The Racing Bicycle Comes Of Age
1939-1953
The mystique of Campagnolo began on a snow covered pass called the
Croce d'Aune, where a young amateur among the leaders of the race
stopped to remove his rear wheel for a gear shift. In the falling snow
the wingnuts froze in place, the young racer's hands too numb to force
them free. His race lost, he uttered the words "Bisogno cambiá
qualcossa de drio!"  "Something must change in the rear!" Three years
later, the quick release lever was patented by that young racer, Tullio
Campagnolo. It was soon followed by a rear derailleur utilizing a
sliding hub and dual rod changers, later to be named the Cambio Corsa
Gino Bartali
shifting the
Campagnolo
Cambio Corsa
during his 1948
Tour de France
win
Campagnolo Cambio Corsa
Competing with
Campagnolo's Cambio
Corsa was the Simplex
derailleurs of Lucien Juy.
Using tension pulleys,
cables, plunger springs,
and pull chains, the
derailleurs did find many
supporters in the ranks of
the profesional bicycle
racers
Paul Maye wins the
1945 Paris-Roubaix with
a Simplex derailleur
Simplex
pull chain
derailleur
1947 Tour de France winner Jean Robic using a
Simplex rear derailleur
Fausto Coppi was paid a considerable
sum to switch from Campagnolo's
Cambio Corsa to Simplex derailleurs.
Coppi went on to win the 1947 Tour de
France  using Simplex equipment. He
would go back to using Campagnolo
equipment to win the 1950 Paris
-Roubaix. With no pulleys, the Cambio
Corsa was unaffected by mud which can
be abundant in the race known as "The
Hell of the North"
Campagnolo's
Paris-Roubaix
derailleur
Admirers of Fausto Coppi's Bianchi in
the 1949 Paris-Roubaix
Two of the legends of the era,
Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi
Fausto Coppi on his way to victory in
the 1950 Paris-Roubaix  using the
Campagnolo derailleur that would be
renamed to commemorate his win.
In velodromes such as
the Vigorelli in Milan
and the Vel d'Hiv in
Paris , the only
competition was on
the track. Campagnolo
hubs along with
Cinelli handlebars and
stems reigned supreme.
Vigorelli
Vel d"Hiv
The entrance of Campagnolo's
new derailleur, the Gran
Sport, marks the beginning of
a new era just as the
retirement of Gino Bartali
signals the end of the old.
Bartali hangs it up