1912 Giro d'Italia
|Overview of the stages: route clockwise from Milan, down
to Pescara, over to Rome, and up to Bergamo
|Dates||19 May – 4 June|
|Distance||2,439.6 km (1,516 mi)|
|Winning time||100h 02' 57" (27.323 km/h or 16.978 mph)|
The 1912 Giro d'Italia was the 4th edition of the Giro d'Italia, a cycling race set up and sponsored by the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. The race began on 19 May in Milan with a stage that stretched 398.8 km (248 mi) to Padua. The race was composed of nine stages that covered a total distance of 2,733.6 km (1,699 mi). The race came to a close in Bergamo on 4 June after a 235 km (146 mi) stage. The race was won by the Atala-Dunlop team that finished with Carlo Galetti, Eberardo Pavesi, and Giovanni Micheletto. Second and third respectively were Peugeot and Gerbi.
Of 54 starting cyclists only 26 completed the race. The fourth stage Pescara-Rome was canceled because the cyclists refused to continue the race due to the overflow of a small river. The drawback extended the route of the stage of 15 km and the riders arrived in Rome by train. The onlookers, that were waiting for the arrival at the stadium, claimed back the price of the ticket. The stage was then "replaced" adding a ninth stage from Milan to Bergamo.
Changes from the 1911 Giro d'Italia
Outside the yearly changes in the route, race length, and number of stages, the biggest change to the how the general classification was to be calculated. The organizers chose to make the general classification centered around teams rather than individuals like the race was contested in the first three years of its existence. They chose to only allow teams of four riders to compete in the race, making this the first Giro d'Italia to not contain any independent riders. Each team was required to have three riders finish each stage in order to remain in the race. The general classification was still determined by a point system: four points went to the team that the stage winner came from, if a team got two riders in the top four placings on a stage they got two points, and if a team completed the stage with the minimum three riders, they earned one point.
The new point system for the general classification was met with some resistance as many people were very confused by how the new system operated or simply preferred the original system the organizers had used in years past. In response to the, the race organizers released a supplement to help better explain how the new points system operates. A La Stampa writer claimed that the supplement provided several lengthy example calculations and stated that only after the first state will they know how successful this new system will be.
The team that won general classification won a grand prize of 4000 lire. The runner up of the race received 2000 lire, third was rewarded with 1000 lire, fourth got 600 lire, and fifth place received 400 lire. Each stage winner received 600 lire and second place on the day got 300 lire.
Of the 56 riders that signed up to participate in the 1912 Giro d'Italia, 54 of them began the race on 19 May. Since the race's general classification was to be based around team points there were no independent riders as in years past. The organizers allowed the participating teams to have up to four riders, with each team needing three riders to finish each stage to remain in the race. There were a total of fourteen teams that started the 1912 Giro d'Italia. A French team was planning on competing in the race, but opted not to and so all the teams that competed were based in Italy. This edition of the Giro d'Italia saw the first teams enter the race that were not sponsored by a bicycle related industry.
Atala-Dunlop was the favorite going into the race as the team was composed of 1909 winner Luigi Ganna, two-time winner Carlo Galetti, Giovanni Micheletto, and Eberardo Pavesi. The team was collectively known as "The Four Musketeers." The Gerbi team contained last year's third place finisher Giovanni Gerbi, last year's runner-up and stage winner Giovanni Rossignoli, and former stage winner Pierino Albini. Legnano, Bianchi and Peugeot were also seen as contenders for the overall victory. The race also featured future Giro d'Italia winner Carlo Oriani who competed for the Stucchi team.
The race was planned to begin at 2:30 by the organizers, but due to large crowds and some participants arriving late, the race officially started at 2:43. The riders formed three groups on the road, with the first one originally containing twenty riders as the group passed through the checkpoint in Brescia. The group further thinned to sixteen by the time it reached Verona, and to eleven when it arrived at the checkpoint in Vicenza. From the group, the sprint to the finish line was mainly contested by the Giovanni Micheletto and Giuseppe Santhià, of which the former managed to win the leg. With Atala-Dunlop's Micheletto winning the stage, along with his teammate Carlo Galetti finished third, gave Atala-Dunlop seven points and the lead in the race.
The second stage of the race saw a large group of around forty riders enter Mantua after over one hundred kilometers of racing. By the time the group had broken into five or six smaller groups due to a large crash and in part due issues brought about by heavy fog. A group of seven was first to reach the stage's finish in Bologna, where Bianchi's Vincenzo Borgarello won the sprint to the line. Stage 3 began under heavy cloud coverage. The leading group on the road was reduced as the stage traversed the hillier portions of the stage. Ernesto Azzini of the Legnano team won the stage after edging out Eberardo Pavesi.
The race's fourth stage saw very rainy conditions throughout, which caused the roads to turn muddy and streams nearby the roads to overflow. The thirty riders that began the stage took the wrong turn onto Sabina rode for over 50 km (31 mi), once they had reached Civita Castellana, before realizing their errors. This, when combined with the weather and road conditions, caused the riders to protest to the race jury and get the stage cancelled. The riders then road a train to Rome for the start of the next stage. At the finish in Rome there were over 20,000 paying spectators waiting to see the finish of the stage. When news broke of the stage's cancelling, the spectators grew angry and the organizers refunded their tickets they had purchased to view the race.
Atala-Dunlop's Luigi Ganna abandoned the race during the fifth stage due to injuries suffered from a crash during the fourth stage before it was cancelled. Galetti won the fifth leg, but with the placings on the stage, Peugeot took the race lead from Atala-Dunlop. The sixth stage was won by Lauro Bordin. Borgarello won his second stage with his victory in the following stage.
|Stage||Date||Course||Distance||Type[Notes 1]||Winner[Notes 2]||Race Leader|
|1||19 May||Milan to Padua||398.8 km (248 mi)||Plain stage||Giovanni Micheletto (ITA) (Atala-Dunlop)||Atala-Dunlop|
|2||21 May||Padua to Bologna||328.8 km (204 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Vincenzo Borgarello (ITA) (Legnano)||Atala-Dunlop|
|3||23 May||Bologna to Pescara||362.5 km (225 mi)||Plain stage||Ernesto Azzini (ITA) (Legnano)||Atala-Dunlop|
|4||25 May||Pescara to Rome||Plain stage||Stage Cancelled||Atala-Dunlop|
|5||27 May||Rome to Florence||337 km (209 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Carlo Galetti (ITA) (Atala-Dunlop)||Peugeot|
|6||29 May||Florence to Genoa||267.5 km (166 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Lauro Bordin (ITA) (Gerbi)||Atala-Dunlop|
|7||31 May||Genoa to Turin||230 km (143 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Vincenzo Borgarello (ITA) (Legnano)||Atala-Dunlop|
|8||2 June||Turin to Milan||280 km (174 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Giovanni Micheletto (ITA) (Atala-Dunlop)||Atala-Dunlop|
|9||4 June||Milan to Bergamo||235 km (146 mi)||Stage with mountain(s)||Vincenzo Borgarello (ITA) (Legnano)||Atala-Dunlop|
|Total||2,439.6 km (1,516 mi)[Notes 3]|
There were five teams who had completed all nine stages with the required number of riders. For these teams, the points they received from each of their stage placing's were added up for the general classification. The team with the most accumulated points was the winner.
The race organizers, La Gazzetta dello Sport recognized the team point system was not a success and reverted to the individual point based system for the general classification for the 1913 edition.
- In 1912, there was no distinction in the rules between plain stages and mountain stages; the icons shown here indicate that the second, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth stages included major mountains.
- The name of the stage winner's team is listed in parenthesis.
- This total excludes the fourth stage's planned length because the stage was cancelled.
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- Franzinelli 2013, p. 83.
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