The Beautiful Race: The Story of the Giro d'Italia

The Beautiful Race: The Story of the Giro d'Italia

by Colin O'Brien


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A celebration of the Giro d'Italia in all its kaleidoscopic glory after more than one-hundred stagings of this glorious race.

Born of tumult in 1909, the Giro d'Italia helped unite a nation. Since then, it has reflected it's home country—the Giro's capricious and unpredictable nature matches the passions and extremes of Italy itself.

A desperately hard race through a beautiful country, the Giro has bred characters and stories that dramatize the shifting culture and society of its home.  There was Alfonsina Strada, who cropped her hair and raced against the men in 1924, or Ottavio Bottecchia, expected to challenge for the winner's "Maglia Rosa," the famed pink jersey, in 1928, until he was killed on a training ride—most likely by Mussolini's Black Shirts. And what would a book about the Giro d'Italia be without Fausto Coppi, the metropolitan playboy with amphetamines in his veins, guided by a mystic blind masseur, who seemed to glide up the peaks.  But let us not forget his arch rival Gino Bartali—humble, pious and brave.  It recently emerged that he smuggled papers for persecuted Jewish Italians. Then there is the Giro's most tragic hero, Marco Pantani, born to climb but fated to lose.

Halted only by World Wars, the Giro has been contested for over a century, and The Beautiful Race is a richly written celebration of this legendary race. 

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643131580
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 274
Sales rank: 458,103
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Colin O'Brien is an Irish sports writer based in Rome. His passion for cycling and the European professional racing scene was ignited when Marco Pantani and the world's best riders came to Dublin with the 1998 Tour de France. He contributes to leading publications worldwide, including Rouleur, Peloton, Cyclist, and ProCycling.

Table of Contents

Preface // vii

Introduction // 1

1 The Giro is born // 7

2 The early years // 17

SALITA FAMOSA Roccaraso, Abruzzo // 26

3 Alfredo Binda: Il Grande Antipatico // 29

4 The Devil wears wool shorts // 40

SALITA FAMOSA Croce d’Aune, Veneto // 45

5 Fascism and the Giro // 48

6 Bartali and Coppi, Coppi and Bartali // 62

7 Magni: Il Terzo Uomo // 80

SALITA FAMOSA Passo dello Stelvio, Trentino-Alto Adige // 98

8 Gracious Gimondi and merciless Merckx // 102

SALITA FAMOSA Blockhaus, Abruzzo // 112

9 The Sheriff and the Rifle Shot // 115

SALITA FAMOSA Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Veneto // 135

10 Enter the Americans // 138

11 The Sappada Affair // 149

12 1988: Fear and loathing in Lombardy // 168

13 Marco Pantani // 180

SALITA FAMOSA Colle delle Finestre, Piemonte // 191

14 A decade of difficulty // 194

SALITA FAMOSA Colle dell’Agnello, Piemonte // 200

15 Then and now // 204

Epilogue // 218

Acknowledgements // 225

List of winners // 227

List of illustrations // 231

Index // 234

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