* 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
* 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)
* Fastest ever stage: May 17, 1997: (winner : Mario Cipollini - av. speed: 48.521 km/h)
* 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)
* The 1st EVER GIRO STAGE got underway at Milano's Piazzale Loreto on May 13, 1909, at 02:53 AM. 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.
But 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" edition, with just eight finishers out of 81 starters.
* The 1st EVER ITT, 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 LAST TEAM TT before the announced comeback of such event in the 2006 edition was the 33-km. leg from Villafranca Tirrena to Messina (both are Sicilian towns), taking place in 1989, and won by the Ariostea squad, that averaged a speed of 52.702 kph.
* The most unusual Giro competitor ever was 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
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
Costante Girardengo (Ita) - 26 stages
Roberto Visentini (Ita) - 26 stages
Felice Gimondi (Ita) - 24 stages
Fiorenzo Magni (Ita) - 24 stages
* Maglia Bianca / White Jersey Winners (Best Young Riders). 1976 to 1994: This jersey, still awarded at the Tour de France, is no longer part of the Giro d'Italia lore. The last time it made its appearance on Tour of Italy roads dates back to the 1994 edition, when Russia's Berzin claimed both the "Bianca" and "Rosa" Maglias.
- 1976: Alfio Vandi
- 1977: Mario Beccia
- 1978: Roberto Visentini
- 1979: Silvano Contini
- 1980: Tommy Prim (Swe)
- 1981: Giuseppe Faraca
- 1982: Marco Groppo
- 1983: Franco Chioccioli
- 1984: Charlie Mottet (Fra)
- 1985: Alberto Volpi
- 1986: Franco Giovannetti
- 1987: Roberto Conti
- 1988: Stefano Tomasini
- 1989: Vladimir Poulnikov (USSR)
- 1990: Vladimir Poulnikov (USSR)
- 1991: Massimiliano Lelli
- 1992: Pavel Tonkov (Rus)
- 1993: Pavel Tonkov (Rus)
- 1994: Evgueni Berzin (Rus)
* 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 at 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 2005 contest included. But Cima Coppi of the next Tour of Italy will be another legendary "Passo", the terrible Gavia, that all riders still in the saddle will have to take on halfway through a stellar stage coming on the penultimate day of racing, and featuring also ascents like the Tonale and Mortirolo!
The Giro ... of other countries. A Short History: The Tour of Italy sets off outside the nation's borders for the eighth time to date: it occured first in the year 1965, as the first ever foreign state to host a Giro d'Italia opener was ... the Republic of San Marino! One of the smallest nations around, but also the most ancient Republic on the planet, perched on the top of Mount Titano, San Marino had the honour of becoming starting place of the first stage of that edition, that consisted of 98 km. trip to Perugia, with talented Michele Dancelli as first winner and Maglia Rosa wearer. The following season, it was the turn of another "microstate" situated not far from the Italian border, the Principality of Monaco, to welcome the Girini. The opening round of the 1966 competition ran from well-known Montecarlo to the Western Liguria seaside town of Diano Marina, and Vito Taccone took line honours.
Belgium will be hosting the race kick-off for the second time instead, after Eddy The Cannibal and his teammate Roger Swerts blew the field apart (in front of a crowd of more than 170,000) in the 1973 opener, a two-man ITT held at Verviers, near Liege, on Friday, May 18 (a few pictures and some text - in French - of the event can be found here). The Giro crew graced the soil of Germany, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland too, before they finally got back to Italy. The "micro-state tradition" continued as the 1974 event started no less than in the world's smallest sovereign nation: the Vatican State, an ecclesiastical landlocked enclave surrounded by Rome ... and smaller than the Mall in Washington, DC. But whose #1 citizen (the current one goes under the name of Joseph Ratzinger, but you may happen to know him by a different name ...) arguably ranks among the best-known personalities on the planet. The 164-km. journey to the Latium town of Formia was won by Belgium's own Guido Reybrouck.
It took 22 more years for the race opener to cross the border again. And it took also an event like the 100th anniversay of the first modern Olympics. As a tribute to the Athens 1896 Games, the Corsa Rosa moved to Greece's soil, and the first stage, held in the country's main city, couldn't have a better winner than Silvio Martinello, one of the guys who was going to honour Italian (track) cycling at the Olympic Games, courtesy of the medals he was going to earn both at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney four years later. More stages on Grecian (er ... Greek) territory came the following days. It didn't take long for cycling fans to be able to enjoy another "foreign start": just two years, as the "PantaGiro" 1998, dominated by Il Pirata, started with a showdown by what was supposed to be his chief rival (though the road spoke differently), Alex Zuelle, who smashed opposition in the first ever Giro ITT prologue running on France's soil, a 7-km. challenge thru the streets of Nice, as he averaged a speed of 53.053 km/h.
And last but not least, the 2002 challenge, whose early part bore striking resemblances to the upcoming edition. Similarly to the next Corsa Rosa, we had a start in Benelux, and some riding inside Belgium. Only it was The Netherlands that played host to the kick-off those days, with the town of Groningen - occasionally re-named ... Giro-ningen -, as first crime scene. A "crime scene" Spain's Juan Carlos Domínguez (Phonak) certainly has good memories of, as he was well-deserving winner of the ITT prologue, with Belgian Rick Verbrugghe (best against the clock in the previous prologue, twelve months earlier) and future race winner Paolo Savoldelli as remaining top three finishers of the day. More kilometres on non-Italian soil came, with Münster (Germany), Liege (Belgium), Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France) hosting the respective stage finishes. Similarly to what's going to happen in the next month of May, the first rest day, featured by a long transfer back to the race "homeland", came unusually early into the race.