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Memories from… Lake Garda, 1971: Boifava’s time trial, and Pettersson…


Desenzano del Garda has hosted a Giro d’Italia time trial once before, back in 1971. While this year it will serve as the arrival location, in 1971 it staged the start of a time trial on the Lombard shores of Lake Garda, which ended in Serniga di Salò after 28 km.

It was Stage 12, and to everyone’s surprise, victory went to Davide Boifava. That time trial was a hard one to interpret, due to a final climb of just under 5 kilometres that the GC men had perhaps feared a little too much, therefore tackling the earlier part of the TT a little too quietly. Boifava, on the other hand, had pushed hard on the flat and defended himself well on the climb, defeating the great specialist Ole Ritter by 7 seconds, Felice Gimondi, not in his best shape in that Giro, by 33‘, and the mighty Swede Gösta Pettersson by 1’13’.

“Victory went to a rider that everyone had forgotten about,’ wrote the Corriere della Sera at the time, ‘Davide Boifava, teammate of the Maglia Rosa Claudio Michelotto. And if everyone had forgotten about him, that was indeed his own fault. Two years ago, he first appeared in the cycling world as a highly promising rider, he then disappeared from the scene, and in this Giro he had never made anyone talk about him. Today, however, he accomplished a great feat and won the stage against all odds”.

With Gimondi delayed from the first week, this turned out to be a highly tactical Giro, basically an elimination race. The Maglia Rosa Michelotto collapsed on the Passo Pordoi, in Stage 18, opening the way to a triumph for Gösta Pettersson, the only one by a Swedish rider in the history of the Grand Tours.


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