The full, rich story of the legendary Giro d'Italia, published to celebrate its 100th edition.
The story of the Giro d'Italia, more demanding and unpredictable even than the Tour de France, is as dramatic and characterful as that of Italy itself. Heroism, suffering, feuds and betrayals, tradition under threat from modernity, all play out against a landscape of extremes.
First contested in 1909 and then every year since, interrupted only by the First World War, the Giro began as an ordeal, with 400 km stages, night time starts and fixed geared bicycles on rough tracks. In the postwar period it was animated by the near-miraculous deeds of 'Il Campionissimo', Fausto Coppi, his feud with Gino Bartali and his scandalous lifestyle. In more recent times the story of the spectacularly gifted yet self-destructive Marco Pantani has been described as 'perhaps the greatest cycling story ever told'.
The Giro has given birth to many of the most potent myths in cycling; Giro d'Italia tells these stories and brings to life their iconic protagonists. In doing so, it also shows how much the legend of the Giro reveals of Italian society and its many contradictions.
Colin O'Brien is an Irish cycling writer based in Rome and deeply embedded in the Italian pro cycling scene. He contributes to Rouleur, Peloton, Cyclist and the Irish Independent among other publications.
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