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Giro d'Italia Historical Database - Trivia
By Fabio
Date: 12/2/2007
Giro d'Italia Historical Database - Trivia

Giro d'Italia Historical Database - Details and Tidbits

Giro d'Italia: Historical Database - Details and Tidbits
(Source: Gazzetta dello Sport, Almanacco del Ciclismo,, & others)

* Youngest Giro winner: Fausto Coppi (Ita) - 1940 (20 years, 8 months, 25 days)

* Eldest Giro winner: Fiorenzo Magni (Ita) - 1955 (35 years)

* Most stage wins in a single edition: Alfredo Binda (Ita) - 1927: 12 wins (and 8 stage wins in a row)

* Most times on the podium: Felice Gimondi (3 wins - 2-time second placed rider; 4-time third place getter)

* Fastest ever Giro: 1983 (winner: Giuseppe Saronni - av. speed: 38.937 km/h)

* Slowest ever Giro: 1914 (winner: Alfonso Calzolari - av. speed: 23.374 km/h)

* Fastest ever stage: May 17, 1997: (Venezia/Circuito Lido, km.128. Winner: Mario Cipollini - av. speed: 48.521 km/h)

* Biggest winning gap ever: 01h57' 26" (Alfonso Calzolari over Pierino Albini, 1914)

* Thinnest winning gap ever: 11" (Fiorenzo Magni over Ezio Cecchi, 1948)

* Most starters: 1928 (298 riders)

* Fewest starters: 1912 (56 riders)

* Most finishers: 1994 (143 riders)

* Fewest finishers: 1914 (8 riders)

* Longest ever Giro: 1954 (4,337 km.)

* Shortest ever Giro: 1909 (2,448 km.)

* Longest ever stage: 1914 (Lucca-Roma 430 km. / winner: Costante Girardengo)

* Longest ever winning breakaway: 239 km. (Starring: Rik Van Steenbergen, Michele Gismondi and Gerardus Woorting in the 1954 Giro stage 5 covering 279 kms from Bari to Naples. The Belgian was first across the line, and their closest chasers came in at about five minutes

* The 1st EVER GIRO STAGE got underway at Milano's Piazzale Loreto on May 13, 1909, at 02:53 AM. It took the bunch to Bolonia over a parcours of 397 kms, with Dario Beni as winner. Rome's own Beni sealed the race with a victory in the final stage too, but the overall champion of the point-based event was Luigi Ganna, with our man Beni as seventh place finisher only.

The opening edition of the contest was held over eight legs, and covered a cumulative distance of 2448 kilometres, with 127 riders at the start line, but only 49 still in the bunch as it all ended (at Milan) 17 days later. Eight cars followed the "Girini", half of which were reserved for the teams, and the rest equally divided between the organization/jury and the very few journalists reporting from the road. All participants were photographed before the start, in order to clear up any doubts about their identities.

It took five more years for the race to have a time-based overall standings, as it took place first in the 1914 edition only. A "legendary" and damn tough edition, with just eight finishers out of 81 starters, and the brave Alfonso Calzolari as GC winner.

* The 1st EVER ITT, an all-flat effort from Bolonia to Ferrara over 62 km., was held in 1933, and won by - needless to say - Alfredo Binda, in front of Belgian Jef Demuysere and fellow Italian Ambrogio Morelli.

* The 1st EVER UPHILL ITT took place in 1936, and covered 20 km. from Rieti to the Terminillo mountain in the Latium region of Central Italy. The toughest guy against the clock was Giuseppe Olmo, stage winner in a time of 55'12". And runner-up to Bartali in the final overall standings of the race.

* The 2008 Giro is also featured by no less than half a dozen places (Contursi Terme, Pescocostanzo, Cittadella, Passo del Fedaia, Plan de Corones e Monte Pora) playing host to a Tour of Italy stage finish for the first time, while as many towns (Pizzo Calabro, Belvedere Marittimo, Civitavecchia, Urbania, Legnano and Rovetta) will do the same with a stage start.

* The Giro is back to Sicily after a five-year hiatus, whereas nine are the times the island has hosted the nation's #1 cycling event thus far (the respective editions being 1930, 1949, 1954, 1961, 1976, 1986, 1989, 1999 and 2003) the last ride on Sicilian soil (from Messina to Catania over 176 kilometres) ended up with Alessandro Petacchi putting in a superb sprint and beating no less than the "Lion King", Mario Cipollini. The streets of Palermo welcomed the race kickoff also in 1986, when Urs Freuler from the land of the Swiss won the opening battle against the clock (and all of his rivals) to claim the first overall leader's mantle (which he was going to surrender to Sergio Santimaria the very next stage however).

* The Giro has turned into a competition with one guy in the overall lead from beginning to end, just four times to date:
- in 1919, as Costante Girardengo captured the GC leader's (not yet rosa) mantle the opening day and kept it throughout the 10 legs the race consisted of;
- in 1927, as his biggest rival Alfredo Binda held onto the maglia frm Stage 1 thru Stage 15;
- in 1973, with the biggest of them all, a certain Eddy Merckx, standing atop the GC for all twenty stages;
- in the 1990 edition, when the legendary and classy Gianni Bugno moved to the top of the leader board as the battle kicked off in Bari and set a new record by wearing the Maglia Rosa for no less than 21 days, taking it all the way onto the Milan podium.

* The most unusual Giro competitor ever was arguably Alfonsina Morini Strada (pic here), who made history by becoming the only woman that ever raced the Giro along with the male peloton. It happened in the 1924 edition of the event. The girl from Castelfranco Emilia, on the outskirts of Bolonia, managed to finish the race in 31st place, in front of two male riders and of all those who dropped out earlier. But this wasn't Mrs. Strada's only accomplishment on the bike, as the lady recorded some 30 victories against male contenders throughout her career.

* And the most loyal "Girino"? It was Wladimiro "Miro" Panizza, who took part in 18 (!!!) editions of his country's Grand Tour. And finished no less than 16 of them (!!!).

* Most Stage Victories:
Mario Cipollini (Ita) - 42 wins
Alfredo Binda (Ita) - 41 wins
Learco Guerra (Ita) - 31 wins
Costante Girardengo (Ita) - 30 wins
Eddy Merckx (Bel) - 25 wins
Giuseppe Saronni (Ita) - 24 wins
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) - 24 wins
Francesco Moser (Ita) - 23 wins
Fausto Coppi (Ita) - 22 wins
Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) - 22 wins
Franco Bitossi (Ita) - 21 wins
Giuseppe Olmo (Ita) - 20 wins
Miguel Poblet (Spa) - 20 wins

* Most Stages as GC Leader:
Eddy Merckx (Bel) - 77 stages
Alfredo Binda (Ita) - 59 stages
Francesco Moser (Ita) - 57 stages
Gino Bartali (Ita) - 50 stages
Giuseppe Saronni (Ita) - 49 stages
Jacques Anquetil (Fra) - 42 stages
Fausto Coppi (Ita) - 31 stages
Bernard Hinault (Fra) - 31 stages
Miguel Indurain (Spa) - 29 stages
Roberto Visentini (Ita) - 27 stages
Costante Girardengo (Ita) - 26 stages
Felice Gimondi (Ita) - 24 stages
Fiorenzo Magni (Ita) - 24 stages

Red indicates rider still active.

* The "Race Bosses": the main character of the organizing body in the first Giros was Mr. Armando Cougnet, a former journalist, and a true cycling fan, born in 1880, who kept his "race boss" status until 1946. His place was taken by Vincenzo Torriani, who led the Giro machine until 1992, the last four years along with a Neapolitan lawyer named Carmine Castellano, who took over the job all by himself in 1992 and was in his turn replaced by the current "boss", Angelo Zomegnan, a former journalist at the "Gazzetta dello Sport" rosa paper (just like Cougnet was), after the 2003 event.

* The Cima Coppi is the nickname given to the highest climb of the competition. It was introduced in 1965, half a decade after the "Campionissimo" passed away: it was the legendary Stelvio that gained the status of "Coppi Climb" in that edition. And regained it more than once, in the 2006 contest included. But Cima Coppi of the next Tour of Italy will be another legendary "Passo", the terrible Gavia Pass (2618m asl), which the riders (well, those still in the saddle...) will have to take on in a very, very, veeeery challenging leg containing also the legendary Mortirolo, one of Europe's toughest climbs at all.

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