In 1957, exactly 50 years ago, he won the pink jersey in Milan: “Mistero had won – according to the Gazzetta dello Sport - the most wonderful Giro d’Italia of the century.” On his way home to Bilancino “ two demijohns of wine - the good kind – were lugged down the Bolognese road, followed by a procession of partiers. “A man had not won, his character had.”
In 1960 Gastone triumphed in the Tour de France. During the Besancon-Troyes stage, General De Gaulle, the President of France, shook his sweaty hand and smiled: “Bravo. Paris is yours at this point. You have won the tour because you have fought for it every day. Good luck to you.” The Mugello man’s victories were “the product of a relentless battle, a continuous settling of accounts”.
Gastone’s behaviour on the road was, in fact, unpredictable and aggressive: no compromises, no strategy, just incredible strength and an unmatchable tenacity at the service of cycling. He was gregarious and yet a leader, a long distance cyclist, a climber and, overall, a daring downhill racer.
This guide with the descriptions of the routes, climbs and descents that Mistero knew perfectly well is a tribute to a champion who tackled bicycle racing without expedients, with great honesty, using his heart and his legs.
Mistero (Mystery) is what they called him, and he was born in 1930 in Barberino, in the village of Bilancino, which gave its name to the huge artificial lake that hosts numerous tourists and fishermen every year. Legend has it that he loved cycling so much that he spent a whole summer digging sand from the Sieve river to buy his first bike, so that he wouldn’t have to ask his family for money. After a number of years as an amateur, in 1954 he participated in his first Giro and placed 16th, first among the newcomers.