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The Giro d'Italia is one of the world's most important and popular bicycle races, yet there is almost no information in English about this magical Italian race's rich past. With The Story of the Giro d'Italia, the fabulous history of Italy's national tour is at last available. Volume One takes the story of the Giro from its origin as a desperate promotional gamble by a nearly broke newspaper to Eddy Merckx's convincing 1970 victory.
Volume 1 of The Story of the Giro d'Italia tells of Italy's most celebrated riders: Costante Girardengo, the first campionissimo, or “Champion of Champions”; Alfredo Binda, who so dominated the Giro that one year he was paid by the organizers not to enter; Gino Bartali, who looked to become the dominating rider of his era; and Fausto Coppi, a fascinating personality and Bartali's great rival, who became not only Italy's, but the world's finest rider.
The great rivalry between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali is known to many cycling fans, mostly because of their adventures in the Tour de France. But for much of bike racing's history, the Alps have been a high wall, and Italian sponsors preferred to keep their racers at home where they could earn valuable publicity. Because of this, there is a whole world of great athletes who are virtually unknown to the non-Italian cycling fan. How about Giovanni Valetti? In 1939 Valetti beat Bartali when Gino was at the very peak of his powers. Has anyone heard of Giuseppe Enrici, the Giro winner who was born in Pittsburgh? Alfonsina Strada was the only woman who entered (and unofficially finished) a Grand Tour. And there was Giordano Cottur, who won a Giro stage in Trieste while guns blazed.
Clearly, this is a story that has to be told, and it's all there in The Story of the Giro d'Italia.
Volume Two of The Story of the Giro d'Italia takes the story from 1971 through 2011.