During late May and early June one of the biggest bicycle races was held in Italy - Giro d’Italia. Since I work in the tourist office in Feltre, I was almost at the epicenter of this event, because one of the stops was in Feltre, so I would like to tell about this race now.
What is the Giro d’Italia?
The Giro d’Italia is one of the biggest and most popular sporting events in Italy. This annual event attracts some of the top cyclists from around the world. Along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro makes up cycling's prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same, with the appearance of at least two time trials, and a passage through the mountains of the Alps, including the Dolomites. Like the other Grand Tours, the modern editions of the Giro d'Italia normally consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period that includes 2 rest days.
History and interesting facts:
A pink local newspaper called ‘La Gazzetta’ came up with a marketing idea to increase their sales; they would hold a cycling race. Thus, the Giro d’Italia was born and the first race took place on May 13, 1909. As years and decades went by, Giro d'Italia became more and more popular and firmly established as one of the three “Grand Tours”. In the modern version of the race, its winners are still determined by the lowest aggregate timings, while specific stages can have their own point or time-based competitions (Mountains classification, Points classification, Team classification, etc.). As other grand tours, Giro d'Italia features stages with mass starts, individual time trials, team time trials and stage towns.
According to the tradition of Giro d'Italia, the finish of each race was almost always staged in Milan, although in few races finished in Rome and Verona. Starting point is much loose, enabling neighboring countries to hold such prestigious events. Between 1965 and 2014, starting line of Giro d'Italia was hosted in cities such as San Marino, Monte Carlo, Athens, Nice, Amsterdam, Belfast, Vatican City and others.
Giro d’Italia in 2019:
The Giro d'Italia 2019 was the 102nd edition and was the first Grand Tour of the 2019 cycling season. The race started with an individual time trial in Bologna, and finished with another time-trial in Verona. During these three weeks, 3,537.6 kilometers were raced in this edition, and 142 riders finished at the Giro. The race was won by Richard Carapaz, who became the first Ecuadorian rider to win the Giro d'Italia. Italian Vincenzo Nibali finished second and Slovenian rider Primož Roglič was in third place.
During this time, all the cities where the race took place were decorated with pink. Pink is the theme colour of the Giro d’Italia - it was chosen to represent the pink-colored paper of “La Gazzetta”. Work in the tourist office was also very busy during the race, thousands of people from all over the world came to support their national teams and at the same time explore Italy and the Dolomites.
It is worth noting that it has already been announced that next year the race will begin in Budapest and end in Sicily, and it will be the 14th Great Departure from abroad for the Giro d’Italia.