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inside the factory – Rouleur

Starting with issue 19.3 of Rouleur, Andy McGrath and Paolo Ciaberta reunited with the creator of the instantly recognizable Giro d’Italia trophy, the Trofeo Senza Fine

On a brisk December morning in Vigodarzere, a small village on the outskirts of Padua in northeast Italy, we step into the Penello Mario workshop. This is where the Giro d’Italia trophy has been made since 1999, when Fabrizio Galli won a competition organized by the Italian Copper Institute to design a new one.

“This entry was made on a computer,” recalls Luca Penello, Mario’s son, who runs the company. “But trying to do it at first wasn’t easy, the costs weren’t particularly reasonable. After trying and trying, we succeeded.

Read: Giro d’Italia 2022 preview

It takes a month to do the Trofeo Senza Fine (Endless Trophy). A copper bar is rounded, then shaped with a bending machine and undergoes a first polishing. Subsequently, it is heat-treated and twisted into that recognizable spiral shape. Then it is custom cut, the base is added and the trophy is polished again. Finally, the inscriptions of past winners are added to the laser and sandblasted.

“The hardest part of the process is shaping the trophy and inscribing the names. Once it’s settled into that spiral, you have to be very careful with any refinements,” says Luca.

Torture device or cycling trophy in preparation? “It looks a bit like it,” he admits. “We need all these metal pegs to support the copper and create this distinctive shape.”

Here are a few they made earlier. When complete, the Trofeo Senza Fine stands 54 centimeters high and tips the scales at 9.5 kilograms. The company also creates the Milan-Sanremo, Milan-Turin, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico trident trophies.

Luca’s work doesn’t stop when this 18k gold-plated beauty leaves his workshop. Since the Giro 2017, Penello has been present at the finish of the race to personally engrave the name of the winner on the trophy with a manual pantograph. An avid Sunday cyclist himself, who totals 4,000 kilometers each year, this work is a particular joy for Penello: “It is a huge honor for me to make a trophy like this which is so important, so famous, so rich in history.”