Friday, May 16, 2014

Buon Compleanno Giro d'Italia

The Giro d'Italia officially celebrates its 105th birthday today. After kicking off the 97th edition (took some time off for world wars) with 3 stages on the Emerald Island last week, stage 4 was perfectly timed to start at the same location (though not at the same ungodly hour) as the first stage of the first edition of the 'Corsa Rosa' in 1909.

A Little Trivia

There have been 11 foreign starts of the Giro. If you don't count the Vatican City start in 1974, half of those starts have have occurred since 2002. 

The first ed. of the Giro d’Italia left Milan at 3:53am on the morning of May 13, 1909 and finished in Milan on the 30th of May after eight stages and about 1,500 miles of racing.

Only 49 of the 127 starters completed the first race.

Luigi Ganna won the first edition at an average speed of about 16mph.

American Andy Hampsten became the first non-European winner of the Giro in 1988, so far the only American victor. Hampsten was also the first American to wear the Maglia Rosa (the leader's jersey)

In May 2008, 20 years after Hampsten's win, the new American team Garmin-Chipotle won the team time trial in stage 1, and Christian Vandevelde, as the first member of the team to finish, became the second American to wear the Pink Jersey. 

Ron Kiefel was the first American to win a stage in any of the Grand Tours with a win in Stage 15 of the 1985 Giro for Team 7-Eleven (competing in its first Grand Tour) and was followed by Andy Hampsten's (also from Team 7-Eleven) victory a few days later in Stage 20. Looking back, here's what Hampsten had to say about Kiefel's win: "You can't downplay what Kiefel did. His win kicked down the door for all of us. He rode away from the peloton and showed everyone on the team that we were capable of doing what we were there to do."

The first American to officially win at least one stage at each of the three Grand Tours was David Zabriskie, who won Stage 11 in the 2004 Vuelta while riding for U.S. Postal and time trials in both the 2005 Giro (Stage 8), and the 2005 Tour (Stage 1) while riding for CSC to complete the first "official" triple by an American. 

Lance Armstrong participated in his first double in Grand Tours in 2009 when he rode the Giro d'Italia as well as the Tour de France. 

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