Beautiful Paola cycled Via Emilia every day. Golden braids, engel face, velvet skin. Oh her bike, from country to the village, Castel San Giovani. Daughter of farmers, she grew up in a small house near the Po river. She wanted to change her life, on a bike, with wind in her hairs.

Every day, every season, Paola was riding her bike to school and back home. And every day, lots of sights of Trattoria di Ginoferno guests were expecting her. Men sights.

Paola used to ride every day. One day Ginofero stopped her right there, just in front of the restaurant, in Zuccherificio di Sarmato. Indicent proposal for that time: bike racing.

Giuditta Longari, Florinda Parenti, Paola Scotti

It was a dream of Renato Ginofero: a female team, in Faema jersey. Sponsor was in, he had already everything clear in his mind: he was observing girls’ legs for months, maybe years. With an eye of a cycling coach though.

Few ladies had been selected, but with a big effort. Convincing everybody was not an easy task, because the simple agreement of the girl was not so meaningful, as there was still her family to convince letting her ride.

A daughter with shorts on a road bike – that would have been object of scandal and gossips. In her country house of Greco di Sopra, she finally had the permission: she was going to become a real cyclist. Something big, for sure bigger than the race with schoolmates.

Renato Ginofero achived his goal: the team was almost ready, and the first opportunity to start was the first World Race in 1962. First Women World race, with girls ‚stolen‘ from restaurant’s kitchens, suburbs and or factories.

Like Florinda. Florinda came from Belgium, fearless, challanging with everything and everyone and the all rumours; very young but already well known in Italy. Florinda moved to Parma, to her grandfathers, to follow her dream. A big crowd: the roads were full of all the inhabitants of the village and the villages around. But also from Bologna and Milan. Many of them came there to support the new team, but many more to scream at the scandal. In this big mess, the 20 riders made their entrance and the race started. Florinda was the favourite, but not alone in that sprint: Paula was at home on these roads. Only 4 of them were standing, and Paola, shocking everybody, won that sprint. Paola Scotti, first italian champion, had several health issues and a too short carrier.

Maria Cressari, Paola Scotti, Giuditta Longari

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Translation from italian by our member Maria Emme, source: cyclemagazine.eu, pictures: museociclismo.it