Silvana Vinci was born in 1977 in Taranto but grew up in Lunio, in the province of Varese. It was on the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore that Sissi (as everyone calls her) fell in love with sport, from athletics to football, where she reached the B Series with Germignana. But her real love is cycling, which exploded at the age of 15. At a very young age, Sissi went on to win a number of regional competitions, continuing to cycle even once she started working in the hotel industry. But at 25, her life took an unexpected turn. On 1 September 2002, she was involved in a very severe accident, violently hitting her head while cycling downhill. Her condition became immediately dire and almost irreversible. Sissi was in a coma for three months, but after waking up, she began a long and tenacious rehabilitation. She had to learn to read, speak and walk again. But even before she could move properly, she was already on an exercise bike, where she was pedalling even harder than before.
After ten months in hospital, between Italy and Switzerland, she returned home and continued her regular rehabilitation, which included cycling. Not wanting to give up her cycling dream, she moved to Tuscany, met the champion Paolo Bettini, and joined the National Paracycling team in 2006. This was the beginning of a story full of successes, with national triumphs, a gold medal in Prague in the European Cup and participation in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. In 2011, Sissi started to compete less frequently, but her love for cycling never wavered. In 2018, she accompanied a friend to a recruitment day for Obiettivo3 in Padua. Here she met Alex Zanardi and Pierino Dainese, who encouraged her to get back on the bike as a mentor to the many young riders. And her journey continues as a big sister to all the other cyclists.