The story of the Italian racing bicycle is convoluted and incestuous, with enough twists and turns to make the Stelvio Pass look like a Roman road in comparison. Michele Dancelli is an Italian racer who is at the center of a fascinating chapter: the origin of Colnago’s ‘Ace of Clubs’ logo.
There are numerous versions of the story, but each mention Dancelli and his 1970 Milan—San Remo victory aboard a Colnago. The win broke a drought for Italy and Ernesto was roused to immortalize the occasion by establishing a new logo for his business.
However, whether he was inspired by the springtime flowers of San Remo, the Dancelli family crest (which bears a clover), or the Gazzetta dello Sport reporter Bruno Raschi and his colorful dissertation of the event, is another discussion.
Logos and brands aside, the strength of these marques is the name of the man behind them. Dancelli frames may be lesser-known, but they are equally as fascinating as a Colnago, if not more. This Gipiemme-equipped lo-pro pursuit frame is a fine example, wonderfully captured by Giovanni Pirajno.
Special thanks to Giovanni for the photography. There’s more details on his flickr set but for some real inspiration, check out his enigmatically-named blog, One Butt Many Saddles — where you’ll find documentation of his travels and search for rare and classic Italian racers.