Curiosity

The 1919 Giro was the first after the Great War.

The war years had been terrible, with many losses that had also affected the world of sports and tremendous destruction in the regions of Veneto and Friuli and poverty in the rest of Italy.

In that sad period, the Gazzetta kept the cycling movement alive, organizing the Milano-Sanremo and Lombardy races and so it could not miss the appointment in 1919.

The first act of the Giro was to go to Trieste and Trento, which had been won back from the Austrians. In these two cities, where it was given a triumphant welcome, Costante Giradengo raced by wearing the Champion of Italy jersey with the colours of the Italian flag, bearing the message of reconquered Italy.

There were a lot of difficulties on the route because in the terrible years of the war, the roads had been abandoned to their fate and essential services were lacking everywhere. For example the Tagliamento River had to be crossed on foot, because there were no bridges, but luckily it was dry.

The “isolated” riders, almost all war veterans, were called “the have-nots”. The Milan Army Corps guaranteed assistance to carry luggage with an 18 BL lorry left over from the war, and the bicycle manufacturers offered thirty bicycles. The Gazzetta dello Sport then guaranteed it would give all the isolated riders who reached Milan a minimum prize of 180 Lire.

However, there was no story to tell about the race, so great was the superiority of Girardengo. Even though he was recovering from an attack of the dangerous epidemic of Spanish flu, he won seven out of the ten stages and was at the top of the general classification form the first to the last day. Nevertheless, the young Belloni and the first-rate Swiss cyclist Oscar Egg, who won the first stage of the Giro, also put themselves into the limelight.

Planimetry

Riders

Costante Girardengo

Statistics

STAGE
START – FINISH
WINNER
1 MILANO – TRENTO
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante
2 TRENTO – TRIESTE
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante
3 TRIESTE – FERRARA
Switzerland
Che
EGG Oscar
4 FERRARA – PESCARA
Italia
Ita
CORLAITA Ezio
5 PESCARA – NAPOLI
Italia
Ita
BELLONI Gaetano
6 NAPOLI – ROMA
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante
7 ROMA – FIRENZE
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante
8 FIRENZE – GENOVA
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante
9 GENOVA – TORINO
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante
10 TORINO – MILANO
Italia
Ita
GIRARDENGO Costante

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