As easily imaginable, the Giro d’Italia has crossed into Switzerland a number of times in its 100-year history, but much more rarely has it landed in the canton of Valais, which is back this year with the Crans-Montana arrival, preceded by Sion in 1957 and Saas-Fee in 1965, but also Leukerbad in 1963, 30 km outside Crans Montana.
That of 1963 was the second Giro won by Franco Balmamion, well-known for winning both of them without ever taking home a stage, but it was also Vito Taccone‘s Corsa Rosa, who won four consecutive stages, including that of Leukerbad. The book “Il camoscio e il borraccino” by Arcopinto and Pandimiglio includes a fine account by the exuberant Taccone himself of that triumphant day.
“The next stage would take us from Oropa to Leukerbad, in Switzerland – we read -. On the Gran San Bernardo Pass I basically destroyed everyone. At 4 km to go, however, I ended up with my wheels between the rails of a mountain track. The tubular of the front wheel came off. I stopped to put it back in place. Vittorio Adorni overtook me with a grit: he thought he had won. He was wrong!
I caught up with him and dropped him again, winning my third consecutive stage. But my greatest satisfaction came after the stage, when Adorni told a journalist: ‘I gave it all out there, you have to believe me, but that devil couldn’t be hold back! He won deservedly. On Simplon he imposed a gruelling pace, one sprint after the other’. My great enemy was bowing to my strength”.