Thirteen Facts about The Giro d'Italia
This great cycling race, second only to the infamous "Tour de France", began last weekend. I'm pleased to bring to you a few facts about one of my favorite sporting events.
So, let's jump right in!
1. The first ever Giro d'Italia was begun May 13th, 1909, and was won by Luigi Ganna.
2. This year marks the 90th Giro. It began on May 10th and will continue through June 1st.
It has been suspended twice - for World Wars I and II (1915-18 and 1941-45, respectively).
4.Ever since 1931, the overall leader of the Giro sports the maglia rosa (pink jersey), which corresponds with La Gazzetta dello Sport 's pink newsprint. (The yellow jersey given to the overall leader of the Tour de France is done for similar reasons - to correspond with the yellow color of the pages of France's L'Auto sports newspaper.)
5. The different portions of the tour are called "stages". The 1909 race had eight stages. The 2008 race has twenty-one.
6. Like all cycling races, the person who crosses the finish line first is not necessarily the winner. The winner of the Giro is the person who has the overall shortest time for the whole tour.
7. Last year's winner of the Giro was Danilo Di Luca - a.k.a. "The Killer".
8. In 2006, the Giro passed through my new "hometown". I took some photos:
In 2007, Reggio nell'Emilia played host to the beginning of a stage. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, as I had to work. (Yeah, I'm still bummed.)
9. An American rider won the Giro once upon a time. In 1988, Andrew Hampsten of Columbus, Ohio, raced for team 7-Eleven.
The '80s were so cruel when it came to hair, weren't they?
10. The route of the Giro varies each year. The Alpine and Apennine passes are probably the most difficult stages of all, and it's not unusual for the riders to endure wildly varying climates from the beginning of the tour to the end. Occasionally, the weather is a greater obstacle than expected, as Hampsten found out in 1988:
11. Three different cyclists have managed to win the Giro five times each: Alfredo Binda, Fausto (Il Campionissimo - the Greatest Champion) Coppi and Eddie (the Cannibal) Merckx.
12. The Giro d'Italia is considered part of the "Triple Crown of Cycling", along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
13. The Giro itself was started with one purpose in mind: to boost the sales of Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport (The Sports Gazzette). I dare say it's proven to be a success!
And there you have it! 13 tidbits about the Giro d'Italia!
Never fear... I haven't forgotten... Just scroll down...
Mario Cipollini - Winner of 42 separate stages of the Giro d'Italia, over the years. (An unbroken record.)
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