GIRO’23: A Bit of La Corsa Rosa History
A quick Giro history lesson
Giro History As we wait for the 2023 battle of the Giro d’Italia to kick-off with the first stage individual time trial of 19.6 kilometres in the Abruzzo region, this would be a good time for a history lesson. A quick run through the ‘Rosa’ back-story.
# You can see the ‘PEZ Giro’23 Route Preview’ HERE and the ‘PEZ Giro’23 Rider Preview’ HERE. #
All of Italy is pink in May
In the first edition of the Giro d’Italia, in 1909, won by Luigi Ganna, the leader in the race did not wear a pink jersey in those days. It wasn’t until the early 1930s, twelve years after the Tour de France had their first yellow jersey, that the Italian Grand Tour had the idea of the ‘Maglia Rosa’. Much like the Tour, pink was chosen because the organising newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, was printed on pink paper. On May 10, 1931, the first pink jersey was pulled on the shoulders of Learco Guerra.
The first pink jersey – Learco Guerra
Guerra will be remembered as first wearer of the pink jersey, but the rider from San Nicolò Po, who was World champion in Copenhagen in 1931, didn’t win the Giro that year. Two days after he was awarded the jersey in the opening stage to Mantua, he lost it to his great rival Alfredo Binda. Binda was also unable to take the jersey to Milan, that honour went to Francesco Camusso who was the final overall winner of the 1931 Giro.
Alfredo Binda – Campionissimi
Alfredo Binda was the second of the Campionissimi. Costante Girardengo was the first to receive the title of ‘Champion of Champions’ at the beginning of the 20th century, but was eventually surpassed by Binda. ‘La Gioconda’ was the ‘main man’ in the cycling world of the 1920s and 1930s. The stylish rider was World champion three times, but won the Giro d’Italia five times. Binda won the Italian three-week stage race in 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1933. Only two riders have managed to match Binda, who died in 1986. Fausto Coppi also won the Giro five times in a span of thirteen years: 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. Eddy Merckx did the same twenty years later in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974). Binda is in good company.
Fausto Coppi – A five-time Giro winner
Binda, Coppi and Merckx should remain record holders for quite a while. In the current peloton, no one comes close, there are no active rider who have won the Giro more than once. Tao Geoghegan Hart is the only rider who could take his second Giro win this year. Nairo Quintana, Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal and Jai Hindley are the other single winners who are still professional cyclists, but none of them will be at the start.
Tao Geoghegan Hart could lake his second Giro win this year
Last year, Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali were part of the Giro peloton. In 2017, Dumoulin was the first and only Dutch overall winner and Nibali took the final pink twice. The Shark of Messina gave the tifosi the last Italian victory in 2016. As you would expect, Italy is well ahead in the country ranking: 69 times a home rider has taken the final honours. Belgium has seven victories, thanks to Merckx (5x), Johan De Muynck and Michel Pollentier.
Eddy Merck – The other five-time Giro winner
The pink leader’s jersey would go on to become a household name in cycling and a sought-after item for the sport’s greatest champions. Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Induraín, Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali all wore pink.
Who wouldn’t want pink?
Last year the first pink jersey of the 2022 Giro d’Italia was worn by Mathieu van der Poel. The Dutchman had a perfect opening day of the Tour of Italy. From Budapest in Hungary, the stage had the not too difficult Cat 4 final climb to Visegrád, MVDP lived up to its role of favourite and with a powerful sprint he beat Gent-Wevelgem winner Biniam Girmay.
Van der Poel in pink
At the end of stage four Lennard Kämna beat fellow escapee Juan Pedro López on Mount Etna, but the Spaniard took the overall lead. The Trek-Segafredo rider kept the pink jersey for ten days, until the stage to Turin. There he lost more than four minutes on the favourites and Richard Carapaz was in the lead, but he only had 7 seconds on Jai Hindley. On stage 16 to Aprica the Australian took 4 bonus seconds and was trailing Carapaz by a meagre 3 seconds.
Juan Pedro López held pink
Carapaz was watching Hindley, but on the last mountain of the road last stage, the INEOS Grenadiers’ leader cracked. With only 2 kilometres to go, Carapaz couldn’t hold Hindley and Lennard Kämna. Kämna had dropped back from the front group to help his teammate Hindley and due to the tough pace, the Ecuadorian was in trouble. At the finish line Hindley had almost a minute and a half on Carapaz. In the 17.4 kilometre final time trial, Carapaz only managed to take back 7 seconds and the 2022 Giro went to Hindley.
Hindley cracked Carapaz on the final climb
The Last Ten Giro d’Italia Winners:
2022: Jai Hindley
2021: Egan Bernal
2020: Tao Geoghegan Hart
2019: Richard Carapaz
2018: Chris Froome
2017: Tom Dumoulin
2016: Vincenzo Nibali
2015: Alberto Contador
2014: Nairo Quintana
2013: Vincenzo Nibali.
Giro d’Italia 2023 | Top Contenders Maglia Rosa
The first Giro d’Italia was in 1909, with Luigi Ganna making history, but there was no best climber competition yet. That followed 24 years later, in 1933. The honour of first winner went to five-time overall victor, Alfredo Binda. In the 1930s and 1940s, the mountain classification was dominated by two Italian icons: Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. Bartali won the mountains classification seven times and is still the record holder. This record looks like it will ever be broken again.
Seven-time Giro KOM – Gino Bartali
Italy is at the top of the King of the Mountains classification, but don’t forget the Spaniards and Colombians. José Manuel Fuente won the classification four years in a row between 1971 and 1974. Belgium also took it a number of times: Jean Brankart was the first Belgian in 1958 and was succeeded by Rik Van Looy (1960), Eddy Merckx (1968), Martin Vandenbossche (1970) and Lucien Van Impe (1982 and 1983).
Lucien Van Impe on Hinault’s wheel
As in every Grand Tour, the KOM jersey has a specific colour. In the early decades, the leader of the King of the Mountains classification was unrecognisable, but the race decided on a green colour, which was used until 2012. Since 2013 it has been blue, RCS Sport, the organisers, gave this explanation for the Maglia Azzurra: “The mountain jersey is as blue as the sky. Because when you give it your all on a climb and you feel the power draining away, the blue sky becomes your guiding light. Your target. Your goal to keep going. A piece of that sky will be the reward.”
Not a good moment for Julián Arredondo on the road to Montecampione in the 2014 Giro
Lennard Kämna won the fourth stage that finished on Mount Etna and had a big lead in the mountain classification. Kämna wore the jersey for several days, but on the seventh stage, the blue jersey went to Koen Bouwman who surprisingly won the stage and gathered 68 KOM points. But Bouwman lost the blue jersey on the stage to the Blockhaus. Diego Rosa scored a lot of points and wore the jersey through stage fifteen. On that stage, Bouwman was again in the early break and collected a lot of points. Giulio Ciccone came up for a while, but after a second victory by Bouwman on the nineteenth stage, the King of the Mountains classification was his. A the end the Giro d’Italia he had amassed 294 points and wrote history as the first Dutch winner of the Giro KOM.
The 2022 Giro KOM – Koen Bouwman
The Last Ten Giro d’Italia KOM Winners:
2022: Koen Bouwman
2021: Geoffrey Bouchard
2020: Ruben Guerreiro
2019: Giulio Ciccone
2018: Chris Froome
2017: Mikel Landa
2016: Mikel Nieve
2015: Giovanni Visconti
2014: Julián Arredondo
2013: Stefano Pirazzi.
Giro d’Italia 2023 | Top Contenders Maglia Azzurra
Points Competition History
Since 1958, the Giro d’Italia has had a points classification. However, it took until 1967 for a jersey to be presented. For the first three years (1967-1969) the points jersey was red, but then it changed to purple, Ciclamino in Italian. That change lasted for forty years, because between 2010 and 2016 RCS decided to make the points jersey red again. That didn’t last long, because from 2017, on the occasion of the centenary anniversary of the Giro, the jersey turned purple again. Fernando Gaviria was the final winner that year.
Gaviria won the ‘new’ Ciclamino jersey in 2017
The first winner of the points classification was Gianni Motta, who also won the final overall that year, but he didn’t get the jersey. Dino Zandegù had the honour of being the first wearer of the points jersey in 1967. For a long time, the jersey was awarded to a GC rider, but that changed in the 1990s. More and more it became a jersey for sprinters.
Gianni Motta – The first points winner, but no jersey
Five times the jersey was awarded a Belgian winner: twice Eddy Merckx (1968 and 1973) and three times Roger De Vlaeminck (1972, 1974 and 1975). Home riders Francesco Moser and Giuseppe Saronni won the points competition four times each in the period between 1976 and 1983. They are still record holders.
Moser – Points and overall winner of the Giro
In the last ten years, Giacomo Nizzolo (2015 and 2016) was the only rider to take the points jersey more than once, for a long time, until Arnaud Démare won the points classification for the second time last year after his first in 2020.
Démare – Double points winner
The points classification was going to be an exciting battle. Caleb Ewan started, but said he would pull out before the finish. There were other strong sprinters such as Giacomo Nizzolo, Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Démare, Fernando Gaviria, plus Biniam Girmay and Mathieu van der Poel who could also get over the climbs.
Van der Poel had ciclamino after pink
Mathieu van der Poel won the opening stage and rode a strong time trial in Budapest, which put him in ciclamino. Cavendish won the first bunch sprint, ahead of Démare and Gaviria, we now knew which riders were keen for the points.
Cavendish on stage 3
The fifth and sixth stages went to Démare. With two stage victories in a row, he had a lead of more than 50 points. The purple jersey would stay with the leader of Groupama-FDJ until Verona.
Démare sealed his points win on stage 13 in Cuneo
There were not many sprint opportunities after that in a very tough Giro. Alberto Dainese surprisingly won in Reggio Emilia and Démare put the finishing touches in Cuneo with a third stage victory. With eight stages to go, he had 238 of his final 254 points. Second placed Gaviria was at more than 100 points.
Démare was by far the top on points
Last Ten Winners of the Giro Points Classification
2022: Arnaud Démare
2021: Peter Sagan
2020: Arnaud Démare
2019: Pascal Ackermann
2018: Elia Viviani
2017: Fernando Gaviria
2016: Giacomo Nizzolo
2015: Giacomo Nizzolo
2014: Nacer Bouhanni
2013: Mark Cavendish.
Giro d’Italia 2023 | Top Contenders Maglia Ciclamino
Young Rider Competition History
As in the Tour de France and since 2019 in the Vuelta a España, the Giro d’Italia has a classification for riders under the age of 25. The first edition of this youth prize was in 1976, although the requirement was then that you were a maximum of 24 years old. The then 20 year-old Alfio Vandi was the first winner. The Italian never developed much of a career, although he did finish several times in the top 10 of the final GC in the Giro and the Tour of Lombardy. In the 1976 edition of the Giro, there were 24 stages and only one rest day.
Berzin in ’94 on the wheel of Indurain
The young rider classification only has 34 winners, as the white jersey was not awarded after 1994. The last winner was Yevgeny Berzin, who also took the final overall that same year. Other winners were Pavel Tonkov (twice), Vladimir Pulnikov (twice) Massimiliano Lelli, Charly Mottet, Franco Chioccioli, Tommy Prim and Roberto Visentini. Tonkov, Chioccioli and Visentini were also overall winners later in their careers.
Visentini on the wheel of De Muynck
The maglia bianca returned in 2007. That year, Andy Schleck, who was 21 at the time, won the young rider classification after finishing second overall. He was succeeded a year later by ‘bad boy’ Riccardo Riccò. In 2009, Kevin Seeldraeyers had a battle with Francesco Masciarelli, which ended in his favour. Richie Porte and Rigoberto Urán showed themselves in the next two years.
Andy Schleck was the winner of the returned young rider competition on 2007
The 2022 edition started well for Biniam Girmay, who was in the white jersey, after his second place in the opening stage in Hungary behind Mathieu van der Poel. The Eritrean couldn’t enjoy his lead for long, because Italian time trial champion Matteo Sobrero took over the white jersey on the second day as he finishing fourth in the individual time. The jersey changed hands again on the fourth day. Juan Pedro López was second on Mount Etna, but was wearing the white and the pink jerseys at the end of the day.
Pink and white for López
The Spaniard was the best young rider for ten days, but never wore the white jersey as he was also in the pink. Mauri Vansevenant was second in the competition and wore white until the stage to Blockhaus. João Almeida took over the white jersey from López in Turin and looked to be unbeatable, until a positive test for covid stopped him after the seventeenth stage and so Lopez won.
Nibali congratulates Lòpez
Last Ten Winners of the Giro Young Riders Competition
2022: Juan Pedro López
2021: Egan Bernal
2020: Tao Geoghegan Hart
2019: Miguel Ángel López
2018: Miguel Ángel López
2017: Bob Jungels
2016: Bob Jungels
2015: Fabio Aru
2014: Nairo Quintana
2013: Carlos Betancur.
Giro d’Italia 2023 | Top Contenders Maglia Bianca
# A little bit of Giro history to whet your appetite. Thanks to WeilerFlits for the facts and inspiration. Stay PEZ for everything Giro d’Italia. #
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