Giro d’Italia race26 December 2018
Just like France and Spain, Italy has its own three-week bike race, called the Giro d’Italia. The Giro is an annual multi-stage cycling race with a rich history of over 100 years and a massive following across the globe.
The race had its first edition in 1909, when it was organized in an attempt to bump up sales of the local pink hued newspaper La Gazzette dello Sport. Except for the war years, it has been held every year since then.
Over the years, the race was primarily held in its home country Italy, but the course happened to occasionally pass through nearby countries as well, just as it happened this year, when the race began in Jerusalem on May 4th. Actually, the starting location has been different every year since 1960, with Austria, France, Greece, Belgium and Northern Ireland hosting the event at some point in time.
Each year, organizers decide a different route for the cycling competition, but the rules and format of the race stay the same. This means competitors know to expect at least two time trials, and a total of 21 stages, many of which are set on mountainous terrain.
Racers compete in three types of stages: the mass-start stages, individual time trials, and team time trials. The first category includes the highest number of stages out of the 21 racing days. There are also at least two individual time trials per edition, along with one team time trial, though there have been years when there was no such stage.
As in any multi-stage race, each leg is timed, and at the end each contender’s times are added to their previous stage times. The winner of the competition is the rider with the lowest combined time. The ultimate accolade in the case of Giro d’Italia is to get to wear the coveted Pink Jersey, also dubbed Maglia Rosa.
Besides the general classification, which is usually the most popular with racers and spectators alike, there are other contests within the Giro that gather attention, such as the mountains classification for climbers, points classification for sprinters, young rider classification for those under 25, and the team classification.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia, which was the 101st edition of the event, took place between May 4th and May 27th. It started in Jerusalem and included a three stages in Israel – a 6 mile (9.7 km) individual time trial and two more stages. The whole route was no less 3,563 km long, which equates to a daily average of 170 km, and the riders went through eight summit finishes, one of them being the much-feared Monte Zoncolan.
Given that the Giro d’Italia is a UCI World Tour event, the teams taking part in the race are mostly UCI ProTeams, and typically all 18 teams are invited to participate, meaning that the total number of riders competing in Giro d’Italia usually goes up to nearly 200 riders.
When it comes to audience, statistics say some 800 million people from approximately 174 countries watch at least some of the stages on television.