“Luigi Ganna, Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi, Marco Pantani, Vincenzo Nibali – Beardy McBeardini. What a party this is going to be – I’m going to have so much vino and grissini in me I suspect I’ll qualify as an honorary Italian. Bellissimo! Happy 100th anniversary to the Corsa Rosa – and I’ll see you out on the course”
– Beardy McBeard
Fun facts about the Giro
Some of the stuff that may or may not make it into the cycling news...
Italy has the most wins by a country, with 41 Italian cyclists winning 68 Giros between them. If an Italian wins in this centenary year - the country will go nuts. If an Italian DOESN’T win - errr, same result. Either way, Vincenzo Nibali will be nervous.
La Gazzetta dello Sport offered Alfredo Binda 22,000 lira to take a dive in 1930 and not beat up on his competition (he had won 8 consecutive stages in 1929, on the way to his 3rd consecutive Giro). He refused, but still failed to win (you don’t mess with the family, apparently).
The Italians had a black jersey, the ‘maglia nera’, awarded to the rider who accumulated the most time in the saddle (and, therefore, came last in the general classification). Much more desirable and stylish (not to mention slimming) than any lanterne rouge, it was introduced in 1946 before being ignominiously dumped in 1951 after it turned out riders were deliberately wasting time to win the infamous award. The last ‘winner’ of the maglia nera was Giovanni Pinarello. Yes, THAT Pinarello.
Apparently time penalties experience deflation. In 2015, Richie Porte was penalised 2 minutes for taking Simon Clarke’s wheel, costing him a chance at victory. In 1922, Giovanni Brunero was sanctioned an astonishing 25 minutes for the same offence (borrowing a wheel from a teammate this time). However, in true Italian fashion, he contemptuously went on and won the race anyway.
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