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Memories of Viareggio, 1982: Saronni’s show


That Giro started with a team time trial of 16 km through the streets of Milan and finishing in Piazza Duomo. Renault-Elf-Gitane – the team led by the great favourite of that edition, Bernard Hinault – won the stage, flying at an average speed of more than 50 km/h and had already put its captain in the Maglia Rosa.

The first traditional stage was obviously scheduled for the next day and took the riders from Parma to Viareggio for a total of 174 km. In Piazza Mazzini, a sprint was to be and sprint it was, with the multifaceted Giuseppe Saronni (Del Tongo-Colnago) showing all his strength by putting Paolo Rosola (Atala-Campagnolo) and Robert Dill-Bundi (Hoonved-Bottecchia) behind him. All regular? Not exactly: after the stage, things got complicated for the jury, who miscalculated the time bonuses to be awarded and first assigned the Maglia Rosa to the Swiss Dill-Bundi, then to Saronni, then gave it back to Hinault and finally established that the Frenchman Patrick Bonnet, Hinault’s team-mate, was the new GC leader.

Viareggio also hosted the start of the following stage, with arrival in Cortona and victory going to the Australian Michael Wilson and the Maglia Rosa on the shoulders of a very young Laurent Fignon. However, that was Hinault’s Giro. The French arrived in Turin in the Maglia Rosa for the second time in his career, beating the Bianchi duo formed by Swede Tommy Prim and Silvano Contini.

And what about Saronni? Well, 1982 was his magic year: at the Giro he would win two more stages, in Palermo and Pinerolo, while at the end of the year he would place another blow destined to remain in the annals, the Goodwood one, which would earn him the rainbow jersey of world champion.

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