25 facts about the Giro d'Italia
On the day the Giro d’Italia gets underway with the timetrial in Belfast, here are 25 facts about the world’s second largest road race.
1. Giro d’Italia started in May 13, 1909 as an idea to increase sales of the La Gazzetta dello Sport, a local pink-coloured paper
2. This year marks the 97th Giro d’Italia
3. The overall winner is determined by his total time throughout the three weeks. He doesn’t even need to win a daily “stage” as long as his total time beats everyone else
4. The Giro d'Italia is considered part of the "Triple Crown of Cycling", along with the Tour de France and the World Championships.
5. The Giro d’Italia will feature almost 200 riders
6. The cyclists will travel a gruelling 426.7 km during three days of competition in Ireland.
7. A huge worldwide audience of 800 million will tune in to watch the competition
8. Belfast City Hall and Ulster Hall will illuminate pink for the event. Hundreds of businesses are planning to go pink to celebrate Giro – from tractors to buildings and confectionery to fish and chips.
9. A GIANT pink Giro jersey will be laid on the Dunluce Castle site as the cyclists make their way along the Causeway Coastal Route.
10. There are over 70 cycle clubs in Northern Ireland
11. Stephen Roche became the first Irishman to win Giro d’italia in 1987
12. Three riders have won the race five times: Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx
13. ‘Grande Partenza’ means big start in Italian
14. Since 1960, the place of departure has changed each year. France, Austria, Belgium and Greece have all began the Giro with Northern Ireland now joining the list
15. Ever since 1931, the overall leader of the Giro d’Italia wears the maglia rosa (pink jersey), which corresponds with La Gazzetta dello Sport 's pink-coloured paper (the yellow jersey given to the overall leader of the Tour de France is done for similar reasons)
16. Over 3161 riders have taken part in the Giro's 96 editions
17. The Giro d'Italia was suspended on only two occasions in its 104 year history. The first occasion was for World War I and second was for World War II
18. It wasn't until Stephen Roche's win in 1987 that an English speaker took top honours.
19. In 1940 Fausto Coppi won at the tender age of 20 – the youngest ever winner. The eldest winner Fiorenzo Magni, stormed the Giro at the ripe old age of 35
20. The Cima Coppi is the highest altitude reached by cyclists during the Giro d'Italia. It was established in 1965,named after cycling icon and previous Giro winner Fausto Coppi
21. 1987 winner, Stephen Roche learnt to ride a bike at age of 13
22. Cyclists need to eat 6,000-7,000 calories per day to cope with the physical demands put on their bodies
23. Giro d’Italia are on Twitter with an admirable 216,000 followers
24. The Giro d’Italia bid was won by The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) in association with Belfast City Council, and promoters Shadetree Sports
25. The Giro does not go by without controversy. In 1922, a rider took a wheel from his team mate and although being penalized 25 minutes for the action he still went on to win the Giro that year