Cafe Velo was hopping last night with a visit by retired Italian pro-cyclist Mario Cipollini.
As part of an open house at the bike/coffee shop that raised dollars for Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado's Waldo Canyon Fire fund, Cipollini signed silent-auction items and made the rounds, smiling for fans' cameras.
For those not familiar with the 45-year-old cyclist, Cipollini was one of the top sprinters of his time. Between 1989 and 2003, he won a total of 42 stages in the Giro d'Italia, 12 in the Tour de France, 11 in the Tour de Romandie, and seven in Paris-Nice. He's recognized as being the rider who developed the sprint train, basically a process by which a team of cyclists work together as they close in on the finish line to keep their team's sprinter at the front of the race — something we'll likely get to see in action here Friday during the final moments of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge's Stage 5
As he told the crowd last night, however, Cipollini feels his greatest accomplishment was winning the 2002 World Cycling Championships.
Last night wasn't the only chance to connect with Cipollini. Die-hard cyclists who would like to ride with him Friday morning through the Garden of the Gods can do so — for $500. It benefits the Local Organizing Committee of the Challenge, and gives you a bunch of other perks. Details below. Register ASAP by e-mailing here.