Stage 1: Torino – Torino, the loveliest podium girl
Torino has been a frequent host and feature of the Giro d’Italia, with three ‘big starts’ and countless stage starts or finishes. This is the story of the finish of the second to last stage of the 1949 edition at the long-neglected and soon-to-be restored velodrome in Corso Casale.
The velodrome is located in the district called Madonna del Pilone, at the foot of Superga, the hill on top of which Victor Amadeus II had built the majestic basilica as a token of gratitude for defeating the besieging French army in 1706. It was 11 June 1949, just over a month after the air disaster that claimed the lives of Valentino Mazzola, Gabetto, Bacigalupo, Grezar, Ossola, Loik and others – the day when the name of the hill became synonymous with the accident that killed the entire Grande Torino football club. None of them survived. Among the 31 dead, alongside the squad, their coaches and their managers, were three journalists and four crew members.