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Giro Fact No. 47

May 16, 2009
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I was just reading the article noting 50 things you should know about the Giro (May 16th) and was curious to see the fact no. 47 regarding Saronni and his claim to having won the fastest Giro in history, that being the 1979 race

" The Italian rider set an average speed of 38.937 km/h during the 100:45.30 hours of racing over 22 stages in 1979."

Now, according to the Wikipedia race statistics ( i know Wikipedia has a reputation of being less than reliable, but its stats on the Giro, Tour and Vuelta seem quite accurate) the 1979 (or 62nd) edition "

covered a total of 3,301 km at an average speed of 36.887 km/h, in 19 stages."

I only paid particular attention to this Saronni fact because there is a little known, or at least rarely published, fact apart from the fastest Giro being in fact the 1983 edition (66th) which

"covered 3,916 km at an average speed of 38.9 km/h, for a total of 22 stages".

That is, that although Saronni won the race overall, his final lead on GC was due entirely to time bonuses won by him throughout the 22 stages that year, as he was quite a gifted and rapid sprinter, as his many wins in the points classification show. So, the rightful holder of the title of winner of the fastest Giro in history should in fact be the 2nd man on GC in 1983, Roberto Visentini, because his time is without assistance from time bonuses, but due to his own two legs. There was a book that was published during the 80's, and maybe earlier than this im not sure, that was called for example 'Tour 83' (Tour 81, Tour 82 etc you get the drift!) that covered that years Giro and Tour in great detail, which should support my assertion here. I wish i could remember the authors, but from memory it was a collaborative effort.

Anyway, great feature and a great site, an example for all sports in my opinion, the UCI should give you some award for services to cycling!

Matt O'Bee