The Giro was founded in 1909 in a very similar circumstance to the Tour de France.
Competition between two newspapers – Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere della Sera, led to Gazzetta setting up and organizing the first Giro to promote their newspaper. The RCS Sport division of the company is responsible for management and operations of the Giro d’Italia. Gazzetta dello Sport is printed on pink paper, hence the leader’s jersey, or Maglia Rosa, in the Giro is pink!
RCS Sport also organises other iconic cycling races – Milan – San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Strade Bianche, Il Lombardia and the Dubai Tour.
The geography of Italy includes such magnificent mountain ranges as the Alps, the Dolomites and the Appenines, which give the organisers a rich tapestry from which to draw the route each year. All of cycling’s greatest heroes have made their mark on the roads in Italy – Bottechia, Binda, Coppi, Bartali, Magni, Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Roche, Indurain and Pantani amongst others.
Over the years the Giro has started outside of Italy with Big Starts (Grande Partenza) taking place in The Netherlands (2002 and 2010), Athens (1996), France (1998), Belgium (1973 and 2006) and last year the most successful of all – Northern Ireland!
Sacrifice and Effort – Respect – History and Tradition – Modernity and Innovation – Made in Italy
The Giro in Numbers
- 800 million potential audiences worldwide
- 12.6 million spectators view the race at the roadside in Italy
- 2.8 million spectators attend the Big Start (Grand Partenza)
- 301 hours of television programming in Italy alone
- €34 million worth of immediate economic benefit
- €76 million worth of medium to long term value generated
- 1021 accredited journalists
- 433 accredited photographers
- 9400 publications around the world place stories on the Giro
- 6,300,000 views of official Giro Facebook page
- 1 million children in “Bike School” the official Giro primary school program
- 5 Most Giro d’Italia victories – Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx
- 76 Most days in the Maglia Rosa – Eddy Merckx
- 20 Youngest rider to win Giro d’Italia – Fausto Coppi
Senior cycling correspondent for Gazzetta dello Sport, Pier Bergonzi, was recently moved to write these eloquent words on the Giro d’Italia:
“We are a kind of circus, a big orchestra, a wandering show. We too, are forming a group. We are racers who don’t race with pedals, but with words, wisecracks, photographs and images, fences and gates, tables and chairs, plugs and adaptors, telephones and microphones. We are a mobile town and every twentyfour hours we rise anew or we move again, we take our marks and quit our marks. We are moved by passion and love, we are captivated and fascinated. We are employed or we are hired, we are undertakers or intern, amateur and nevertheless professionals, people who do it also for free. We are numbers, first names, last names, but above all we are nicknames. We are faces and signatures, eyes and looks. We are men and women on the run, and during three weeks we shall keep asking ourselves if flight is not the better kind of pursuit. And above all, in our own way, we love each other.”