bartali’s choice for his bikes. In 1949 Bartali left Legnano to begin an adventure as an entrepreneur. He creates his team and his own brand of bicycles, with a characteristic intense yellow colour. The bikes were built by the Santamaria Brothers of Novi Ligure. Bartali had to compete against a much younger Fausto Coppi supported by the Bianchi army. Bartali, on the other hand, had to settle for a more modest team and old-fashioned equipment. One case among all was the decision to adopt the Matterhorn gearbox produced by the Nieddus of Turin, a cumbersome and outdated system which essentially resumed the old Super Champion, while Coppi had the best available at his disposal: the Simplex Tour de France, the first modern gearbox with double pulley, precise and fast.