Giro d'Italia

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Giro d'Italia
Giro d'Italia logo.svg
Race details
DateMay–June
RegionItaly and nearby countries
English nameTour of Italy
Local name(s)Giro d'Italia (Italian)
DisciplineRoad
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeGrand Tour
OrganiserRCS Sport
Race directorMichele Acquarone
History
First edition1909 (1909)
Editions96 (as of 2013)
First winner Luigi Ganna (ITA)
Most wins 5 wins
Most recent Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
 
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Giro d'Italia
Giro d'Italia logo.svg
Race details
DateMay–June
RegionItaly and nearby countries
English nameTour of Italy
Local name(s)Giro d'Italia (Italian)
DisciplineRoad
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeGrand Tour
OrganiserRCS Sport
Race directorMichele Acquarone
History
First edition1909 (1909)
Editions96 (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 held in Italy with occasional excursions into other countries.[1] The race started in 1909 to increase sales of La Gazzetta dello Sport;[1][2] it is now run by RCS Sport.[3][4] It has been held annually, except during the two world wars.[1] The race distance lengthened and more foreigners competed as the race gained prominence and popularity.

The Giro is a UCI World Tour event; most teams taking part are UCI Proteams, with others invited by the organizers.[5][6]

With the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro is a Grand Tour.[1][7] The Giro is usually in late May and early June.[1] The route changes each year but the format stays the same, with at least two time trials, the Alps,[8] including the Dolomites,[9][10] and the finish in Milan.[11][12] There are usually 21 day-long segments (stages) over 23 days, with two rest days.[1]

Riders compete by recording the lowest overall time for the complete distance. The rider with the lowest time is the wears a pink jersey.[1][13] There are other contests: the points classification for sprinters,[13] the mountains classification for the climbers,[13] young rider classification for riders under 25,[13] and the a classification for teams.[13] The 2013 race was won by 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 a race around Italy was suggested when La Gazzetta dello Sport editor Tullo Morgagni sent a telegram to the paper's owner, Emilio Costamagna, and its cycling editor, Armando Cougnet.[14][15] La Gazzetta's rival, Corriere della Sera was planning a race of its own, after success with a car race.[14][15][16] Morgagni decided to hold a race before Corriere della Sera's but it lacked the money.[15] However, after the success La Gazzetta had with the Giro di Lombardia and Milan – San Remo, Costamagna went ahead,[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] in May 1909.,[16] inspired by the Tour de France and the success of its promoter, another newspaper, L'Auto.[2][17]

The organizers needed 25,000 lira,.[14] Primo Bongrani, an accountant at the Cassa di Risparmio and friend of the organizers, toured Italy asking for donations.[15] He collected enough money to cover the operating costs.[15] Prizes came from a casino in San Remo after Francesco Sghirla, a former Gazzetta employee, encouraged it to contribute.[14][15] Even Corriere, La Gazzetta's rival, gave 3,000 lire to the race's fund.[14]

On 13 May 1909 at 2:53 am 127 riders set off from 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 overall race.[18] He won 5325 lira as first prize; the last rider received 300.[16] That compared to the salary of the Giro's director, who received 150 lira a month.[16]

1910–1924: Italian domination[edit]

Until 1950, the winners were of Italian descent.[19] The 1909 Giro was such a success that the organizers added two stages and 500 km (311 mi).[20] It had a new point distribution to determine the leader; the stage winner received one point, second place two points, and so on until the 51st and later finishers, who received 51.[20] The first non-Italian stage winner, Jean-Baptiste Dortignacq, came in 1910; he won the second stage.[20] Carlo Galetti led from stage two until the finish.[20][21] The 1911 Giro was the first to start and finish not in Milan[22] but in Rome – to celebrate Italy's 50th anniversary of unification.[22] The 1911 edition also saw the first foreigner to lead, Lucien Petit-Breton, and the first repeat winner, Carlo Galetti.[22][23]

The 1912 Giro d'Italia changed the general classification,[24] the leader being a team instead of an individual. Teams were allowed four riders.[24][25] The changes met opposition.[24] Fourteen teams lined up in Milan.[24][25] Atala - Luigi Ganna, Carlo Galetti, Eberardo Pavesi and Giovanni Micheletto - led from start to finish.[24][25][26] Ganna was the only member not to finish; he dropped out during the fifth stage. Galetti became the first three-time winner.[24]

A cyclist having his picture taken.
Costante Girardengo was the first rider to lead from start to finish.

Next year's race was the last on points.[27] The peloton was completely Italian,[27] including the first appearance of Costante Girardengo, who won the sixth stage and went on to dominate later races.[27] Carlo Oriani, who had just left the army in the Italo-Turkish War, won by six points over Eberardo Pavesi.[27][28][29] The 1914 Giro d'Italia saw the general classification shift from points to time.[30] Riders had their time for each stage totaled to determine the leader.[30] Eighty-one entered but only eight finished.[30][31] Alfonso Calzolari won by almost two hours.[30][31] A Giro planned for 1915 was scrapped when Italy entered World War I.[30] The race resumed in 1919.[1][32]

The 1919 route through ruined parts of northern Italy made it hard for the organizers.[32] Girardengo became first to lead from start to finish.[32] He won seven of the ten stages.[2] The Giro had its first foreigner on the podium, Marcel Buysse[32] third overall, a little over an hour slower than Girardengo.[32]

Next year's Giro began with close to 50 riders and finished with ten.[33] The first stage of 1920 went into Switzerland, the first time the Giro left Italy.[33] Girardengo, winner the previous year, was favorite but injuries from crashes in the second stage forced him to withdraw.[33] Gaetano Belloni capitalized on Girardengo's troubles, along with Giuseppe Olivieri, the race leader after stage one, and Carlo Galetti's withdrawal in the second stage, to win the stage and take the lead.[33] Belloni won the Giro despite being called "the Eternal Second".[33]

Girardengo won the first four stages of the 1921 Giro d'Italia and led through the first four days.[34] Girardengo was in a crash during the fifth stage. Seeing him in trouble, Belloni attacked.[34] Girardengo chased for 60 km (37 mi)but Belloni was the new leader by the end of the stage,[34] Giovanni Brunero the only rider close to him.[34] Brunero attacked during the seventh stag, won and took 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 controversy.[35] In the first stage, Brunero illegally took a wheel from his teammate Alfredo Sivocci&nbsp and was penalized 25 minutes.[35] Girardengo and Belloni, with their teams Maino and Bianchi, wanted him expelled.[35] Maino and Bianchi withdrew in outrage.[35] Brunero went on to win the Giro, his second.[35]

Girardengo dominated the 1923 Giro d'Italia, winning eight of the ten stages[36] and taking the race by 37 seconds over Brunero.[36] It was his second win.[36] Girardengo, Brunero and Belloni didn't start in 1924 due to an argument over the start money.[37] That gave lesser riders a bigger chance.[37] Giuseppe Enrici cemented his lead of the race after horrid weather in stage eight.[37] It was his biggest win. The 1924 Giro also saw the only woman to compete, Alfonsina Strada.[16][37] She was eliminated after the seventh stage but the organizers allowed her to race on without being included in the general classification.[37] She made it to finish in Milan around 20 hours slower than 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 a new star, Alfredo Binda.[38] Girardengo couldn't win despite winning six stages.[38] Binda led after the fifth stage, he and a few other contenders attacked while Girardengo was repairing a tire.[38] Girardengo moved back to second but couldn't overpower Binda.[38] Next year's Giro had 204 riders start in Milan but only 40 at the finish in Milan.[39] In the first stage, Binda crashed and lost time.[39] He then began to work for his teammate, Giovanni Brunero.[39] Binda won six stages while leading Brunero to his record third Giro victory.[39]

Binda dominated the 1927 Giro d'Italia,[40] winning 12 stages, a record which still stands.[2][40] Binda also led the Giro from start to finish, previously managed only by Girardengo in 1919.[40] The organizers made changes to the race that year; the stage winner now received a one-minute bonus and stages were occasionally on consecutive days, where before they had at least one rest day before each.[40]

Binda returned next year to win six of 12 stages, along with the Giro itself.[41] Binda first led after the fourth stage, in which he distanced himself from competitors.[41] He became the second to win three Giros.[41] That year saw a record 298 riders, 126 reaching the finish in Milan.[41]

In 1929 Binda dominated again.[42] On the way to his third consecutive and fourth victory, he won a record eight consecutive stages.[42][43] This Giro began in Rome, the second not to start in Milan.[42] Some spectators booed Binda at the finish, which bothered him.[42] The next year, Binda was paid 22,500 lire, equivalent to first prize, not to participate.[2][44] Binda's absence left the field open.[44] The winner, Luigi Marchisio, led after winning the third stage and held the lead to the finish in Milan,[44] down to 52 seconds for the last six stages. He became the youngest rider to win, 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 race leader's maglia rosa pink jersey was introduced in 1931.[16][45] La Gazzetta dello Sport printed on pink paper.[16] The maglia rosa was first worn by Learco Guerra, who won the first stage.[16][45] Binda returned to the Giro, only to retire while leading during the sixth stage.[45] The eventual winner, Francesco Camusso, attacked during the 11th stage to claim the lead.[45]

Binda came into the 1932 Giro d'Italia in bad form, so he decided to work for his teammate Antonio Pesenti.[46] Hermann Buse led from the second to the sixth stage, the first German to lead the Giro.[46] During the seventh stage, Pesenti gained the lead by winning the stage by a solo attack.[46] He led 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 from around 12 to 17 stages.[47] Binda led after the second stage but lost to Jef Demuysere after the fifth.[47] Binda regained it after the eighth with six minutes over Demuysere.[47] Binda won the next three stages and took the Giro by 12 minutes over Demuysere.[47] Along with general classification, Binda won the inaugural mountains classification.[16][47] Binda became the first five-time winner.[47]

Learco Guerra won ten of the 17 stages in the 1934 Giro d'Italia.[48] Guerra's biggest challenge proved to be Francesco Camusso, after Binda abandoned after being hit by a police motorcycle.[48][49] Camusso led after stage 13.[48] Stage fourteen was a time trial, and Camusso was a climber; Guerra on the other hand was a time trialist.[48] Guerra gained close to a four minute lead over Camusso.[48] Guerra and Camusso battled to Milan, but Guerra won by a 51 seconds.[48]

For 1935 the organizers removed time bonuses for winning stages and added half stages.[50] This Giro saw the last participation of Alfredo Binda and the first by Gino Bartali; Bartali won his first stage in this Giro, stage six.[50] The winner, Vasco Bergamaschi, gained the lead briefly after the first stage.[50] He regained it after the sixth.[50] Bergamaschi had come to the Giro to work for 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.

Italy's politics meant no foreigners in the 1936 Giro d'Italia.[51] The organizers included the first uphill individual time trial, 20 km (12 mi) to the summit of Monte Terminillo.[51]

Bartali took the lead by attacking on the final climb of the hilly ninth stage.[51] He held it to Milan.[2] He also won his second consecutive mountains title.[51] The 1937 Giro d'Italia included the Dolomites for the first time.[2][52][53] It also included the first team time trial,[53] 62 km (39 mi), won by Legnano, team of eventual winner Bartali.[53] Bartali displayed his dominance in the mountains and gained the lead after the uphill stage 8a time trial.[53] Bartali wore the maglia rosa all the way to Milan, his second consecutive Giro.[2][53]

The government told Bartali to ride the Tour de France instead of the Giro in 1938.[54] Giovanni Valetti, the winner, led after the mountainous ninth stage.[54] He had a minute and a half and built his lead as the Giro went on.[54] He finished almost nine minutes ahead of Ezio Cecchi.[54]

The 1939 Giro d'Italia was a battle between Bartali and Valetti.[55] The race had been led primarily by Cino Cinelli; Cinelli lost the lead to Secondo Magni after stage 9a.[55] Magni lost the lead to Valetti after the stage 9b time trial.[55] Valetti lost the lead to Bartali in the 15th stage after attacking on the Passo Rolle.[55] Bartali lost the lead to Valetti after flatting multiple times and crashing in the 16th stage.[55] Valetti won his second consecutive Giro while Bartali left the Giro with his fourth mountains title.[52][55]

Bartali came to the 1940 Giro d'Italia with a strong Legnano team and high ambitions.[56] His hopes derailed when he crashed in the second stage.[56] Fausto Coppi was promoted to leader.[56] He took the lead after attacking on the Abetone in 11th stage[56][57] and led all the way to Milan.[56] He became the youngest rider to win the Giro, at 20 years, 8 months and 25 days, breaking the record 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 to a halt after 1940.[1][56] Coppi served in Tunisia; Bartali went to the Vatican after 1942.[59]

A man wearing a striped jersey with the colors: green, white, and red.
Fiorenzo Magni won the 1948 Giro d'Italia by 11 seconds.

Benito Mussolini tried to keep races going during the war[60] but the Giro used so much gasoline, food and other supplies that it would hurt Italy's war effort, so the government created a competition based on one-day races.[60] Some of the notable races that comprised this "Giro" were the Milan – San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia.[60] The "points" Giro was first won by Bartali in 1942.[60] The 1943 edition was interrupted after Allied forces landed in Sicily and Mussolini was deposed.[60] After Mussolini's reign, racing came to a stop in Italy.[60]

The Giro resumed in 1946.[61] The organizers added the black jersey, or maglia nera, for the last rider overall.[62] Bartali and Coppi returned but on separate teams.[61] Coppi lost time in stage nine.[61] During the 12th stage the race was to pass through Pieris on the way to Trieste.[61] In Pieris, Yugoslavs threw stones at armed Italian guards.[61] Gunfire erupted and the stage was cancelled, with close to 20 riders escorted to Trieste.[61] There were riots in Trieste after Yugoslavia and Italy both claimed territory.[61]

Bartali led after the 13th stage,[61] holding that lead to the finish in Milan without winning a stage.[2][61] He also won the mountains classification.[61]

The 1947 Giro d'Italia was the first to have riders in trade teams rather than individuals.[63] Although Coppi won the fourth stage, Bartali took the early lead 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 16th stage Bartali's chain dropped off 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 and this time Bartali could not keep up. Coppi won the stage and the lead, which he held to Milan.[63]

The 1948 Giro d'Italia had the smallest victory margin in the history of the Giro: Fiorenzo Magni won by 11 seconds over Ezio Cecchi.[64] Magni set up his victory in a breakaway in the ninth stage.[64] Magni gained close to 13 minutes on Bartali and Coppi.[64] Cecchi gained the lead for two stages, but Magni regained the lead after the 17th stage, over the Pordoi pass.[64] Coppi and his team, Bianchi, suspected Magni of help from spectators; Magni was penalized two minutes,[64] not wasn't enough to prevent his winning but by the slimmest margin.[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.

Coppi returned in 1949.[65] After the ninth stage, he was close to ten minutes behind the race leader Adolfo Leoni.[65] He made up nine minutes on the Leoni during the tenth stage.[65]

One the 17th stage.[57][65] Coppi attacked from the start and was first over five major climbs; he rode to Pinerolo 11 minutes ahead of Bartali.[65] Coppi went on to win third Giro.[65][66] Coppi came into the 1950 Giro d'Italia as favorite; however he broke his pelvis in the ninth stage.[19][67] The race was led early on by the Swiss, Fritz Schär.[19] Hugo Koblet attacked on the Pian delle Fugazze during the eighth stage to gain the lead.[19][19][19] He kept the lead to the finish in Milan, the first foreigner to win.[2][19][68] Koblet also won the mountains classification.[19]

Almost three years after his first victory, Magni won the Giro [69] in the 1951 with strong opposition.[69] Magni's rival the Belgia,n Rik Van Steenbergen, who performed well in the Dolomites.[69] Magni sealed his second victory by his descending of the final climb of the 18th stage.[69][70]

In the 1952 Giro d'Italia Orfeo Ponsin died after crashing into a tree on the descent of the Merluzza.[71] Coppi, the eventual winner, led after attacking on the Passo Pordoi and riding the rest of the stage by himself.[71] He won two more stages.[71][72]

Koblet led the 1953 Giro d'Italia after the stage eight time trial.[73] He held off Coppi until the 11th stage.[73] The 20th stage's crossed the Passo dello Stelvio.[73] Koblet seemed uneasy.[73] Nino Defilippis attacked and Koblet followed but weakly.[73] Coppi attacked and passed both,[73] winning the stage by a little over two minutes to take the lead.[73][74][75] Coppi went on to win the Giro, bringing his total to a record tying five 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 become the second non-Italian to win.[76] The organizers paid Coppi a large sum to participate, which angered the peloton and led to the race being not highly contested.[76] This was evident when the 21st stage took over nine hours to complete 222 km (138 mi). Clerici attacked during the sixth stage and gained enough of time to last himself to the race's conclusion.[76][77][78] A strike in the 21st stage led to a 10-hour walk.[76] This was Bartali's last Giro, after three overall and seven mountains victories.[76]

Gastone Nencini led the Giro in 1955 before Magni took the lead.[79] Magni attacked with Coppi during the 20th stage after competitors stopped to change tires; Magni gained over nine minutes on Nencini.[79][80][81] This was Magni's third and final victory.[79][80][81]

The 1956 Giro was run as scheduled until the 21st stage from Merano to the summit of Monte Bondone in the Dolomites.[82] The stage was close to −10 °C (14 °F) which forced over 60 to abandon, even race leader Pasquale Fornara.[82] Charly Gaul won the stage, gaining enough time to hold the lead until the 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, Louison Bobet and Gastone Nencini and Miguel Poblet attacked.[86] Gaul lost the lead to Nencini; however, Gaul took out his frustration by aiding Nencini win the Giro by 19 seconds so Bobet would not win.[2][86][86][87][88]

Ercole Baldini led the 1958 Giro d'Italia after winning the mountainous 15th stage to Bosco Chiesanuova.[2][89][90][91] Baldini went on to his best season, winning the world and Italian championships.[2][89] This was the last Giro for Coppi. He died two years later.[89]

The 1959 Giro d'Italia featured Jacques Anquetil and Gaul.[92] Anquetil held the lead into the penultimate stage.[92] Gaul said he was going to attack on the Piccolo San Bernardo, leading Anquetil to mark him.[92] Gaul attacked a predicted .[92] Anquetil, who had eaten poorly during the stage, was unable to counter.[92] Gaul went won the stage and gain close to ten minutes on Anquetil, enough to win the Giro.[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, Anquetil, win.[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 penultimate aross the Gavia Pass.[94] Nencini attacked on the Gavia and Anquetil could not counter.[94] Overall, Anquetil's lead was reduced to 28 seconds but he held it to the end.[94][95] Arnaldo Pambianco took his lone victory after a breakaway on the 1961's 14th stage.[96][97]

The 1962 Giro was marred by weather.[98] The 14th stage was shortened following a storm which prevented 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 16th stage, with Franco Balmamion finishing second and taking the race lead.[98] Balmamion defended the lead to the finish in Milan.[98][99]

Balmamion won next year after gaining the lead after the 19th stage of six hard climbs.[100][101]

Anquetil took the lead at the 1964 Giro d'Italia after the stage five time trial and held it to 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 Coppi.[106] The Cima Coppi awards more points towards the mountains classification than any other climb.[106]

Next year's race saw the introduction of the points classification to reward the most best daily finishers, specifically the sprinters.[16][107] The classification was first won by Gianni Motta, who also won the race itself.[16][107] Motta had come to ride for Anquetil, but after Anquetil lost time early on, he rode for himself.[107] Motta rode well through the mountains and led after the 15th stage to the end.[107][108]

Felice Gimondi won the 1967 Giro d'Italia after attacking during the 21st stage.[109] Gimondi attacked on the Tonale and race leader Anquetil was not able to match him.[109] Gimondi led by over three minutes over Anquetil.[109][110] Gimondi raced into Milan the next day to his first Giro victory.[109][110] This Giro was also the first ridden by Eddy Merckx, who won the 12th and 14th stages.[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 had the first tests for drugs and the first prologue.[111] Eight riders tested positive.[111] Eddy Merckx won his first Giro after winning the 12th stage atop the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and regaining the race lead.[111][112] He won four stages.[111]

Merckx returned in 1969 and led after the 16th stage, to Savona.[113] Merckx tested positive and was disqualified; he still proclaims his innocence.[113] Felice Gimondi took the lead after Merckx's dismissal and held it to the end.[113][114]

Merckx came back the following year.[115] He led after stage five and dominated the lengthy time trial.[115][116] Merckx won the Tour de France and became the third rider to win two Grand Tours in a year.[115]

In 1971, Merckx rode the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré instead.[117] Gimondi's lost time early in the race put him out of contention, while teammate Gianni Motta tested positive and was dismissed.[117] Gösta Pettersson lead after the 18th stage and held it to the finish.[117][118] He was the first Swede to win a Grand Tour.[117][118]

Merckx returned to the Giro in 1972 and resumed his domination in a long solo attack ing the seventh stage .[119][120]

Merckx led the 1973 Giro d'Italia from start to finish; a feat not done since Binda in 1927.[121][122] José Manuel Fuente gained the lead in 1974 and held it to the 14th stage.[123] Fuente then suffered from not eating enough and lost ten minutes to Merckx.[123] Merckx won his fifth and final Giro, joining Binda and Coppi.[123][124]

Merckx won the Tour de France and the world championship and became the first rider to win two Grand Tours and the world championship in one year.[125]

With Merckx absent from the 1975 due to illness, competition increased.[126] Fausto Bertoglio and Francisco Galdós battled during the latter half.[126] The final stage finished on the Passo dello Stelvio where Bertoglio fended off Galdós to seal his victory.[126][127]

Johan de Muynck led in the 1976 Giro d'Italia when he crashed during the 20th stage.[128] Injuries prevented his from performing well in the next day's time trial.[128] Gimondi took the lead on the final day to win his second Giro.[128][129] This was the last Giro that Merckx raced; he finished eighth [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] Michel Pollentier took the lead from Moser in the mountains near the end of the race. Pollentier won the penultimate stage en route to his lone Tour victory.[130][131]

Johan de Muynck led the 1978 Giro d'Italia after escaping in the third stage and soloing to victory.[132] He defended his slim lead throughout the rest of the race.[132][133]

The 1979 edition featured less climbing and five time trials.[134] Francesco Moser led after winning the first two.[134] Giuseppe Saronni led 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 was 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 won the Tour de France and the world championship to complete the Triple .[150]

The 1988 Giro d'Italia is remembered for the 14th stage of poor weather, notably on the Passo di Gavia.[153] Franco Chioccioli led the race at the start.[154] On the Gavia, Andrew Hampsten and Erik Breukink rode away; Breukink won the stage, but Hampsten took the overall lead.[155] Hampsten became the first non-European to win.[156]

Breukink led the 1989 Giro d'Italia after winning the stage 10 time trial.[157] He lost the lead after the 14th stage of five passes.[157] Laurent Fignon took the lead and held it to the finish in Florence.[2][157][158] This was the year the intergiro classification was introduced – 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 1990 after winning the first stage.[160][161] He led the race from start to finish – a feat only done three times before.[160][161]

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

Franco Chioccioli reigned at the 1991 Giro d'Italia.[162] He led for all but two stages.[162] He cemented his victory by winning the 17th stage to the Passo Pordoi and winning the time trial.[162] Miguel Indurain became the first Spanish rider to win the Giro d'Italia in 1992[163] Indurain led after the hilly third stage into Arrezo and held the lead to the finish in Milan.[163] He separated himself during the two time trials, both of which he won.[163] He also won the Tour de France, a rare Giro-Tour double.[163]

Indurain returned in 1993.[164] The only rider to challenge him was Piotr Ugrumov, who attacked repeatedly.[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 Evgeni Berzin gain the lead after winning the fourth stage, a summit finish on Campitello Matese.[165] Berzin won the final two time trials en route to the overall victory.[165]

Tony Rominger came to the 1995 Giro d'Italia in form.[166] He led after the stage two time trial and never gave it up.[166] His opposition came from Berzin and teammate Piotr Ugrumov, who attacked each other repeatedly, hurting their chances.[166] Rominger also won the points and intergiro classifications.[166]

The 1996 Giro d'Italia celebrated the centenary of La Gazzetta dello Sport by holding the first three stages in Athens.[167] Pavel Tonkov led after the mountainous 13th stage to Prato Nevoso.[167] He lost his slim lead to Abraham Olano for two stages before regaining it after stage 21, which contained five climbs.[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 in 1997 with ambitions of repeating his win.[168] He led the race after winning the stage three time trial and up until the 14th stage's conclusion.[168] During the 14th stage, Ivan Gotti attacked to take the stage in Breuil-Cervinia and the race lead.[168] Gotti extended his lead in the mountainous 19th stage and won the Giro three days later.[168][169]

Alex Zülle was the first to lead the 1998 Giro d'Italia and he led for most of the race.[170] Zülle was led into it the Dolomites.[170] Giuseppe Guerini and Marco Pantani were at the head of the race during the mountainous 17th stage; the two worked together to the finish in Selva di Val Gardena.[170] Guerini won while Pantani took the overall lead.[170] Pantani went on to win the Giro and subsequently the 1998 Tour de France.[170]

Pantani returned to the Giro in 1999 in peak form.[171] He took the lead after the 14th stage and extended his lead in the mountains with three stage wins.[171] On the morning of the 20th stage, he was dismissed with hematocrit levels above 50%.[171] Ivan Gotti, who was second, took the lead and won the Giro for the second time.[171]

Francesco Casagrande took the lead in the 2000 Giro d'Italia after a long solo attack during the ninth stage.[172] Fatigue set in as the race wore on and on the penultimate stage he lost the lead, and ultimately the Giro, to Stefano Garzelli.[172]

Dario Frigo led in the 2001 Giro d'Italia after the fourth stage.[173] Frigo defended the lead until the 13th stage, when the race went over the Dolomites.[173] During the 13th stage, Gilberto Simoni attacked and took the maglia rosa.[173] Frigo gained some time in the stage 15 time trial but not enough.[173] Simoni won 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&nbsp.[175][176] In the final mountain stage, stage 17, Paolo Savoldelli attacked with nine kilometers to go and won the Giro.[177][178]

Alessandro Petacchi was first 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 finish on the Monte Terminillo.[180] Garzelli then lost the lead to Simoni after the tenth stage.[181] Simoni won 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 Cunego, Serhiy Honchar and 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 lead changed hands multiple times in the first week.[188] Ivan Basso led after the 11th 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 won his second Giro after fending off Simoni and José Rujano.[191] Ivan Basso won the 2006 Giro d'Italia in a convincing fashion.[192] Basso led after winning the eighth stage, which finished on the Passo Lanciano.[193] He won two more stages en route to overall victory.[192][194]

The leader's pink jersey changed hands five times in the first week in the 2007 Giro d'Italia. Andrea Noè took the lead from Marco Pinotti after the 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 lead in stage 12 and won the Giro by two minutes.[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 gained the lead in a breakaway.[198] Eventual winner Alberto Contador took the lead after the second mountain stage, to Marmolada, finishing nearly 15 minutes ahead of previous race leader, Gabriele Bosisio – who had gained the lead the stage before.[199] In the final week, Contador faced challenges from Riccò and Danilo Di Luca but went on to win.[200]

Denis Menchov won the 2009 centennial edition taking the lead in a long time trial in stage 12, and defending it against attacks from Di Luca during the mountains of the final week.[201] Di Luca came second, 41 seconds behind, and won the points classification. He and third-place finisher Franco Pellizotti then became embroiled in doping scandals, were banned, and had their results stripped.[202][203]

The 2010 Giro d'Italia lead changed eight times. David Arroyo was leading into the final mountains. Arroyo lost the lead to Ivan Basso after the 19th stage, where he lost three minutes.[204] Basso fended off attacks and performed adequately in the final time trial to secure his second victory.[200]

Alberto Contador returned in 2011 as favorite on a difficult course.[205][206] Contador assumed the 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 despite an ongoing trial about possible use of clenbuterol, a banned substance.[209] On 6 February 2012 the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided Contador should lose his 2010 Tour de France and his results since that race, which included his Giro in May 2011, and receive a two-year ban.[210] After Contador's conviction, runner up Michele Scarponi was given the victory.[211]

The 2012 Giro d'Italia saw a battle between Ryder Hesjedal and Joaquim Rodríguez. Hesjedal took the lead after finishing well on the seventh stage 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 14th stage;[214] however, Rodríguez took it back next day.[215] Rodríguez held that lead to the final stage, which he came into with 31 seconds over Hesjedal.[216] Hesjedal finished 47 seconds better than Rodríguez, giving him overall victory.[217] In 2013 Vincenzo Nibali took the lead after the race's eighth stage.[218]

Nibali won after he expanded his lead in the early mountains and winning the stage 18 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 main competition in the Giro d'Italia is the general classification.[1] The rider with least elapsed on the road is the leader.[1][13] The leader wears a pink jersey.[1][13] presented on a podium in each finishing town. The lead can change after each stage. The winner of the 2013 Giro d'Italia was Vincenzo Nibali.

Pink was chosen because the newspaper that created the Giro, La Gazzetta dello Sport, printed on pink paper.[13][16] The pink jersey was added to the race in the 1931 race and has since become a symbol of the Giro.[1][16] The first to wear it jersey Learco Guerra].[1][16] Eddy Merckx wore the jersey for 78 stages, more than any other rider.[221][222][223] Three riders have won five times: Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Merckx.[224]

The winner was not always determined by time. In the inaugural Giro d'Italia the organizers chose points, after a scandal in the 1904 Tour de France.[15] It was also cheaper to count riders rather than time them.[15] The leader was calculated by adding each rider's placings in each stage and the rider with the lowest total was the leader. 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, when the organizers centered the race on teams, while still keeping the points.[24] The next year reverted to the system used in 1911.[27] The1914 race adopted the system used now, using riders' times.[30]

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

Type1st2nd3rd
Plainstage.svgFlat finish20"12"8"
Intermediate Sprint6"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 in the Giro d'Italia. The classification was added in 1933 Giro d'Italia and was first won by Alfredo Binda.[16][47] Points are awarded to the rider first to the top of significant climbs[16] and to those close behind.[16] The number varies according to steepness and length.[13][16]

The climbers' jersey is worn by the rider with most points.[16] If a rider leads two or more categories, the climbers' jersey is worn by the next rider.[13] At the end of the Giro, the rider holding the most climbing points wins the classification.[13] Some riders, neither sprinters nor good at time-trialing, may attempt only to win this particular competition. The Giro categories of mountains ranges from 4, the easiest, to 1, the hardest. The Cima Coppi, the highest point in a Giro, is worth more than other climbs.[13] Bartali won the mountains classification a record seven times.[224]

The classification awarded no jersey until the 1974 Giro d'Italia, when it gave a green jersey.[16] Green jersey was used until 2012, when the classification's sponsor, Banca Mediolanum, wanted the jersey to be blue.[226] Stefano Pirazzi won the mountains classification at the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

The point distribution for the mountains is:[225]

Type1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
Mountainstage.svgCima Coppi211595321
Mountainstage.svgGPM Arrival1595321
Mountainstage.svgFirst Category1595321
Mountainstage.svgSecond Category95321
Mediummountainstage.svgThird Category5321
Mediummountainstage.svgFourth Category321

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]

Type1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th11th12th13th14th15th
History.gifFinish/Time Trial252016141210987654321
Intermediate sprint864321

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]
YearCountryCityRef(s).
1965San Marino San Marino[249][254]
1966Monaco MonacoMonte Carlo[249][254]
1973Belgium BelgiumVerviers[249][254]
1974Vatican City Vatican City[249][254]
1996Greece GreeceAthens[249][254]
1998France FranceNice[249][254]
2002Netherlands NetherlandsGroningen[254]
2006Belgium BelgiumSeraing[254]
2010Netherlands NetherlandsAmsterdam[254]
2012Denmark DenmarkHerning[225][254]
2014Northern Ireland Northern IrelandBelfast[254][255]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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