Established in 1909 on the idea of journalists Tullo Morgagni, Eugenio Camillo Costamagna and Armando Cougnet, it is one of the three most important stage races in the cycling calendar, together with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España; historically, it is to be considered the second most prestigious stage race after the French one, even if the time, the prestige and the number of great cyclists that entered led the Tour to have an importance equal to that of the Tour de France.
It has always taken place, except for the interruptions due to the first and second world wars, in the space of three weeks between the months of May and June, except for 1946 and 2020, the year in which, due to the pandemic of COVID-19, it is postponed for the first time to October: the race takes place on Italian territory. The starting point is different every time, the arrival is most often in Milan, the city where La Gazzetta dello Sport is based, the sports newspaper that has organized the race since its establishment.
The record of victories at the Tour of Italy is shared by three cyclists, each with five victories: the Italians Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx. As for the stage victories, the record belongs to the Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini.
The regulation provides for various rankings:
- the timed classification is determined on the basis of the racing times recorded by each cyclist, also considering the allowances and penalties provided for by the regulation;
- the points classification is obtained by adding for each rider the points scored at each stage or intermediate milestone;
- the ranking of the best climbers elaborated by adding the points of each runner achieved at the end of precise climbs;
- the ranking for the best young people in the race has the same principle for the time ranking but is valid only for Under 25 riders.
The Maglia Rosa, icon of the Giro d’Italia, was born from the inventiveness of Armando Cougnet. He was inspired by the French who established the Yellow Jersey, taking inspiration from the color of the pages of the Auto newspaper. In the same way Cougnet gave life to the Maglia Rosa of the Giro d’Italia, pink, like the pages of the Gazzetta dello Sport, from which the name “Corsa rosa” was born.
In addition to the pink jersey, there are others that inspire values and reward the aﬃrmation of sporting, individual and group merit:
- the pink jersey: pink like the Gazzetta dello Sport, history and tradition of the Giro d’Italia, the jersey of the leader of the general classification, the man to beat.
- the blue jersey: blue like the sky that can be glimpsed among the highest mountains of the Giro d’Italia, jersey of the leader of the ranking of the best climbers.
- the white jersey: white as a symbol of youth and hope for the future, jersey of the leader of the Youth Classification.
- the green jersey: designed for the leader of the points classification.
The Giro d’Italia is a nerve center for the expression of territorial marketing which aims to promote existing activities and attract new businesses and tourism. At the basis of this is the cooperation of institutions, local businesses and citizens.
In addition to being a sporting event, it is in fact a media showcase to tell about a country like Italy through the emotions of cycling. The event allows the increase of tourism throughout the air. This phenomenon takes the name of “cycling tourism”. Research by the Bocconi University finds that the impact of the pink race tourism is very high and leads to a total of 26,000 overnight stays. 14% of spectators buy tickets for museums and exhibitions, 11% are foreigners and 30% say they want to return to the places they have visited.
Many locations on the occasion of the event also try to shed light on local products and the culinary culture of the area. RCS sport dedicates some stages to Italian wines, the Wine stages. The general manager of the pink race Marco Bagni aﬃrms that the Giro d’Italia is an Italian excellence not only in the world of sport but also in that of culture and food and wine. An example is the Val di Fassa which organized concerts in the square, performances by paragliding champions, photographic exhibitions such as the “History of the Giro d’Italia in Val di Fassa” and meetings on books dedicated to the world of cycling.
It is also important to remember the activities to complete the tour of Italy as they involve many subjects.
The GIRO CLUB is the hospitality service that gives the opportunity to experience every single stage from a different perspective also thanks to various packages. For example, the Race Experience which is divided into several types allows the guest to follow the runners during the stages they prefer. In the Ride Experience package, the customer travels through most of the stages before the runners pass. The Drive Experience involves traveling the streets aboard an oﬃcial Corsa Rosa car including information given by the driver who is usually a former racer. The Chrono Experience is very similar to the previous one but takes place in timed stages. There is also the Fly Experience where you fly over the helicopter ride. All of these proposals also include access to the Hospitality Area with non-stop bar service, a box lunch, return by shuttle from the starting point and many other benefits. There are many foreign tour operators dealing with the sale of the packages offered by the GIRO CLUB, while Musement is an Italian company, a platform that sells travel experiences. In fact, this platform is not limited to selling experiences strictly connected with the cycling route, but also packages to better enjoy the cities in which gastronomic tours, cooking classes, tasting therapy in the cellar and many more are included.
Other examples of marketing used for advertising the event are:
- the caravan of the ride which is an entertainment, promotion and visibility project aimed at commercial partners and municipalities present along the route of the race. It can be described as a “snake” of colored vehicles that precedes the passage of the runners for about 90 minutes, distributing advertising gadgets.
- Ride Green which is a project that RCS sport has dedicated to safeguarding the environment. The most active municipalities in the field of ecology are always awarded in various categories. The main sponsor of this project is Red Bull.