Giro d'Italia
Race details
Region Italy
Discipline Road
Competition Professional and Annual
First edition 1909
First winner Italy Luigi Ganna
Most wins Italy Alfredo Binda (6 times)

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. The race was first organised in 1909 to increase sales of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport and is still the current runner of this race. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1909, except when it was stopped for the two world wars.


The Beginning

The idea of a cycling race was inspired by the Tour de France after gaining the automobile race. After creating the Milan-San Remo and Giro di Lombardia which still runs to this day. The race was held on May 1909 with eight stages in Northern Italy with 127 riders starting at Milan. A total of 49 riders finished the first edition with Luigi Ganna taking the first Giro d'Italia by only one point from Carlo Galetti. 1912 saw the only one to have a team classification as the general with Team Atala taking the win. The 1914 Giro saw the biggest margin in Grand Tour history with Alfonso Calzolari dominated the eight that made it to the finish line of the 1914 edition with a two-hour gap between him and the second place rider.

Italian domination

After the first world war was done, the Giro d'Italia came back in 1919 and it wasn't long before Italians started to dominate once again. After a brief trip over to Switzerland in 1920, Italians were on the podium for eight years until Victor Fontan finished in 3rd place in the 1928 edition of the tour. Ottavio Bottecchia entered the 1923 edition to finish in fourth place as an independent racer before being seen by Henri Pélissier which would see him win three Tour de Frances in a row including the 1923 edition. The 1923 edition also saw the closest race between two riders when Costante Girardengo won the race by only twenty-five seconds from Giovanni Brunero.

The next year saw a massive strike with Gazzetta dello Sport supporting the independent riders. It also saw the first female rider to compete in a major cycling event with Alfonsina Strada being the first lady to enter. It wasn't until after the event, that she admitted that she entered as a man to compete in the event. In the 1925 edition, Alfredo Binda came to the tour and took out the 1925 edition, the first of six titles that he would win during the late 20s and early 30s. 1927 saw a complete dominance of the Giro by Alfreo Binda with him winning 13 of the fifteen stages before coming back and winning six the next year. After he won the 1929 edition, the team was paid 22,500 lire to keep him off the list in the 1930 edition. Luigi Giacobbe would take the victory on the last day of competition.

The pink jersey for the winner came in 1931 with Luigi Giacobbe once again winning the Giro as he took the lead on stage 10 before finishing out with a three-minute victory. The next year saw the first foreign rider to take the general classification lead with Hermann Buse winning the second stage to take the overall lead which he held until stage seven. After Alfredo Binda won his last Giro d'Italia it was an open field for the 1934 edition and it came down to the last day with Francesco Camusso taking home the pink jersey.

After Binda

With war starting to creep up, the 1936 edition had only Italians on the entry list. This edition had the first individual time trial but that didn't stop Gino Bartali from winning his second in a row for the 1937 edition. The war would soon stop the Giro as it wasn't run for six years as Giovanni Valetti won the final edition before the Second World War.

After the war, the Giro d'Italia restarted with 17 stages which did include three split stages on the tour. In an all-Italian field, it was Gino Bartali who would only just scrape through with the tour victory by only eight seconds from his nearest rival. Heading into the next year, the sport was starting to calm down to normal standards before the war. Sylvère Maes was the only non-Italian rider in the field of 84 riders that did finish the race as he came in seventh place overall with Bartali defending his title which saw the brief introduction of the black jersey for the last place rider. That classification only took place for one year when riders at the second half of that edition starting to slow down to get the slowest time without going over. After 1948 saw Fiorenzo Magni claim his only Giro win. The 1949 edition saw a memorable event that happened in the 17th stage when Fausto Coppi broke away from the pack to win the stage by over fifteen minutes to turn a two-minute deficit to what would later become a twenty-three-minute victory which is the biggest winning margin after World War II.

As cycling went into the 1950s, the Giro d'Italia saw its first winner from outside of Italy when Hugo Koblet attacked in the ninth stage of the 1950 edition and lead the rest of the way to becoming the first person from outside of Italy to take home the Giro d'Italia as they won by around four minutes over his nearest rival in Gino Bartali. 1951 saw everything going back to normal with Fiorenzo Magni winning the 1951 edition of the tour for the Ganna team. In 1952, the first death of the Giro d'Italia occurred with Orfeo Ponsin had problems before crashing into a tree which cut his life short. For Coppi, he took the lead on the tenth stage after an attack on the flat section before sealing it on Stage 11 and recording an impressive ten-minute victory.

International winners

The 1953 edition saw Hugo Koblet claim the Giro for the second time after he claimed the lead in stage eight of the tour. But it wasn't all smooth sailing with Koblet almost overdosing on amphetamine and his time to second place Coppi was cut to a minute, but he would hold on with only a sixteen-second gap.


Giro d'Italia general classification winners
Year Country Cyclist Sponsor/team Distance Time/points Margin Stage wins
1909 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Luigi Ganna Atala 2,445 km (1,519 mi) 26 1 3
1910 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Eberardo Pavesi Atala-Continental 2,987.4 km (1,856 mi) 37 5 2
1911 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Giovanni Rossignoli Bianchi 3,530.3 km (2,194 mi) 55 8 2
1912 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Team Atala 2,443 km (1,518 mi) 35 11 1
1913 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Eberardo Pavesi Legnano 2,932 km (1,822 mi) 39 3 0
1914 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfonso Calzolari Stucchi 3,162 km (1,965 mi) 135h 17' 56" + 2h 13' 55" 2
1919 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Costante Girardengo Stucchi-Dunlop 2,984 km (1,854 mi) 114h 17' 33" + 35' 56" 6
1920 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Gaetano Belloni Bianchi-Dunlop 2,632 km (1,635 mi) 102h 37' 54" + 38' 23" 3
1921 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Gaetano Belloni Bianchi-Dunlop 3,107 km (1,931 mi) 120h 41' 13" + 5' 41" 3
1922 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Gaetano Belloni Bianchi-Dunlop 3,095 km (1,923 mi) 120h 13' 55" + 11' 21" 4
1923 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Costante Girardengo Maino 3,202.7 km (1,990 mi) 121h 44' 24" + 25" 6
1924 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Giuseppe Enrici 3,613 km (2,245 mi) 141h 57' 33" + 34' 31" 1
1925 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfredo Binda Legnano 3,520.5 km (2,188 mi) 138h 23' 55" + 11' 54" 2
1926 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfredo Binda Legnano 3,249.7 km (2,019 mi) 141h 13' 21" + 10' 33" 7
1927 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfredo Binda Legnano 3,758.3 km (2,335 mi) 143h 53' 14" + 42' 56" 13
1928 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfredo Binda Wolsit 3,044.6 km (1,892 mi) 116h 23' 55" + 19' 31" 6
1929 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfredo Binda Legnano 2,920 km (1,814 mi) 106h 53' 17s + 13' 44" 9
1930 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Luigi Giacobbe Maino 3,095 km (1,923 mi) 116h 12' 53" + 1' 11" 2
1931 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Luigi Giacobbe Maino 3,012 km (1,872 mi) 102h 30' 54" + 3' 15" 2
1932 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Antonio Pesenti Wolsit 3,235 km (2,010 mi) 105h 39' 32" + 13' 35" 1
1933 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Alfredo Binda Legnano 3,343 km (2,077 mi) 111h 00' 23" + 15' 21" 6
1934 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Francesco Camusso Gloria 3,712.7 km (2,307 mi) 122h 33' 51" + 34" 2
1935 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Vasco Bergamaschi Maino 3,577 km (2,223 mi) 114h 32' 11" + 4' 13" 3
1936 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Gino Bartali Legnano 3,766 km (2,340 mi) 120h 12' 30" + 3' 52" 4
1937 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Gino Bartali Legnano 3,840 km (2,386 mi) 113h 44' 14" + 10' 15" 3
1938 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Giovanni Valetti Fréjus 3,645.8 km (2,265 mi) 112h 57' 33" + 10' 11" 3
1939 Flag of Italy (1861-1946) Italy Giovanni Valetti Fréjus 3,011.4 km (1,871 mi) 88h 02' 00" + 4' 33" 4
1946 Flag of Italy Italy Gino Bartali Legnano 3,039.5 km (1,889 mi) 67h 11' 58" + 22" 0
1947 Flag of Italy Italy Gino Bartali Legnano 3,843 km (2,388 mi) 115h 51' 13" +2' 11" 3
1948 Flag of Italy Italy Fiorenzo Magni Wilier Triestina 4,164 km (2,587 mi) 125h 51' 52" +23" 1
1949 Flag of Italy Italy Fausto Coppi Bianchi 4,164 km (2,587 mi) 125h 25' 50" +23' 41" 4
1950 Flag of Switzerland Switzerland Hugo Koplet Guerra 3,981 km (2,474 mi) 117h 29' 06" +4' 11" 2
1951 Flag of Italy Italy Fiorenzo Magni Ganna 4,153 km (2,581 mi) 121h 10' 55" +1' 00" 1
1952 Flag of Italy Italy Fautso Coppi Bianchi 3,964 km (2,463 mi) 114h 36' 21" +10' 15" 3
1953 Flag of Switzerland Switzerland Hugo Koplet Guerra 4,035 km (2,508 mi) 118h 37' 16" +16" 1
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