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Moser family patriarch Aldo dies after being diagnosed with COVID-19

Aldo Moser (left) riding for the GBC team
Aldo Moser (left) riding for the GBC team (Image credit: Sirotti)

The Moser family is in mourning after patriarch Aldo died aged 86 after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and then serious respiratory problems.  

The Moser dynasty is considered the most successful in cycling. Just 525 people live in Palù di Giovo in the hills east of Trento but the village is home to four Giro d’Italia maglia rosa wearers: Aldo, Francesco, Enzo and Gilberto Simoni, who’s family roots intertwined with the Moser family, like the vines that dominate the hills. 

Aldo was the oldest of 12 brothers and sisters, and three other brothers raced as professionals in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Their children Leonardo, Ignazio and Moreno all raced professionally but not for as long or as successfully as their fathers and uncles.

Aldo Moser was born in 1934 and first started cycling as he delivered bread to different parts of his valley as a boy. He raced with Fausto Coppi in the 1950s and his career spanned from 1954 until 1973. He rode the Giro d’Italia 16 times, finishing sixth in 1955 and fifth in 1956. He took the maglia rosa in 1958 and again in 1971.

He was captured in a famous photo as he climbed through the snow in the 1965 Giro d’Italia. He survived the legendary stage over the Bondone won by Charly Gaul in a snow storm in 1956, saying: "My hands were like blocks of ice, I couldn’t feel anything." He stopped to have his hands massaged but rode on, while more than half of the peloton abandoned the Giro.   

Francesco Moser went on to have the most successful career in the family, winning 273 races, including the 1984 Giro d’Italia, the 1977 World Championships, and Paris-Roubaix three times. He also broke Eddy Merckx’s Hour Record in 1984, using aero bars and disc wheels. 

But it was older brother Aldo who bought him his first bike and pushed him to start racing.     

"I grew up admiring him," Francesco Moser told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Without him I’d never have become a good rider. He pushed me to race. He’d had a good Giro in 1969 and convinced me to try racing. He gave me one of his bikes, a Gbc from his team."

"When I moved to Tiuscany to race with the Filotex team in 1973, he raced with me so I wasn't alone. He could have retired but raced on to help me. Diego was there too, while Enzo was a directeur sportif.

"He hadn’t been well recently. He had heart problems and had been fitted with a pacemaker. Yet we walked together when he had a COVID-19 test on Monday, then he was taken into hospital. Sadly we were unable to visit him in hospital."

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