Giro d'Italia

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Giro d'Italia
Giro d'Italia logo.svg
Race details
Date May–June
Region Italy and nearby countries
English name Tour of Italy
Local name(s) Giro d'Italia (Italian)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type Grand Tour
Organiser RCS Sport
Race director Michele Acquarone
History
First edition 1909 (1909)
Editions 96 (as of 2013)
First winner  Luigi Ganna (ITA)
Most wins
5 wins
Most recent  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)

The Giro d'Italia (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒiːro diˈtaːlja]; English: Tour of Italy) is an annual stage race bicycle race primarily held in Italy, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries.[1] The race was first organized in 1909 to increase sales of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport;[1][2] however it is currently run by RCS Sport.[3][4] The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1909, except when it was stopped for the two world wars.[1] As the Giro gained prominence and popularity the race was lengthened, and the peloton expanded from primarily Italian participation to riders from all over the world. The Giro is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI Proteams, with the exception of the teams that the organizers can invite.[5][6]

Along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro makes up cycling's prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours.[1][7] The Giro is usually held during late May and early June.[1] While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same, with the appearance of at least two time trials, the passage through the mountains of the Alps,[8] including the Dolomites,[9][10] and the finish in the Italian city of Milan.[11][12] Like the other Grand Tours, the modern editions of the Giro d'Italia normally consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period that includes 2 rest days.[1]

All of the stages are timed to the finish. After finishing the riders' times are compounded with their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest aggregate time is the leader of the race and gets to don the coveted pink jersey.[1][13] While the general classification gathers the most attention there are other contests held within the Giro: the points classification for the sprinters,[13] the mountains classification for the climbers,[13] young rider classification for the riders under the age of 25,[13] and the team classification for the competing teams.[13] The 2013 edition of the race was won by Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali.

History[edit]

A cyclist sitting down.
Luigi Ganna the winner of the inaugural Giro d'Italia.

1908–1909: The idea and first race[edit]

The idea of the holding a bicycle race that navigated around Italy was first suggested when La Gazzetta dello Sport editor Tullo Morgagni sent a telegram to both the paper's owner, Emilio Costamagna, and cycling editor, Armando Cougnet, stating the need for an Italian tour.[14][15] At the time La Gazzetta's rival, Corriere della Sera was planning on holding a bicycle race of its own, after the success they had gained from holding an automobile race.[14][15][16] Morgagni then decided to try and hold their race before Corriere della Sera could hold theirs, but La Gazzetta lacked the money.[15] However, after the success La Gazzetta had with creating the Giro di Lombardia and Milan – San Remo, the owner Costamagna decided to go through with the idea.[15][17] Their bike race was announced on August 7, 1908 in the first page of that day's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport.[16] The race was to be held in May of 1909.[16] The idea of the race was inspired by the Tour de France and the success that L'Auto had gained from it.[2][17]

Since the organizers lacked the funds, 25,000 lira,[14] needed to hold the race, they consulted Primo Bongrani, an accountant at the bank Cassa di Risparmio and friend of the three organizers. Bongrani proceeded to go around Italy asking for donations to help hold the race.[15] Bongrani's efforts were largely successful, he had procured enough money to cover the operating costs.[15] The money that was to be given out as prizes came from a casino in San Remo after Francesco Sghirla, a former Gazzetta employee, encouraged it to contribute to the race.[14][15] Even Corriere, La Gazzetta's rival, gave 3,000 lire to the race's fund.[14]

On 13 May 1909 at 02:53 am 127 riders started the first Giro d'Italia at Loreto Place in Milan.[2][16] The race was split into eight stages covering 2,448 km (1,521 mi).[16] A total of 49 riders finished, with Italian Luigi Ganna winning.[16][18] Ganna won three individual stages and the General Classification.[18] Ganna received 5325 lira as a winner’s prize, with the last rider in the general classification receiving 300 lira.[16] The Giro's director received only 150 lira a month, 150 lira fewer than the last-placed rider.[16]

1910–1924: Italian domination[edit]

During these years, and up until 1950, the winners of the Giro d'Italia were exclusively of Italian descent.[19] The 1909 edition of the Giro was such a success that the organizers added two more stages and over 500 km (311 mi) to the race.[20] The organizers also restructured the point distribution to determine the overall leader; the stage winner would get one point for finishing first, second place got two points, and so on until the 51st and up finishers, who would just receive 51 points.[20] The first non-Italian stage winner, Jean-Baptiste Dortignacq, came in the 1910 edition of the race; he won the second stage of the race.[20] Carlo Galetti led from stage two until the finish.[20][21] The 1911 Giro d'Italia was the first Giro to not have the start or finish of the race in Milan.[22] The start and finish for the race was in the Italian capital, Rome – in order to celebrate Italy's 50th anniversary of unification.[22] The 1911 edition also saw the first foreign rider to lead the race, the Frenchmen Lucien Petit-Breton, and the first repeat winner of the race, Carlo Galetti.[22][23]

The 1912 Giro d'Italia saw some big changes to how the general classification was to be run, while still being based around a point system.[24] The race was to be centered around the team instead of the individual, meaning that the leader of the race would be a team instead of an individual. Teams were allowed only four riders for each squad.[24][25] The changes to the general classification was met with strong opposition from the start.[24] Fourteen teams lined up at the start in Milan.[24][25] Team Atala, which consisted of Luigi Ganna, Carlo Galetti, Eberardo Pavesi, and Giovanni Micheletto, led the race from start to finish.[24][25][26] Luigi Ganna was the only member of Team Atala that didn't finish the race, he dropped out during the fifth stage. Galetti became the first three time winner of the Giro d'Italia.[24]

A cyclist having his picture taken.
Costante Girardengo was the first rider to lead a Giro d'Italia from start to finish.

Next year's race was the last Giro to be run with a points system.[27] The Giro's peloton that year was completely Italian.[27] The race saw the first appearance of Costante Girardengo, who would win the sixth stage, and come to dominate the Giro in the future.[27] Carlo Oriani, who had just gotten out of serving the Italian military in the Italo-Turkish War, won the race by six points over the second place finisher, Eberardo Pavesi.[27][28][29] The 1914 Giro d'Italia saw the calculation of the general classification shift from a points system to a time based system.[30] Riders would now have their finishing times for each stage totaled together to determine the overall leader.[30] Eighty-one riders entered the 1914 edition of the race, but only eight of them finished the race completely.[30][31] The grueling race was won by Alfonso Calzolari, who won by almost two hours over the second place finisher.[30][31] A Giro was planned for 1915, but the plans were scrapped when Italy entered World War I.[30] After the war ended, the race resumed in 1919.[1][32]

The 1919 edition of the race navigated through the ruined parts of Northern Italy, which made it hard for the organizers.[32] Costante Girardengo, the winner of the Giro that year, became the first rider to lead the Giro from start to finish.[32] In route to winning the Giro, Girardengo won seven of the ten stages that comprised that year's Giro.[2] The Giro also witnessed its first foreign rider to place on the podium in Marcel Buysse.[32] Buysse finished third overall, just a little over an hour slower than Girardengo.[32] Next year's Giro began with close to fifty riders and finished with just ten of those fifty riders.[33] The first stage of the 1920 Giro d'Italia briefly went into Switzerland, which was the first time that the Giro had ever left its home country of Italy.[33] Girardengo, the winner of the previous year's Giro, was widely believed to be the favorite, but the injuries sustained from crashes in the second stage forced him to withdraw from the race.[33] Gaetano Belloni capitalized on Girardengo's troubles, along with Giuseppe Olivieri, the race leader after stage 1, and Carlo Galetti's withdrawals in the second stage, to win the stage and take the lead.[33] Belloni went on to win the Giro, proving to those who called him "the Eternal Second" that he could win a race.[33]

Costante Girardengo won the first four stages of the 1921 Giro d'Italia and led the race through the first four days.[34] During the fifth stage, Girardengo was involved in a crash, seeing that Girardengo was in trouble, Belloni attacked.[34] Girardengo chased for 60 km (37 mi) before calling it quits. Belloni was then the new leader after stage 5's conclusion.[34] Giovanni Brunero was the only rider close to Belloni at that point.[34] Brunero attacked during the race's seventh stage to win the stage and take the overall lead by close to a minute.[34] Brunero held that lead all the way to the finish in Milan.[34] The 1922 Giro d'Italia saw some controversy amongst the general classification contenders.[35] In the race's first stage, Giovanni Brunero received an illegal wheel change – Brunero took a wheel from his teammate Alfredo Sivocci – and Brunero was ultimately penalized 25 minutes.[35] Costante Girardengo and Gaetono Belloni, along with their respective teams Maino and Bianchi, wanted Brunero to be expelled from the Giro for the illegal wheel change.[35] Both the Maino and Bianchi squads eventually withdrew from the Giro due to their outrage with the organizer's decision to give Brunero a 25 minute penalty.[35] Brunero went on to win the Giro d'Italia, his second one of his career.[35]

The 1923 Giro d'Italia was dominated by Costante Girardengo, he won eight out of the ten stages that made up that year's Giro.[36] Girardengo wasn't able to distance himself too far from his stiffest competition, he won the Giro by only thirty-seven seconds over the second place finisher Giovanni Brunero.[36] This was Girardengo's second career win of the Giro d'Italia.[36] Girardengo, Brunero, and Gaetano Belloni didn't start the 1924 edition due to an argument over the start money.[37] Their choice not to participate gave the other general classification hopefuls a bigger chance to win the Giro.[37] Giuseppe Enrici cemented his lead of the race, after his performance during the horrid weather conditions in stage eight.[37] This was Enrici's biggest win in his career. The 1924 edition of the Giro also saw the only woman to ever compete in the history of the Giro d'Italia, Alfonsina Strada.[16][37] She was eliminated from the race after the seventh stage, but the organizers allowed her to race the stages still; however she wouldn't be included in the general classification.[37] Strada made it all the way to the Giro's finish in Milan; she finished around twenty hours slower than the winner Enrici.[16][37]

A group of people riding bikes down a hill.
A group of riders during the 1925 Giro d'Italia.

1925–1935: The Binda years[edit]

The 1925 Giro d'Italia saw the emergence of a new star, Alfredo Binda.[38] Despite winning six stages of the Giro, Costante Girardengo did not win the Giro.[38] Binda gained the lead after the fifth stage, when he and a few other general classification contenders attacked while Girardengo was repairing a flat tire on his bike.[38] Girardengo moved back up to second overall after the incident in stage five, but he couldn't overpower Alfredo Binda.[38] Next year's Giro had 204 riders start in Milan, but only 40 of those riders made it back to the finish in Milan.[39] In the first stage of the race, Alfredo Binda crashed and lost a great deal of time.[39] Binda then began to work for his teammate, Giovanni Brunero.[39] Binda won six of the stages in the race, while leading Brunero to his record third Giro d'Italia victory.[39]

The 1927 Giro d'Italia was dominated by Alfredo Binda.[40] On the way to his victory, Binda won a record twelve stages; a record which still stands today.[2][40] Alfredo Binda also led the Giro from start to finish, which had previously only been done by Costante Girardengo (in 1919).[40] The organizers made some changes to the race that year, the stage winner now received a one minute time bonus and stages were now occasionally run on consecutive days, where before they had at least one rest day before each stage.[40] Binda returned the next year to win six of the twelve stages, along with the Giro itself.[41] Binda first captured the lead after the fourth stage, where he distanced himself greatly from his competitors.[41] Binda became the second person to win three Giro d'Italias in their career.[41] That year also saw a record number of participants at 298 riders, with 126 of those reaching the finish in Milan.[41]

In 1929 Alfredo Binda dominated once again.[42] On the way to his third consecutive, and fourth career, Giro d'Italia victory, Binda won a record eight consecutive stages.[42][43] This Giro began in Rome, which was the second time that the Giro hadn't began in Milan in the history of its running.[42] When Binda came to the finish in Milan, he was booed by some of the spectators, which bothered him greatly.[42] The next year, Binda was paid 22,500 lire, the same amount of money the winner of the Giro would get, not to participate in the Giro.[2][44] Binda's absence left the field open for everyone else.[44] The eventual winner, Luigi Marchisio, gained the lead after winning the third stage of the race and held it all the way to the finish in Milan.[44] Marchisio held a slim fifty-two second lead for the last six stages of the race to the finish in Milan. Marchisio became the youngest rider to win the Giro at 21 years, 1 month, and 13 days; his record stood for ten years before being broken by Fausto Coppi.[44]

A man standing and drinking from a water bottle.
Alfredo Binda (right) was the first rider to win the Giro d'Italia five times.

The famed race leader's maglia rosa, pink jersey, was introduced in the 1931 edition of the Giro.[16][45] The color pink was chosen for the leader's jersey since La Gazzetta dello Sport printed its news on a pink paper.[16] The maglia rosa was first worn by Learco Guerra, who won the first stage of the race.[16][45] Alfredo Binda returned to the Giro, only to retire while leading during the sixth stage.[45] The eventual winner, Francesco Camusso, attacked during the eleventh stage to claim the lead of the race.[45] Binda came into the 1932 Giro d'Italia in bad form, so he decided to work for his teammate Antonio Pesenti.[46] The German Hermann Buse gained the lead of the Giro from the second stage to the sixth stage, in doing so he became the first German to lead the Giro.[46] During the seventh stage of the race, Pesenti gained the lead of the race by winning the stage by means of a solo attack.[46] Pesenti held the lead to the end of the race.[46]

The Mountains classification was introduced in the 1933 Giro d'Italia, along with the first individual time trial.[47] The organizers also expanded the Giro's total stage number to 17, it had been around twelve the few preceding years.[47] Alfredo Binda gained the lead after the second stage, but he lost it to Jef Demuysere after the fifth stage.[47] Binda gained it back after the eighth stage, where he gained a six minute lead over Demuysere.[47] Binda won the next three stages, while further his lead over the rest of the competition. Binda would go on to win the Giro by a twelve minute margin over Demuysere.[47] Along with winning the general classification, Binda also won the inaugural mountains classification.[16][47] By winning the Giro again, Binda became the first five-time winner of the Giro d'Italia.[47] Learco Guerra won ten of the seventeen stages that comprised the 1934 Giro d'Italia.[48] Guerra's biggest challenge proved to be Francesco Camusso, after Alfredo Binda abandoned the race after being hit by a police motorcycle.[48][49] Camusso gained the lead after his stage thirteen performance.[48] Stage fourteen was a time trial, and Camusso was a pure climber; while Guerra on the other hand was a quality time trialist.[48] Guerra gained close to a four minute lead over Camusso.[48] Guerra and Camusso battled all the way to Milan, but Guerra won by a margin of fifty-one seconds over Camusso.[48]

The 1935 edition of the Giro saw some changes to how it was run; the organizers removed the time bonuses for winning stages and the organizers first added half stages, to this Giro.[50] This Giro also saw the last participation of Alfredo Binda and the first participation of Gino Bartali; Bartali won his first stage in this Giro, he won stage six.[50] The eventual winner, Vasco Bergamaschi, gained the lead briefly after the first stage.[50] He later regained the lead after the sixth stage of the race.[50] Bergamaschi originally came to the Giro to work for his teammate, the great Costante Girardengo.[50]

1936–1953: Bartali and Coppi battle for supremacy[edit]

A man wearing a cycling jersey while signing an autograph.
Fausto Coppi won the Giro d'Italia a record five times.

Due to Italy's political stance at the time, the 1936 Giro d'Italia saw no foreign participation.[51] The organizers of the race also included the first uphill individual time trial in the Giro's history; the time trial went 20 km (12 mi) up to the summit of Monte Terminillo.[51] Gino Bartali took the lead of the race by attacking on the final climb of the hilly ninth stage of the race.[51] Bartali held that lead all the way to Milan.[2] Along with the general classification, Bartali won his second consecutive mountains classification title.[51] For the 1937 Giro d'Italia the organizers decided to include the Dolomites for the first time in the history of the Giro d'Italia.[2][52][53] In addition to that, the organizers included the first team time trial in the Giro's history.[53] The team time trial lasted 62 km (39 mi) and was won by Legnano, the team of the eventual winner Gino Bartali.[53] Bartali displayed his dominance in the mountains and gained the lead after the uphill stage 8a time trial.[53] Bartali carried the maglia rosa all the way to Milan, winning his second consecutive Giro d'Italia.[2][53]

Gino Bartali, the winner of the 1936 and 1937 Giro d'Italias, was ordered by the Italian government to race the Tour de France instead of the Giro in 1938.[54] Giovanni Valetti, the eventual winner, took the lead of the 1938 Giro d'Italia after the mountainous ninth stage.[54] Valetti had a lead of a minute and a half after that stage, but he built upon his lead as the Giro went on.[54] He finished almost nine minutes ahead of the second place rider Ezio Cecchi.[54] The 1939 Giro d'Italia was a battle between Gino Bartali and Giovanni Valetti.[55] The race had been led primarily Cino Cinelli early on; Cinelli lost the lead to Secondo Magni after stage 9a.[55] Magni lost the lead to Giovanni Valetti after the stage 9b individual time trial.[55] Valetti lost the lead to Gino Bartali in the fifteenth stage after he had attacked on the Passo Rolle.[55] Bartali would lose the lead to Valetti after flatting multiple times and crashing in the sixteenth stage.[55] Valetti would go on to win his second consecutive Giro d'Italia, while Bartali left the Giro with his fourth mountains classification title.[52][55]

Bartali came to the 1940 Giro d'Italia with a strong Legnano team and high ambitions to win the overall crown.[56] His hopes were derailed when he crashed in the race's second stage and lost a good deal of time.[56] Fausto Coppi was then promoted to the new team leader after Bartali's misfortunes.[56] Coppi took the lead after attacking on the Abetone in the race's eleventh stage.[56][57] Coppi managed to keep the lead of the race all the way to the race's finish in Milan, where he officially won his first Giro d'Italia.[56] Coppi became the youngest rider to ever win the Giro at 20 years, 8 months and 25 days old, breaking the record that was held by Luigi Marchisio.[58] Bartali didn't leave the Giro empty handed, he won two stages near the end of the race along with the mountains classification.[56] World War II brought the Giro's annual running to a halt after the 1940 edition.[1][56] Coppi was put into the Italy's services, he served in Tunisia; while Bartali went to the Vatican after 1942 racing season.[59]

A man wearing a striped jersey with the colors: green, white, and red.
Fiorenzo Magni won the Giro d'Italia in 1948 Giro d'Italia by a margin of eleven seconds.

Benito Mussolini, Italy's dictator at the time, tried to keep the bicycle races going while Italy was involved in the Second World War.[60] The Giro consumed so much gasoline, food, and other supplies that it would hurt Italy's efforts towards the war, so the Giro that people were familiar with wasn't run.[60] The government created a new "point series" Giro that would comprise the major one day races that were run in Italy, where the riders would earn points based on their placing in each race.[60] Some of the notable races that comprised this "Giro" were the Milan – San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia.[60] The new "point series" Giro was first won by Gino Bartali in 1942.[60] The 1943 edition of the government's Giro was interrupted after Allie forces landed in Sicily and after Mussolini was deposed.[60] After Mussolini's reign ended, bicycle racing came to a complete stop in Italy.[60]

The Giro resumed its annual running in 1946.[61] The organizers added the black jersey, or the maglia nera, for the last rider in the overall classification.[62] Bartali and Coppi returned to the Giro, but this time they were on separate teams.[61] Coppi was put into difficulty in stage nine, where he lost a good deal of time.[61] During the twelfth stage of the race, the route was set to pass through Pieris on the way to Trieste.[61] In Pieris, there were some Yugoslavs who threw stones at some armed Italian guards.[61] Gunfire erupted soon and the stage was ultimately cancelled, with close to twenty riders being escorted to Trieste.[61] There were also riots that took place in Trieste since Yugoslavia and Italy both claimed that as part of their territory.[61] Bartali first gained the lead after the thirteenth stage of the race.[61] Bartali would hold that lead to the finish in Milan without winning a stage in the race.[2][61] In addition to winning the general classification, Bartali won the mountains classification.[61]

The 1947 Giro d'Italia was the first Giro to have all competing riders be a part of a trade team, rather than some competing as independents.[63] Although Fausto Coppi won the fourth stage, Bartali took the early lead of the race as the two riders, along with Aldo Ronconi, broke away on the ascent of the Abetone and raced into Prato.[63] Bartali held that lead until the sixteenth stage, where he lost the lead to Fausto Coppi.[63] During the sixteenth stage Bartali's chain dropped on the climb of the Falzarego, Coppi saw this and attacked.[63] The same misfortune struck Coppi on the descent of the Falzarego, which allowed Bartali to rejoin him.[63] Coppi attacked on the Passo Pordoi, but this time Bartali could not keep up. Coppi went on to win the stage and gain the overall lead, which he held all the way to Milan.[63] The 1948 Giro d'Italia featured the smallest margin of victory between any competing riders in the history of the Giro d'Italia; Fiorenzo Magni won by eleven seconds over Ezio Cecchi.[64] Magni set up his victory by being a part of the breakaway that succeeded in the race's ninth stage.[64] Magni gained close to thirteen minutes on the favorites of the race in Bartali and Coppi.[64] Ezio Cecchi briefly gained the lead of the race for two stages, but Magni regained the lead after the seventeenth stage which saw the race travel over the Pordoi Pass.[64] Fausto Coppi and his team, Bianchi, suspected Magni to have received help from the spectators; Magni was ultimately given a two minute penalty.[64] The penalty to Magni wasn't enough to prevent him from winning the race, but he did so by the slimmest of margins.[64]

A cyclist wearing a jersey with a cross on it.
The Swiss rider Hugo Koblet was the first foreign rider to win the Giro d'Italia.

Fausto Coppi returned to the Giro in 1949 with aims to win again.[65] After the ninth stage of the race, Coppi was close to ten minutes behind the race leader Adolfo Leoni.[65] However, Coppi made up over nine minutes on the Leoni during the tenth stage.[65] One of the most iconic moments of the 1949 edition of the Giro was the seventeenth stage.[57][65] Coppi attacked off the start and was the first over the five major climbs during the stage; he rode into stage's finish in Pinerolo eleven minutes ahead of his rival Gino Bartali.[65] Coppi also gained the race lead after his stage seventeen performance.[65] Coppi went on to win the Giro, bringing his total to three Giro d'Italia victories.[65][66] Coppi came into the 1950 Giro d'Italia as the prime favorite to win the general classification; however, misfortune struck as he broke his pelvis in the race's ninth stage.[19][67] The race was led early on by the Swiss rider Fritz Schär.[19] Hugo Koblet attacked during the race's eighth stage to gain the overall lead.[19] Koblet attacked on the stage's major ascent, the Pian delle Fugazze.[19] Koblet went on to win the stage, along with taking the lead of the race.[19] Koblet kept the lead all the way to the Giro's finish in Milan and in doing so he became the first foreigner to win the Giro d'Italia.[2][19][68] In addition to the general classification, Koblet also won the mountains classification.[19]

Almost three years after his first Giro d'Italia victory, Fiorenzo Magni won the Giro d'Italia again.[69] Magni's victory in the 1951 Giro d'Italia didn't come without strong opposition.[69] Magni's major rival in the 1951 edition of the Giro was the Belgian Rik Van Steenbergen, who performed very well in the Dolomites.[69] Magni sealed his second Giro victory by descending down the final climb of the eighteenth stage; to gain the overall lead of the race.[69][70] The 1952 Giro d'Italia featured one of the first deaths, if not the first, by a rider in the Giro; Orfeo Ponsin died after crashing into a tree on the descent of the Merluzza.[71] The eventual winner, Fausto Coppi, first gained the lead after attacking on the Passo Pordoi and riding the rest of the tenth stage by himself.[71] Coppi won two stages after gaining the lead of the race, which further cemented his lead in the race.[71][72]

The Swiss rider Hugo Koblet gained the lead of the 1953 Giro d'Italia after the race's stage eight individual time trial.[73] Koblet defended the successfully lead from Fausto Coppi up until the twentieth stage.[73] The twentieth stage's major feature was that it contained the Passo dello Stelvio.[73] Koblet, who had overused amphetamines the night before, seemed uneasy throughout the stage.[73] While climbing the Stelvio, Nino Defilippis attacked and Koblet followed but displayed signs of weakness.[73] Coppi, after hearing about Koblet's drug use, attacked and passed Koblet and Defilippis.[73] Coppi went on to win the stage by a little over two minutes and he also gained enough time over Koblet to take the lead of the race.[73][74][75] Coppi went on to win the Giro d'Italia, bringing his total to a record tying five Giro d'Italia victories.[73][74][75]

1954–1967: Italian supremacy challenged[edit]

A man wearing a beige jacket while sitting.
Charly Gaul won the Giro d'Italia twice in his career.

The 1954 Giro d'Italia saw the Swiss rider Carlo Clerici win the race and become the second non-Italian rider to win the Giro.[76] The tensions at the start were high as the organizers paid Fausto Coppi a large sum to participate in the race, which angered the peloton and ultimately led to the race being not highly contested.[76] This was extremely evident on the race's twenty-first stage when the riders took over nine hours to complete the 222 km (138 mi) stage. Clerici attacked during the race's sixth stage and gained enough of a time advantage over the rest of the peloton to last himself to the race's conclusion.[76][77][78] A strike erupted during the twenty-first stage over and led to a ten hour walk.[76] This was also the last edition that Gino Bartali competed in; he finished his career at the Giro with three overall and seven mountains classification victories.[76] Gastone Nencini led a good amount of the Giro in 1955 before the eventual winner Fiorenzo Magni took the lead away.[79] Magni attacked with Fausto Coppi during the race's twentieth stage after his fellow competitors had to stop to change their tires; Magni gained over nine minutes on Nencini.[79][80][81] This was Magni's third and final career Giro d'Italia victory.[79][80][81]

The 1956 edition of the Giro was run as scheduled until the race's twenty-first stage that stretched from Merano to the summit finish on Monte Bondone, a mountain in the Dolomites.[82] The stage was bitterly cold with temperatures reaching close to −10 °C (14 °F) which ultimately forced over sixty riders to abandon the race, even the race leader Pasquale Fornara.[82] Charly Gaul attacked during the stage and went on to win it, while also gaining enough time to take the lead and hold it until the race's finish.[82][83][84] After the Gaul crossed the stage's finish, he was taken to the hospital since his jersey was stuck to his skin.[85] By winning the Giro, Gaul became the first Luxembourgian rider to win the Giro d'Italia.[82][83][84] Charly Gaul was leading the 1957 Giro d'Italia during the eighteenth stage.[86] When Gaul stopped to urinate during that stage, his fierce rival Louison Bobet and general classification contenders Gastone Nencini and Miguel Poblet attacked.[86] Gaul wound up losing the lead to Nencini; however, Gaul took out his frustration by aiding Nencini with his bid to win the Giro that year so that Bobet would not win the race.[86] With Gaul's help, Nencini went on to win the Giro d'Italia by nineteen seconds over Louison Bobet.[2][86][87][88]

Italian Ercole Baldini took the lead of the 1958 Giro d'Italia after winning the race's mountainous, fifteenth stage to Bosco Chiesanuova.[2][89][90][91] Baldini went on to have arguably his best season where he won the Men's Road Race at the World Championships and the Italian Men's Road Race.[2][89] This was also the last Giro that Fausto Coppi participated in, before dying two years later.[89] The 1959 Giro d'Italia featured Jacques Anquetil and Charly Gaul vying for the overall title.[92] Anquetil held the lead of the race going into the penultimate stage of the race.[92] Gaul stated openly that he was going to attack on the slopes of the Piccolo San Bernardo leading Anquetil to mark him for most of the stage.[92] True to his word, Gaul attacked as the riders made their way up the Piccolo San Bernardo.[92] Anquetil, who had eaten poorly during the stage was unable to counter his attacks.[92] Gaul went on to win the stage and gain close to ten minutes on Anquetil, which would be sufficient enough to win him the Giro d'Italia that year.[92][93]

A man wearing a cycling jersey while smiling.
Jacques Anquetil, the first French winner of the Giro.

The 1960 Giro d'Italia saw the first French rider, Jacques Anquetil, win the Giro d'Italia.[2][94] Anquetil captured the lead after dominating the lengthy stage 14 time trial from Seregno to Lecco.[94] Anquetil's lead was strained during the race's penultimate stage where the riders crossed the Gavia Pass.[94] While on the ascent of the Gavia, Gastone Nencini attacked and Anquetil could not counter due to suffering many bike issues.[94] Overall, Anquetil's lead was reduced to twenty-eight seconds which was enough to last to the remainder of the Giro.[94][95] Arnaldo Pambianco captured his lone Giro victory after his efforts in a breakaway on the 1961 edition's fourteenth stage gave him the race lead.[96][97]

The 1962 edition of the Giro d’Italia was marred by severe weather conditions.[98] The fourteenth stage was shortened following a violent storm which prevented the climbing of the last two scheduled mountain passes and moved the stage finish to the top of the Passo Rolle.[98] Angelino Soler won the race's sixteenth stage, with Franco Balmamion finishing second on the stage and taking the race lead.[98] Balmamion successfully defended the lead all the way to the race's finish in Milan.[98][99] Balmamion repeated as champion the next year after gaining the lead after the nineteenth stage that contained six hard climbs.[100][101]

Jacques Anquetil took the race lead at the 1964 Giro d'Italia after the stage five individual time trial and then held it all the way to the race's conclusion in Milan.[2][102][103] Anquetil then went on to win the 1964 Tour de France and became the second rider to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same calendar year.[102][104][105] The 1965 Giro d'Italia was won by Vittorio Adorni after he gained a large lead from the 58 km (36 mi) individual time trial that comprised stage 13.[106] This edition also saw the introduction of the Cima Coppi in honor of Fausto Coppi.[106] The Cima Coppi awards more points towards the mountains classification than any other climb in the Giro.[106] Next year's race saw the introduction of the points classification which was to awarded the most consistent high finishing riders in the peloton, specifically the sprinters.[16][107] The classification was first won by Italian Gianni Motta, who also won the race itself.[16][107] Motta originally had come to ride for Jacques Anquetil, but after Anquetil lost time early on, he rode for Motta.[107] Motta then rode well through the mountains, gained the lead after the race's fifteenth stage, and then held it to the end of the race.[107][108]

Felice Gimondi won the 1967 Giro d'Italia after attacking during the race's twenty first stage.[109] Gimondi attacked on the slopes of the Tonale and race leader Jacques Anquetil was not able to match his move.[109] Gimondi wound up gaining the overall lead by over three minutes on Anquetil.[109][110] Gimondi raced into Milan the next day en route to his first Giro d'Italia victory.[109][110] This edition of the Giro was also the first Giro d'Italia ridden by Eddy Merckx, who won the twelfth and fourteenth stage.[109]

1968–1996: Foreign domination[edit]

A man wearing a blazer and collard shirt while looking at a camera.
Eddy Merckx won the Giro d'Italia a record five times in his career.

The 1968 Giro d'Italia saw two important firsts: the first tests for drug use and the first prologue.[111] A total of eight riders tested positive during the Giro.[111] Belgian Eddy Merckx won his first Giro d'Italia after winning the twelfth stage's finish atop the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and also regaining the race lead.[111][112] En route to the overall victory, Merckx won four stages.[111] Merckx returned in 1969 and was leading the race after the sixteenth stage that ended in Savona.[113] Merckx tested positive for a banned substance after the stage and was subsequently disqualified from the race; to this day Merckx still proclaims his innocence.[113] Felice Gimondi took the lead after Merckx's dismissal and held it all the way to the race's conclusion.[113][114]

Merckx came back the following year to liking of his sponsor.[115] Merckx took the lead after stage five and never relinquished it; he dominated the lengthy stage nine time trial.[115][116] Merckx went on to win the Tour de France and in doing so became the third rider to win two Grand Tours in a single calendar year.[115] In 1971, reigning champion Merckx decided to ride the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré instead.[117] Felice Gimondi lost substantial time early on in the race to put him out of contention, while fellow Italian and teammate Gianni Motta tested positive for banned substances and was dismissed from the Giro.[117] Swedish cyclist Gösta Pettersson gained the lead after the race's eighteenth stage and held it all the way to the finish.[117][118] Pettersson became the first Swedish cyclist to win a Grand Tour.[117][118]

Merckx returned to the Giro in 1972 and resumed his domination. He grabbed the lead after a long solo attack during the race's seventh stage and never let go of the lead.[119][120] Merckx led the 1973 Giro d'Italia from start to finish; a feat that had not been done since Alfredo Binda did in 1927.[121][122] José Manuel Fuente gained the lead early on in 1974 and held it all the way up to the Giro's fourteenth stage.[123] Fuente had forgotten to eat properly during the fourteenth stage and suffered because of it; he lost over ten minutes to Merckx.[123] Merckx would go on to win his fifth and final Giro d'Italia, joining the likes of Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi as the only five-time winners of the Giro d'Italia.[123][124] Merckx success continued on into the season as he won the Tour de France and the men's road race at the World Championships and became the first rider to complete the Triple Crown of Cycling – which consists of winning two Grand Tours and the men's road race at the World Championships in one calendar year.[125]

With the absence of Merckx from the 1975 edition due to illness, the competition increased between the other riders.[126] Fausto Bertoglio and Francisco Galdós battled during the latter half of the race.[126] The final stage of the race had a summit finish on the Passo dello Stelvio where Bertoglio fended off the attacks of Galdós to seal his overall victory.[126][127] Johan de Muynck was in the lead of the 1976 Giro d'Italia when he crashed during the twentieth stage.[128] Muynck's injuries prevented him from performing well in the next day's individual time trial.[128] Felice Gimondi capitalized on Muynck's woes and took the lead on the final day of racing and went on to win his second Giro d'Italia.[128][129] This was the last Giro that Merckx raced; he finished eighth overall.[128]

A man wearing glasses while looking away from the camera.
Bernard Hinault won Giro d'Italia three times in his career.

Freddy Maertens and Francesco Moser dominated the early portion of the 1977 Giro d'Italia.[130] Belgian Michel Pollentier took the lead from Moser when the race hit the high mountains near the end of the race. Pollentier went on to win the penultimate stage en route to his lone Grand Tour victory of his career.[130][131] Johan de Muynck first grabbed the lead of the 1978 Giro d'Italia after escaping during the third stage and soloing to victory.[132] He then successfully defended his slim lead throughout the rest of the race and won the Giro.[132][133] The 1979 edition featured less climbing than normal and a total of five time trials.[134] Francesco Moser grabbed the early lead of the race after winning the first two time trials of the race.[134] Giuseppe Saronni took the lead after the third time trial which ended in San Marino.[134] Saronni then rode into Milan with over a two minute lead over Moser to win the Giro.[134][135]

Bernard Hinault's Giro d'Italia was in 1980.[136] Up until the twentieth stage, the race was being dominated by the Italian competitors.[136] During the twentieth stage, Hinault and teammate Jean-René Bernaudeau distanced themselve from the general classification contenders on the slopes of the Passo dello Stelvio and rode into to Sondrio for the stage win.[136] Bernaudeau won the stage, but Hinault took a sizable lead over the rest of the field – which he then held to the race's conclusion in Milan.[2][136][137] The 1981 Giro d'Italia was hotly contested, with four riders being 30 seconds apart after twenty days of racing.[138] Stage 20 saw the finish atop the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.[138] Giovanni Battaglin took the lead by almost a minute over the second place rider after doing well on the climb of the Lavaredo.[138][139] Battaglin won the Giro after putting in a solid performance in the race's final stage, an individual time trial.[138][139]

Bernard Hinault returned to the Giro in 1982.[140] Hinault dominated the race with stage wins in every time trial stage and stage wins atop the Campitello Matese and the Montecampione en route to the overall victory.[140][141] Hinault would go on to win the Tour de France that year as well and complete the coveted Giro-Tour double.[140] The 1983 Giro d'Italia featured few hard stages in the mountains and four time trials.[142] The winner of the race, Giuseppe Saronni, gained the lead after the race's seventh stage that finished in Salerno.[142] From there, Saronni won two more stages and successfully guarded his lead all the way to Milan to win his second Giro d'Italia.[142][143]

The 1984 Giro d'Italia was a battle between Italian Francesco Moser and Frenchman Laurent Fignon.[144] Moser was leading the race up until the mountainous stage twentieth stage that finished in Arabba.[144] Fignon took the lead after riding into Arabba over two minutes ahead of Moser.[144] Moser dashed through the course setting a blistering pace on the roads, he won the stage and the Giro due to his performance in the final stage.[144][145] Bernard Hinault raced the Giro again in 1985.[146] The race was led early on by Italian Roberto Visentini.[146] However, after the stage twelve time trial, Hinault was in control of the race.[146] He would go on to win his third Giro d'Italia.[146][147]

A man wearing a cycling uniform while riding a bike and preparing to turn.
Andrew Hampsten became the first non-European to win the Giro d'Italia in 1988.

Giuseppe Saronni led the 1986 Giro d'Italia for the majority of the race before losing it to Roberto Visentini in the Alps.[148] Visentini then fought off attacks from the challengers in the Dolomites en route to his first Giro d'Italia general classification victory.[148][149] The 1987 edition was highlighted by the controversy between Carrera Jeans-Vagabond's two general classification riders Roberto Visentini and Stephen Roche.[150] Roche led the race early on but lost the lead to Visentini after crashing during the thirteenth stage.[151] Roche attacked on the race's mountainous fifteenth stage despite orders from Carrera team management not to.[152] Roche took the lead and wound up winning the Giro.[150] Roche's success would not stop there during the 1987 season, he would go on to win the Tour de France and the men's road race at the World Championships to complete the Triple Crown of Cycling.[150]

The 1988 Giro d'Italia is remembered for the fourteenth stage that contained very poor weather throughout the stage and most notably on the slopes of the Passo di Gavia.[153] Franco Chioccioli led the race at the start of the fabled fourteenth stage.[154] On the slopes of the Gavia, Andrew Hampsten and Erik Breukink rode away from their fellow riders; Breukink would go on to win the stage, but Hampsten would take the overall lead.[155] Hampsten went on to win the race and became the first non-European to win the Giro d'Italia.[156]

Dutchman Erik Breukink gained the lead of the 1989 Giro d'Italia after winning the stage 10 individual time trial.[157] Breukink lost the lead after the fourteenth stage that contained five major passes.[157] The Frenchman Laurent Fignon took the lead of the race from Breukink and then held it all the way to the finish in Florence.[2][157][158] This was also the year the intergiro classification was introduced to the Giro d'Italia – the calculation for the intergiro is similar to that of the general classification, in each stage there is a midway point that the riders pass through a point and where their time is stopped and then totaled up after each stage.[13] Jure Pavlič was the first winner of the intergiro classification.[159] Gianni Bugno dominated the 1990 edition after gaining the lead after the first stage.[160][161] Bugno led the race from start to finish – a feat that had only been done three times before in the history of the Giro d'Italia.[160][161]

A man looking at the camera while wearing a suit.
Miguel Indurain was the first Spanish rider to win the Giro d'Italia.

Franco Chioccioli reigned supreme at the 1991 Giro d'Italia.[162] Chioccioli led the race for all but two stages.[162] He cemented his lead and the eventual overall victory by winning the seventeenth stage that contained a summit finish on the Passo Pordoi and winning the penultimate stage which was an individual time trial.[162] Miguel Indurain became the first Spanish rider to win the Giro d'Italia in 1992[163] Indurain first gained the lead of the race after the hilly third stage that led into Arrezo and then held it all the way to the finish in Milan.[163] He separated himself from his competitors during the race's two individual time trials, both of which he won.[163] Indurain would go on to ride the Tour de France in July and win it, and in doing so completed the rare Giro-Tour double.[163]

Indurain returned in 1993 to defend his crown.[164] The only rider that could compete with Indurain was the Latvian Piotr Ugrumov, who attacked Indurain repeatedly throughout the race.[164] Indurain won two stages – both time trials – en route to his second Giro d'Italia victory.[164] He would go on to complete the Giro-Tour double for the second consecutive year, a feat which had never been accomplished before.[164] The 1994 Giro d'Italia saw Russian Evgeni Berzin gain the overall lead after winning the fourth stage, featuring a summit finish on Campitello Matese.[165] Berzin consolidated his lead with victories in the race's final two time trials en route to the overall victory. In doing so he spoiled Indurain's hopes for a three peat.[165]

Tony Rominger came to the 1995 Giro d'Italia in great form.[166] Rominger gained the lead after the stage two time trial and never gave it up.[166] His opposition came from the returning champion Berzin and teammate Piotr Ugrumov who attacked each other repeatedly, which greatly hurt their chances.[166] In addition to the general classification, Rominger also won the points and intergiro classifications.[166] The 1996 Giro d'Italia celebrated the centenary of the founding of La Gazzetta dello Sport by holding the first three stages in the Greek capital of Athens.[167] Eventual winner Pavel Tonkov first gained the race lead after the mountainous thirteenth stage that ended in Prato Nevoso.[167] Tonkov lost his slim lead to the Spaniard Abraham Olano for a two stage period, before regaining it after stage 21, which contained five climbs of high severity.[167] Tonkov rode into Milan the next day winner of the Giro d'Italia.[167]

1997–2007: Italians resume conquest[edit]

A cyclist unzipping his yellow cycling jersey.
Marco Pantani completed the Giro-Tour double in 1998.

Pavel Tonkov returned to the Giro in 1997 with ambitions of repeating as winner.[168] Tonkov first led the race after winning the stage three time trial and up until the fourteenth stage's conclusion.[168] During the fourteenth stage, Italian Ivan Gotti attacked and soloed his way to take the stage win in Breuil-Cervinia and the race lead.[168] Gotti extended his lead after performing well in the mountainous nineteenth stage and went on to win the Giro three days later.[168][169] Swiss rider Alex Zülle was the first rider to lead the 1998 Giro d'Italia and he led for the most part of the race.[170] Zülle was leading the race as it entered the Dolomites.[170] Italians Giuseppe Guerini and Marco Pantani were at the head of the race during the race's mountainous seventeenth stage; the two riders worked together to get to the stage finish in Selva di Val Gardena.[170] Guerini won the stage while Pantani took the overall lead.[170] Pantani went on to win the Giro and subsequently the 1998 Tour de France, thus completing the rare feat of winning the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same calendar year.[170]

Pantani returned to the Giro in 1999 while in peak physical form.[171] Pantani gained the lead after the race's fourteenth stage and as the race hit the high mountains, he extended his lead with three stage wins.[171] On the morning of the twentieth stage, Pantani was dismissed from the Giro after having hematocrit levels above 50%.[171] 1997 victor Ivan Gotti, who was second place at the time, subsequently took the lead and wound up winning the Giro for the second time in his career.[171] Francesco Casagrande took the lead in the 2000 Giro d'Italia after a long solo attack during the race's ninth stage.[172] Fatigue set in with Casagrande as the race wore on and on the penultimate stage he lost the lead, and ultimately the Giro, to Stefano Garzelli.[172]

Dario Frigo took the lead in the 2001 Giro d'Italia after the race's fourth stage.[173] Frigo defended the lead until the thirteenth stage, when the race went over some major passes in the Dolomites.[173] During the thirteenth stage, Gilberto Simoni attacked and his labor bore fruits as he took the race leader's maglia rosa when the stage was over.[173] Frigo gained some time back in the stage fifteen time trial, but it wasn't enough to ovecome Simoni's lead.[173] Simoni went on to win the Giro d'Italia by a wide margin after Frigo's withdrawal.[173][174] Stefano Garzelli took the early lead after winning the 2002 Giro d'Italia's second stage, but soon tested positive for probenecid – a banned substance – and was forced to leave the Giro.[175][176] In the final major mountain stage of the race, stage seventeen, Paolo Savoldelli attacked with around nine kilometers to go in the stage and managed to take the lead and go on to win the Giro.[177][178]

A man signing autographs while wearing a pink and blue cycling jersey.
Damiano Cunego won the Giro in 2004.

Alessandro Petacchi was the first rider to lead the 2003 Giro d'Italia after winning the opening stage.[179] Petacchi lost the lead to Stefano Garzelli after he won the stage seven summit finish on the Monte Terminillo.[180] Garzelli then lost the lead to Gilberto Simoni after the tenth stage.[181] Simoni went on to win the Giro after expanding his lead through stage wins on the Monte Zoncolan[182] and the Alpe di Pampeago[183][184] The 2004 Giro d'Italia saw a battle between Damiano Cunego, Serhiy Honchar, and Gilberto Simoni.[185] Simoni gained the lead after the third stage and held it to the seventh stage where he lost it to Cunego.[186] Cunego held the lead until the lengthy stage twelve individual time trial when Yaroslav Popovych took the lead.[187] Cunego regained the lead after the sixteenth stage and went on to win the race, while fellow Italian Alessandro Petacchi won nine out of the 21 stages.[185]

The 2005 Giro d'Italia saw the race lead change hands multiple times within the first week of racing.[188] Ivan Basso gained the lead after the eleventh stage, which finished in Zoldo Alto.[189] Two days later, Paolo Savoldelli gained the lead after the thirteenth stage that finish in Urtijëi.[190] Savoldelli went on to win his second Giro d'Italia while fending off the attacks of Gilberto Simoni and José Rujano.[191] Ivan Basso won the 2006 Giro d'Italia in a convincing fashion.[192] Basso gained the lead after winning the race's eighth stage that featured a summit finish on the Passo Lanciano.[193] He won two more stages after taking the lead of the race en route to his overall victory.[192][194]

The race leader's pink jersey changed hands five times in the first week of racing in the 2007 Giro d'Italia. Andrea Noè took the lead away from Marco Pinotti after the race's tenth stage.[195] Noè lost the lead to Danilo Di Luca after he won the twelfth stage into Briançon.[196] Di Luca was not seriously challenged after taking the race lead in stage 12, and comfortably won the Giro in Milan with a two-minute gap over Schleck in second.[197]

2008–2013: Recent years[edit]

A man wearing a pink jersey and black shorts while holding a golden trophy.
Alberto Contador won the 2011 Giro d'Italia before being stripped of his title after being found guilty of taking banned substances.

The 2008 Giro d'Italia was led for many days by Giovanni Visconti who had gained the lead after participating in a breakaway.[198] Eventual winner Alberto Contador first took the lead of the race after the second mountain stage, to Marmolada, by finishing nearly fifteen minutes ahead of previous race leader Gabriele Bosisio – who had just gained the lead the stage before.[199] In the race's final week, Contador faced stern challenges from Riccò and defending Giro champion Danilo Di Luca; however, their efforts bore no fruits as Contador went on to win the race.[200] Russian Denis Menchov won the 2009 centennial edition of the Giro, after having taken the lead in a long time trial in stage 12, and defended it vigorously against attacks from his closest challenger, Danilo Di Luca, during the mountain stages of the final week.[201] Di Luca came in second, 41 seconds behind the winner, and won the points classification. Subsequent to the Giro, both he and third-place finisher Franco Pellizotti became embroiled in doping scandals, were given bans, and had their results stripped.[202][203]

The 2010 Giro d'Italia saw the lead change hands eight times during the race. Spanish rider David Arroyo was leading the race as it headed into the final mountain stages of the race. Arroyo lost the race lead to Ivan Basso after the nineteenth stage where he lost over three minutes to Basso.[204] Basso fended off attacks and performed adequately in the final time trial to secure his second Giro d'Italia victory.[200] Alberto Contador returned to the Giro in 2011 and was seen as the favorite for the overall victory on what many saw as a very difficult course.[205][206] Contador assumed the race lead after winning the ninth stage to Mount Etna.[207] Contador continued to increase his advantage by riding well in the remaining stages and winning the stage 16 individual time trial, which allowed him to win his second Giro d'Italia championship.[208] Contador raced the 2011 Giro despite having an ongoing trial about his possible use of clenbuterol, a banned substance.[209] On 6 February 2012 the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided that Contador should lose his 2010 Tour de France title and his results since that race, which included his Giro victory in May 2011, and receive a two-year ban.[210] After Contador's conviction, runner up Michele Scarponi was then delegated the overall victory.[211]

The 2012 Giro d'Italia saw a battle between Canadian Ryder Hesjedal and Spaniard Joaquim Rodríguez. Hesjedal first took the lead after finishing well on the seventh stage that featured a summit finish to Rocca di Cambio.[212] Rodríguez snagged a narrow lead over Hesjedal after winning the tenth stage into Assisi.[213] Hesjedal regained the lead after the mountainous fourteenth stage;[214] however, Rodríguez took it back the next day.[215] Rodríguez held that lead all the way to the final stage, which he came into with a 31 second buffer over Hesjedal.[216] Hesjedal rode and manage to finish with a time 47 seconds better than Rodríguez, giving him the overall victory in the Giro.[217] In 2013 Vincenzo Nibali took the lead after the race's eighth stage.[218] Nibali would go on to win the race after he expanded his lead through performing well in the early mountain stages and winning both the stage 18 individual time trial and the penultimate stage of the race.[219][220]

Classifications[edit]

A few riders from each to aim to win overall but there are three further competitions to draw riders of all specialties: points,[13] mountains,[13] and a classification for young riders with general classification aspirations.[13] The oldest of the four classifications is the general classification.[1][13] The leader of each aforementioned classifications wears a distinctive jersey.[13] If a rider leads more than one classification that awards, he wears the jersey of the most prestigious classification.[13] The abandoned jersey is worn by the rider who is second in the competition.[13]

General classification[edit]

A man wearing a pink jersey while holding a golden trophy.
Ryder Hesjedal, the winner of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, wearing the maglia rosa and holding the winner's trophy in Milan.

The most sought after classification in the Giro d'Italia is the general classification.[1] All of the stages are timed to the finish, after finishing the riders' times are compounded with their previous stage times; so the rider with the lowest aggregate time is the leader of the race.[1][13] The leader is determined after each stage's conclusion. The leader of the race also has the privilege to wear the race leader's pink jersey.[1][13] The jersey is presented to the leader rider on a podium in the stage's finishing town. If a rider is leading more than one classification that awards a jersey, he will wear the maglia rosa since the general classification is the most important one in the race. The lead can change after each stage. The winner of the 2013 Giro d'Italia was Vincenzo Nibali.

The color pink was chosen as the magazine that created the Giro, La Gazzetta dello Sport, printed its newspapers on pink paper.[13][16] The pink jersey was added to the race in the 1931 edition and it has since become a symbol of the Giro d'Italia.[1][16] The first rider to wear the pink jersey was Learco Guerra.[1][16] Each team brings multiple pink jerseys in advance of the Giro in case one of their riders becomes the overall leader of the race. Riders usually try to make the extra effort to keep the jersey for as long as possible in order to get more publicity for the team and the sponsor(s) of the team. Eddy Merckx wore the jersey for 78 stages, more than any other rider in the history of the Giro d'Italia.[221][222][223] Three riders have won the general classification five times in their career: Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi, and Eddy Merckx.[224]

The general classification winner was not always determined by a time system. In the inaugural Giro d'Italia the organizers chose to have a points system over a system based around elapsed time after the scandal that engulfed the 1904 Tour de France.[15] In addition to that, the organizers chose the point system since it would be cheaper to count the placings of the riders rather than clocking the riders during each stage.[15] The race leader was calculated by adding up each rider's placings in each stage and the rider with the lowest total was the leader; if a rider placed second in the first stage and third in the second stage, he would have five points total. The system was modified a year later to give the riders who placed 51st or higher in a stage 51 points and keep the point distribution system the same for the riders who placed 1st through 50th in a stage.[20] The calculation remained unmodified until 1912 where the organizers chose to have the race be centered around teams, while still keeping the point system.[24] The next year race organizers chose to revert to the system used in 1911.[27] In 1914, the organizers shifted to the system used nowadays, where riders would have their finishing times for each stage totaled together to determine the overall leader.[30]

These are the time bonuses that the riders receive for crossing the lines in the first few positions:[225]

Type 1st 2nd 3rd
Plainstage.svg Flat finish 20" 12" 8"
Intermediate Sprint 6" 4" 2"

Mountains classification[edit]

 A man riding a bike while wearing a green uniform.
Stefano Garzelli wearing the then green leader's jersey for the mountains classificaion in 2009.

The mountains classification is the second oldest jersey awarding classification in the Giro d'Italia. The mountains classification was added to the Giro d'Italia in 1933 Giro d'Italia and was first won by Alfredo Binda.[16][47] During mountain stages of the race, points are awarded to the rider who is first to reach the top of each significant climb.[16] Points are also awarded for riders who closely follow the leader up each climb.[16] The number of points awarded varies according to the hill classification, which is determined by the steepness and length of that particular hill.[13][16]

The climbers' jersey is worn by the rider who, at the start of each stage, has the largest amount of climbing points.[16] If a rider leads two or more of the categories, the climbers' jersey is worn by the rider in second, or third, place in that contest.[13] At the end of the Giro, the rider holding the most climbing points wins the classification.[13] In fact, some riders, particularly those who are neither sprinters nor particularly good at time-trialing, may attempt only to win this particular competition within the race. The Giro has four categories of mountains. They range from category 4, the easiest, to category 1, the hardest. There is also the Cima Coppi, the highest point reached in a particular Giro, which is worth more points than the race's other first-category climbs.[13] Gino Bartali has won the mountains classification a record seven times.[224]

The classification awarded no jersey to the leader until the 1974 Giro d'Italia, when the organizers decided to award a green jersey to the leader.[16] The green jersey was used until 2012, when the classification's sponsor, Banca Mediolanum, renewed its sponsorship for another four years and desired the jersey to be blue rather than green.[226] Stefano Pirazzi won the mountains classification at the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

The point distribution for the mountains is as follows:[225]

Type 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
Mountainstage.svg Cima Coppi 21 15 9 5 3 2 1
Mountainstage.svg GPM Arrival 15 9 5 3 2 1
Mountainstage.svg First Category 15 9 5 3 2 1
Mountainstage.svg Second Category 9 5 3 2 1
Mediummountainstage.svg Third Category 5 3 2 1
Mediummountainstage.svg Fourth Category 3 2 1

Points classification[edit]

A man wearing an almost all red uniform while riding a bike.
Michele Scarponi wearing the red jersey during the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

The points classification is the third oldest of the four jersey current awarding classifications in the Giro d'Italia. It was introduced in the 1966 Giro d'Italia and was first won by Gianni Motta.[16][107] Points are given to the rider who is first to reach the end of, or determined places during, any stage of the Giro. The red jersey is worn by the rider who at the start of each stage, has the largest amount of points.[16] The rider whom at the end of the Giro, holds the most points, wins the points competition. Each stage win, regardless of the stage's categorization, awards 25 points, second place is worth 20 points, third 16, fourth 14, fifth 12, sixth 10, and one point less per place down the line, to a single point for fifteenth.[225] This means that a true sprinter might not always win the points classification. The classification was added to draw the participation of the sprinters. The classification has been won four times by two riders: Francesco Moser and Giuseppe Saronni.[224] The 2013 winner of the classification was Mark Cavendish.

In addition, stages can have one or more intermediate sprints: 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 points are awarded to the first six cyclists passing these lines.[225] These points also count toward the TV classification (Traguardo Volante, or "flying sprint"), a separate award.[225]

The first year the points classification was used, it had no jersey that was given to the leader of the classification. In the 1967 Giro d'Italia, the red jersey was added for the leader of the classification.[16] However, in 1969 the red jersey was changed to a cyclamen (purple) colored jersey.[13][16] It remained that color until 2010 when the organizers chose to change the jersey back to the color red; in a return to the original color scheme for the three minor classifications, which reflected the colors of the Italian flag.[227]

The point distribution for the sprints are as follows:[225]

Type 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th
History.gif Finish/Time Trial 25 20 16 14 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Intermediate sprint 8 6 4 3 2 1

Young rider classification[edit]

A cyclist wearing a white skinsuit while riding a bike.
Riccardo Riccò wearing the maglia bianca skinsuit during a time trial at the 2008 Giro d'Italia.

The Young rider classification is restricted to the riders that are under the age of 25.[13][228] The leader of the classification is determined the same way as the general classification, with the riders' times being added up after each stage and the eligible rider with lowest aggregate time is dubbed the leader.[13][228] This classification was added to the Giro d'Italia in the 1976 edition, with Alfio Vandi being the first to win the classification after placing seventh overall.[228] The classification was not contested between the years of 1995 and 2006.[13] The classification was reintroduced in the 2007, and has been in each Giro since.[13][228] The Giro d'Italia awards a white jersey to the leader of the classification.[228] Evgeni Berzin is the only rider in the history of the Giro d'Italia to win the young rider classification and the general classification in the same year; Berzin won both classifications in 1994.[228] Two riders have won the young rider classification twice in their respective careers: Vladimir Poulnikov and Pavel Tonkov.[224] In 2013 it was won by Carlos Betancur.

Team classifications[edit]

There are two team classifications that are contested at the Giro d'Italia: the Trofeo Fast Team and the Trofeo Super Team. The Trofeo Fast Team is the older of the two as it was introduced in the first Giro d'Italia. It was first won by Atala. The Trofeo Fast Team is calculate by adding the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time.[13] The classification just called the team classification in each edition until the organizers changed it to the Trofeo Fast Team for the 1994 Giro d'Italia. Team Sky won the Trofeo Fast Team classification in 2013.

The Trofeo Super Team was introduced at the 1993 Giro d'Italia as the team points classification. The name Trofeo Super Team was adopted for the 1994 edition of the Giro and been used ever since. The classification was first won by Ariostea in 1993. The classification is a team points classification, with the top 20 placed riders on each stage earning points (20 for first place, 19 for second place and so on, down to a single point for 20th) for their team.[13] Movistar Team won the Trofeo Super Team classification in 2013.

Minor classifications[edit]

Other less well-known classifications, whose leaders did not receive a special jersey, are awarded during the Giro. These awards were based on points earned throughout the three weeks of the tour.[13] Each mass-start stage had one intermediate sprint, the Traguardo Volante, or T.V. The T.V. gave bonus seconds towards the general classification, points towards the regular points classification, and also points towards the T.V. classification. This award was known by various names in previous years, and was previously time-based.[13] In 2013 this classification was renamed to the sprints classification and was won by Rafael Andriato.

Other awards include the Combativity classification, which was a compilation of points gained for position on crossing intermediate sprints, mountain passes and stage finishes.[13] It was won by Mark Cavendish in 2013. The Azzurri d'Italia classification is based on finishing order; however, points were only awarded for the top three finishers in each stage.[13] It was also most recently won by Mark Cavendish. Additionally, the Trofeo Fuga Pinarello rewarded riders who took part in a breakaway at the head of the field, each rider in an escape of ten or fewer riders getting one point for each kilometre that the group stayed clear.[13] Vini Fantini-Selle Italia's Rafael Andriato was first in this competition in 2013. Teams were given penalty points for minor technical infringements.[13] Cannondale won the Fair Play classification after only accumulating twenty points in the 2013 edition.

Defunct classifications[edit]

In 1946 the maglia nera (black jersey) was introduced and awarded the cyclist who was last in the general classification.[62] Riders sometimes deliberately wasted time in order to become last overall and so wear the black jersey.[62] The classification was short lived, as it was last contested in the 1951 Giro d'Italia.[62] The classification was won twice by Luigi Malabrocca, who won the classification in 1946 and 1947. The last winner of the maglia nera was Giovanni Pinarello.

The intergiro classification was introduced in 1989 and first won by Yugoslavian Jure Pavlič.[16][229] In each stage there would be a point, before the finish, where the riders would be timed until they crossed the line.[16] The times from each stage would then be added together for each rider to determine the leader of the classification. The leader of the classification was awarded a blue jersey.[230] The classification was run each year since its addition until 2005.[229] The last winner of the classification was Stefano Zanini. Fabrizio Guidi won the classification three times, the most by any rider. Guidi won the classification in 1996, 1999, and 2000.[229]

There was also a combination classification that was introduced in the 1985 Giro d'Italia and was first won by Urs Freuler.[231] The classification was discontinued after the 1988 Giro d'Italia. For the 1988 edition of the Giro, the classification awarded a blue jersey.[232] However, the classification was reintroduced for the 2006 Giro d'Italia and was won by Paolo Savoldelli.[233] The classification was not brought back in the 2007 Giro d'Italia.

Types of stages[edit]

A stage is a unit of the race that covers a portion of the Giro d'Italia's route in one day. Nowadays the Giro d'Italia contains either twenty-one stages or twenty stages and a prologue, with a prologue being an individual time trial under 8 km (5 mi) in length.[225][234] There are three types of stages that are used in the Giro d'Italia: the mass-start stages, individual time trials, and team time trials.[225][235] The mass-start stages make up most of the twenty-one racing days of each year's Giro d'Italia.[235] Individual time trials are used at least twice per each edition of the Giro d'Italia. The team time trials, on the other hand, are used once per each race if they are included by the organizers.[225][235] Italian Mario Cipollini's 42 stage victories are the most in the history of the Giro d'Italia, while Alfredo Binda has the second most with 41.[236][237]

Mass-start stages[edit]

A group of cyclists riding through the country.
The peloton in stage 7 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

Most of the stages in the race are usually mass-start stages, with the whole peloton starting together.[225] Mass-start stages begin in different towns with a send off to gain publicity, the riders ride without racing.[225] The riders then ride a few kilometers around the stage's start town before reaching kilometer zero, where the race director then waves a flag to start the stage's racing.[225] Once the flag is waved there are usually attacks by the riders to form a breakaway.

Riders are permitted to touch, but not push or nudge, each other. The first to cross the line wins. On flat stages or stages with low hills, which generally predominate in the first week, this leads to spectacular mass sprints.

All riders in a group finish in the same time as the lead rider, which helps avoid dangerous mass sprints.[225] It is not unusual for the entire field to finish in a group, taking time to cross the line but being credited with the same time. When riders fall or crash within the final 3 kilometers of a stage with a flat finish, they are awarded the same time as the group they were in before they crashed.[225] This change encourages riders to sprint to the finish for points awards without fear of losing time to the group. The final kilometer of racing is indicated by a red banner on an arch that also reads "Arrivo."[225]

Time bonuses were awarded in the Giro for finishing high in the stages, in the first three positions. The stage's first placed rider receives twenty seconds, second placed twelve seconds, and the third placed rider receives six seconds.[225]

Mountains stages[edit]

The Giro d'Italia is known for its steep and difficult climbs. Each race features a few stages that contain many climbs of high severity. The race traditionally passes through the Alps and the Dolomites. The first Alpine pass included was the Sestriere in 1911.[22] The Dolomites were first included in the Giro in 1937, when the race crossed over the Rolle Pass and the Passo di Costalunga.[52][53] Some of the most famous mountains used in the Giro are the Passo dello Stelvio,[238] Passo Pordoi, and the Passo di Gavia. Since 1965 the highest point in the Giro d'Italia has been dubbed the Cima Coppi in honor of the great Italian climber Fausto Coppi.[106]

Stages in the mountains often cause major shifts in the general classification. On ordinary stages, most riders stay in the peloton to the finish; however during mountain stages, it is not uncommon for riders to lose 30 minutes or to be eliminated after finishing outside the time limit.[225]

Individual time trials[edit]

A cyclist wearing a pink skinsuit while riding a bike.
Alberto Contador riding a time trial during the 2008 Giro d'Italia.

Riders in a time trial compete individually against the clock.[225][235] If the first stage of the Giro is a time trial, then order is determined by a draw to establish the team's sequence.[225] Once the team's order is chosen, then the teams can choose the starting order.[225] If the incumbent winner of the Giro d'Italia is participating, he will start last.[225] The riders are given staggered start times between one and three minutes.[225] Once the first stage has been run and the general classification standing has been established, the riders' start order is determined by the inverse standings of the general classification, with the highest ranked person going last and the lowest ranked person going first.[225] The first time trial was in the 1933 Giro d'Italia; it was between Bologna and Ferrara, and stretched 62 km (39 mi).[47] The first time trial was won by Alfredo Binda.[47]

The first stage in modern Giros is often a short trial, a prologue, to decide who wears pink on the opening day. To be classified as a prologue, the time trial must be shorter than 8 km (5 mi) in length.[234][235] The first prologue occurred in the 1968 Giro d'Italia.[111] The route stretched 5.7 km (4 mi) around the streets of Campione d'Italia and was won by the Frenchman Charly Grosskost.[111] The riders raced the course in an unusual format, with the riders racing in ten groups of thirteen and the time not being counted towards their overall time.[111]

There are usually two or three time trials, with team time trials being included in the tally, in each modern edition of the Giro d'Italia. The final time trial has sometimes been the final stage, more recently often the penultimate stage.

Team time trial[edit]

A group of cyclists wearing the same blue and black uniform while riding bikes.
The Garmin-Barracuda team during the stage 4 in the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

A team time trial (TTT) is a race against the clock in which each team rides alone.[235] The order for the team time trial is determined by the inversed order of the team classification, except for the race leader's team who is always the last to start.[225] The teams' start times are staggered by five minutes.[225][235] The riders work together in the team time trial by taking turns at the front, to lift the pace and break the wind for their teammates to save them energy.[235] The time is that of the fifth rider of each team: riders more than a bike-length behind their team's fifth rider are awarded their own times.[225][235] The TTT has been criticized for favoring strong teams and handicapping strong riders in weak teams. The most recent team time trial in the Giro was in the 2013 edition, which was won by Team Sky.[239]

The team time trial has been used often in the Giro d'Italia, in fact it has been used 20 times in the history of the Giro.[240][241] The first team time trial occurred in the 1937 Giro d'Italia.[53] The course was 60 km (37 mi) in length and stretched from Viareggio to Marina di Massa.[53][242] The first team time trial was won by the Italian team, Legnano.[53][241][242]

Stage towns[edit]

Each stage begins and ends in a city. Most stages have different start cities and end cities, while some stages have the same starting and ending location. Milan has hosted the most stage starts and finishes with 137 since the race traditionally finishes in Milan. In addition to that, the race used to begin in Milan during the race's early existence. Milan has hosted the most starts and finishes for Giro d'Italia stages, with Rome being a close second and many towns having hosted over 25 stages.[236]

The start and finish of the Giro[edit]

A man riding a bike while wearing a blue, white, and pink skinsuit.
Gilberto Simoni in 2010 riding the stage 1 time trial that navigated through Amsterdam.

The start of the Giro d'Italia is a big deal and cities pay lots of money to host the start or finish of a stage.[243] For the start of the Giro itself, the cities are willing to pay much more money.[243] The money the city and other investors put into get the start is quickly earned back.[243] Former race director said that the cities often earn ten times the money they invested.[243]

For nearly half a century, the Giro started and finished by Milan, the city where the headquarters of the Gazzetta dello Sport were located.[11][12] The first time the race didn't start or finish in Milan was in 1911, where the start and finish were moved to Rome to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Italy's unification.[22] With the occasional exception, the start and finish in Milan was the standard for the Giro d'Italia. However since 1960 the place of departure has changed each year. Some years (1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1981–1989) the finish was also changed, but in 1990 the traditional finish in Milan was restored.[244]

In 2009, to commemorate the centennial of the event, the finish took place in Rome.[245][246] The Italian capital, Rome, had already been the location of the final stage of the 1911 and 1950 editions of the Giro d'Italia.[22][69] The 2010 edition ended in Verona, as happened in the 1981 and 1984 editions.[247]

The Giro takes place mainly in Italy, but some stages have departure or conclusion locations in other countries, especially in neighboring countries such as San Marino, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia.[248][249] Some stages have been held in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany (2002 and 2006), and Greece (1996).[248] The 2012 edition of the Giro started in Denmark, with stages in Herning and Horsens.[248][250]

Starts outside Italy[edit]

A group of cyclists riding away from the camera between guard rails that are covered with a pink plastic.
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team at the team presentation for the 2012 Giro d'Italia in Herning, Denmark.

For the first 47 editions of the race, the race started in Italian soil and in 1965 the race made its first foreign start in San Marino, and has since had nine more foreign starts.[243][251] The organizers also chose to host the start of the Giro in a foreign country to help build its fan base, so that it can rival the Tour de France.[243] The race organizers are limited in their use of the foreign start since.[243] A foreign start far away from Italy forces the organizers to use a rest day as a travel day after the initial stages abroad.[243] The UCI countered this by making a rule that the first rest day can first be used after the fifth stage, or day of racing.[243] The most recent start outside Italy was in 2012 when the race started in Denmark.[225] The race stayed in Denmark for three stages before being transferred onto Italian soil.[225][252] Denmark put in $3.86 million to host the first three stages of the race.[243]

Foreign starts of the Giro[243][253]
Year Country City Ref(s).
1965 San Marino San Marino [249][254]
1966 Monaco Monaco Monte Carlo [249][254]
1973 Belgium Belgium Verviers [249][254]
1974 Vatican City Vatican City [249][254]
1996 Greece Greece Athens [249][254]
1998 France France Nice [249][254]
2002 Netherlands Netherlands Groningen [254]
2006 Belgium Belgium Seraing [254]
2010 Netherlands Netherlands Amsterdam [254]
2012 Denmark Denmark Herning [225][254]
2014 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Belfast [254][255]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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