Full name: Mario Cipollini
Nickname(s): Super Mario / Re Leone
Height: 6'2" (189 cm)
Weight: 174 lbs (79 kg)
Born: March 22, 1967 in Lucca, Lucca, Italy
Affiliations: Saeco, (ITA)
Related Olympians: Brother of Cesare Cipollini.
Mario Cipollioni was a legend of the pro peloton for his sprinting ability. Tall and handsome, with long, almost silver hair, he was very popular in Italy and engendered several nicknames – The Lion King (Il Re Leone), Super Mario, and Cipo. He turned professional in 1989 and raced to April 2005, although he returned briefly in 2008. He was the fastest sprinter in the peloton throughout his career, and one of the fastest ever. His sprinting prowess brought him multiple stage wins in multi-day events but his difficulty in the mountains often caused him to abandon before the finish. His major single-day victories were the 2002 World Championship road race and Milano-Sanremo, and he won Gent-Wevelgem three times, in 1992-93 and 2002.
At the grand tours, Cipollini won multiple stages, and his 42 stage wins at the Giro d’Italia is a record. He won his 42nd stage in 2003 to break the record of Alfredo Binda, commenting afterwards, “I would just have been happy to polish his [Binda’s] shoes.” He also won the points classification three times at the Giro. Cipo won 12 stages at the Tour de France and three at the Vuelta à España. At the 1999 Tour he won four consecutive stages. Known for wearing unusual outfits, after the fourth consecutive win he wore an all-Roman outfit, as did his entire Saeco team. He also wore all-yellow once while leading the Tour, and appeared at times in tiger skin, zebra prints, and muscle suits, and was fined frequently for not wearing the team kit.
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