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Did you ever wonder why the winner of Giro d’Italia wears a pink jersey?


Giro d’Italia is Italy’s premier cycling race which began in 1909. The winner is awarded la maglia rosa (pink jersey). Pink is the color of La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, the main sponsor of the Giro. In 1903 Le Tour de France began as the first world-class cycling race and it was sponsored by the French sports newspaper L’Auto, which was printed in yellow. Consequently, the winner of this cycling championship wears a yellow jersey.

Giro d’Italia first took place on May 13,1909, near Milano which is the headquarters for la Gazzetta dello Sport. The main purpose to sponsor the event was to win over more subscribers and cycling enthusiasts than their French rival L’Auto.

The 107th Giro d’Italia
The 2024 race is scheduled to run from May 4 through May 26, covering more than 3,408 kilometers through mountainous terrain between Venaria Reale
and Rome. The race features
176 riders in 22 teams.

The first race lasted eight days and spanned more than 2,500 kilometers from Milano to Napoli. There were 149 riders at the start of the race, and only 49 completed the Giro. Over the years this has become a grueling and often treacherous race through diverse terrain: hills, valleys and the almost impassable paved road in Passo dello Stelvio (Stelvio Pass) in South Tyrol which has more than 80 hairpin turns. 

Marco Pantani was one of the most colorful Italian winners of the Giro. He won both the Giro d’Italia and Le Tour de France. In 1998 he became the last cyclist to accomplish both feats in the same year. This dual champion was known as Il Pirata due to his shaven head, earrings, nose stud and bandana. He was also said to have had the perfect physique for a mountain climber at 5 feet, 6 inches, and approximately 130 pounds. Il Pirata was involved in many controversial doping and gambling scandals throughout his career, which led to depression and his untimely death at age 34 in 2004.

I have had the opportunity to have seen the Tour of Somerville many times. The Tour of Somerville is located only 10 miles from my home in Central Jersey. The Tour is a 50-mile race that has been held every year since 1940 on Memorial Day Weekend. This preeminent race in the United States was started by Fred Kugler who was a local bike shop owner and ex-professional cyclist. His son Furman won the first race in 1940 and again in 1941. His friend Carl Anderson was the winner in 1942. The race was not held during the war years. However, when it was resumed in 1947 it was posthumously renamed the Kugler-Anderson Memorial in honor of both men who never returned from their combat duties overseas.

Adesso lo sa.

Lou Thomas

Lou Thomas was born and raised in Philadelphia, in a family with origins in Abruzzo. He is a Temple graduate who has been teaching Italian for 20 years at all levels. He attained a master’s degree in teaching Italian from Rutgers University. The sounds of Vivaldi and Jovanotti fill his classroom. His favorite quote is Il vino e’ la poesia della terra.

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