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1933 Giro d'Italia

21st edition: May 6 - May 28

Results, stages with running GC, photos and history

1932 Giro | 1934 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1933 Giro Quick Facts | 1933 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | Teams | The Story of the 1933 Giro d'Italia |


1933 Giro Quick Facts:

3343 km raced at an average speed of 30.043 km/hr

97 starters and 51 classified finishers.

The 1933 edition might be considered the first modern Giro d'Italia. It had an individual time trial for the first time as well as the first climber's competition. The organizers scheduled 17 stages, yielding an average stage distance of 197 kilometers. This is not far from the current Giri that have 20 -21 stages. The Giro also included for the first time a publicity caravan.

Alfredo Binda dominated the 1933 Giro, winning for a record fifth time.


1933 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification:

  1. maglia rosaAlfredo Binda (Legnano): 111hr 1min 52sec
  2. Joseph "Jef" Demuysère (Ganna) @ 12min 34sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi (Gloria) @ 16min 31sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet (Bianchi) @ 19min 47sec
  5. Allegro Grandi (Dei) @ 21min 33sec
  6. Carlo Moretti (Dei) @ 26min 16sec
  7. Ludwig Geyer (Legnano) @ 27min 17sec
  8. Kurt Stoepel (Legnano) @ 28min 22sec
  9. Mario Cipriani (Ganna) @ 30min 28sec
  10. Camillo Erba (independent) @ 30min 30sec
  11. Antonio Folco (independent) @ 30min 55sec
  12. Carlo Romanatti (independent) @ 33min 44sec
  13. Armando Zucchini (independent) @ 40min 6sec
  14. Nino Sella (Olympia) @ 41min 17sec
  15. Felice Gremo (Dei) @ 42min 6sec
  16. Marco Giuntelli (independent) @ 43min 38sec
  17. Carlo Rovida (Gloria) @ 43min 53sec
  18. Giuseppe Olmo (Bianchi) @ 43min 56sec
  19. Remo Bertoni (Bianchi) @ 45min 43sec
  20. Ambrogio Morelli (Bianchi) @ 49min 14sec
  21. Renato Scorticati (independent) @ 54min 57sec
  22. René Vietto (Olympia) @ 54min 57sec
  23. Orlando Teani (independent) @ 56min 49sec
  24. Bernardo Rogora (Gloria) @ 58min 49sec
  25. Decimo Dell'Arsina (independent) @ 1hr 0min 15sec
  26. Cesare Facciani (independent) @ 1hr 0min 26sec
  27. Karl Altenburger (Olympia) @ 1hr 2min 17sec
  28. Michele Orecchia (Gloria) @ 1hr 3m in 45sec
  29. Hermann Buse (Olympia) @ 1hr 4min 10sec
  30. Luigi Macchi (Legnano) @ 1hr 8min 19sec
  31. Aldo Canazza (Legnano) @ 1hr 8min 48sec
  32. Luigi Tramontini (independent) @ 1hr 13min 10sec
  33. Guglielmo Segato (independent) @ 1hr 15min 24sec
  34. Gérard Loncke (Ganna) @ 1hr 16min 44sec
  35. Pietro Rimoldi (Bianchi) @ 1hr 19min 0sec
  36. Antonio Andretta (independent) @ 1hr 22min 48sec
  37. Albino Binda (Legnano) @ 1hr 25min 43sec
  38. Augusto Zanzi (Bianchi) @ 1hr 27min 35sec
  39. Isidro Figueras (Bestetti) @ 1hr 27min 44sec
  40. Domenico Pagliazzi (independent) @ 1hr 27min 54sec
  41. Marcel Bidot (Dei) @ 1hr 30min 30sec
  42. Lino Carlotti (independent) @ 1hr 32min 19sec
  43. Vicente Trueba (Bestetti) @ 1hr 35min 50sec
  44. Guglielmo Marin (independent) @ 1hr 36min 33sec
  45. Fernand Cornez (Dei) @ 1hr 36min 35sec
  46. Angelo Lalle (independent) @ 1hr 36min 36sec
  47. Segundo Tortolini (independent) @ 1hr 46min 26sec
  48. Carlo Oria (independent) @ 1hr 52min 27sec
  49. Mario Fraccaroli (independent) @ 2hr 0min 50sec
  50. Mario Lavazza (independent) @ 2hr 4min 41sec
  51. Ettore Meini (Ganna) @ 2hr 15min 5sec

Climbers’ Competition:
1. green jerseyAlfredo Binda. He was first to the top of all 4 peaks in the GPM.
2. Alfredo Bovet
3. Remo Bertoni

Winning team:

  1. Legnano
  2. Dei
  3. Bianchi
  4. Gloria
  5. Ganna

1933 Giro stage results with running GC:

Stage 1: Saturday, May 6, Milano - Torino, 169 km

climbAscent: Pino (507m)

  1. Learco Guerra: 5hr 6min 0sec
  2. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  3. Mario Cipriani @ 11sec
  4. Domenico Piemontesi @ 18sec
  5. Renato Scorticati s.t.
  6. Luigi Barral s.t.
  7. Camillo Erba s.t.
  8. Armando Zucchini s.t.
  9. Joseph Demuysère @ 25sec
  10. Franesco Camusso @ 40sec

Stage 2: Sunday, May 7, Torino - Genova, 216.1 km

climbAscent: La Scoffera

  1. Alfredo Binda: 7hr 1min 55sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 25sec
  3. Allegro Grandi @ 58sec
  4. Ludwig Geyer @ 1min 48sec
  5. Carlo Moretti s.t.
  6. Antonio Folco s.t.
  7. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  8. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  9. Eugenmio Gestri @ 2min 30sec
  10. 7 riders in at same time and place

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 12hr 7min 5sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 50sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 2min 6sec
  4. Carlo Moretti @ 2min 28sec
  5. Mario Cipriani @ 2min 41sec
  6. Allegro Grandi @ 2min 58sec
  7. Luigi Barral @ 3min 8sec
  8. Giovanni Cazzulani @ 3min 10sec
  9. Camillo Erba @ 3min 33sec
  10. Kurt Stoepel @ 3min 46sec

Stage 3: Monday, May 8, Genova - Pisa, 192 km

climbAscent: Passo del Bracco

  1. Learco Guerra: 6hr 26min 0sec
  2. Ettore Meini s.t.
  3. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  4. Fabio Battesini s.t.
  5. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  6. Mario Cipriani s.t.
  7. Joseph Demuysère s.t.
  8. 68 riders all at same time and place

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 18hr 33min 55sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 50sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 2min 6sec
  4. Carlo Moretti @ 2min 28sec
  5. Mario Cipriani @ 2min 41sec
  6. Allegro Grandi @ 2min 58sec
  7. Giovanni Cazzulani @ 3min 10sec
  8. Camillo Erba @ 3min 33sec
  9. Kurt Stoepel @ 3min 48sec
  10. Learco Guerra @ 4min 6sec

Stage 4: Wednesday, May 10, Pisa - Firenze, 184 km

climbAscent: Le Croci

  1. Giuseppe Olmo: 5hr 54min 35sec
  2. Alfredo Binda s.t.
  3. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  4. Fernand Cornez s.t.
  5. Joseph Demuysère s.t.
  6. Learco Guerra s.t.
  7. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  8. Eugenio Gestri s.t.
  9. Marco Giuntelli s.t.
  10. Cesare Facciani s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 24hr 28min 30sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 50sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 2min 6sec
  4. Carlo Moretti @ 2min 28sec
  5. Mario Cipriani @ 2min 41sec
  6. Allegro Grandi @ 2min 58sec
  7. Giovanni Cazzulani @ 3min 10sec
  8. Camillo Erba @ 3min 33sec
  9. Kurt Stoepel @ 4min 48sec
  10. Learco Guerra @ 5min 6sec

Stage 5: Thursday, May 11, Firenze - Grosseto, 194 km

climbsAscents: Tavernelle (578m), Radicofani (495m), Monterotondo (626m), Castelnuovo Val di Cecina (567m)
The Cecina was a GPM climb: 1st to the top was Alfredo Binda, 2nd Alfredo Bovet, 2rd Vicente Trueba

  1. Learco Guerra: 6hr 0min 48sec
  2. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  3. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  4. Joseph Demuysère s.t.
  5. Giuseppe Martano @ 2min 4sec
  6. Alfredo Binda @ 3min 21sec
  7. Orlando Teani @ 3min 34sec
  8. Allegro Grandi @ 3min 37sec
  9. Kurt Stoepel @ 3min 40sec
  10. Marco Giuntelli @ 6min 44sec

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Joseph Demuysère: 30hr 30min 8sec
  2. Learco Guerra @ 1min 16sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  4. Alfredo Binda @ 1min 31sec
  5. Alfredo Bovet @ 5min 24sec
  6. Allegro Grandi @ 5min 37sec
  7. Kurt Stoepel @ 6min 30sec
  8. Carlo Moretti @ 9min 30sec
  9. Giovanni Cazzulani @ 9min 45sec
  10. Camillo Erba @ 10min 8sec

Stage 6: Friday, May 12, Grosseto - Roma, 213 km

climbAscent: San Antonio (534m)

  1. Mario Cipriani: 7hr 1min 18sec
  2. Alfredo Binda s.t.
  3. Kurt Stoepel s,t.
  4. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  5. Bernardo Rogora s.t.
  6. Antonio Andretta s.t.
  7. Aldo Canazza s.t.
  8. Marco Giuntelli s.t.
  9. Nino Sella s.t.
  10. Antonio Folco s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Joseph Demuysère: 37hr 31min 26sec
  2. Learco Guerra @ 1min 16sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  4. Alfredo Binda @ 1min 31sec
  5. Alfredo Bovet @ 5min 24sec
  6. Allegro Grandi @ 5min 42sec
  7. Kurt Stoepel @ 6min 30sec
  8. Carlo Moretti @ 9min 35sec
  9. Camillo Erba @ 10min 8sec
  10. Marco Giuntelli @ 10min 19sec

Stage 7: Sunday, May 14, Roma - Napoli, 228 km

  1. Gérard Loncke: 7hr 32min 27sec
  2. Ettore Meini s.t.
  3. Alfredo Binda s.t.
  4. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  5. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  6. Fernand Cornez s.t.
  7. Aldo Canazzas.t.
  8. Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
  9. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  10. Joseph Demuysère s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Joseph Demuysère: 45hr 3min 58sec
  2. Domenico Piemontesi @ 1min 11sec
  3. Alfredo Binda 2 1min 26sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 5min 19sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 5min 37sec
  6. Kurt Stoepel @ 6min 13sec
  7. Carlo Moretti @ 6min 30sec
  8. Camillo Erba @ 10min 3sec
  9. Marco Giuntelli @ 10min 14sec
  10. Antonio Folco @ 11min 32sec

Stage 8: Tuesday, May 16, Napoli - Foggia, 195 km

climbAscent: Volturara Appulia (490m), Castelnuovo Daunia (770m)
The Daunia was a GPM climb: 1st to the top was Alfredo Binda, 2nd Carlo Moretti, 3rd Joseph Demuysère

  1. Alfredo Binda: 6hr 55min 1sec
  2. Gérard Loncke s.t.
  3. Joseph Demuysére s.t.
  4. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  5. Remo Bertoni s.t.
  6. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  7. Carlo Rovida s.t.
  8. Luigi Macchi s.t.
  9. Allegro Grandi s.t.
  10. Marco Giuntelli s.t.

GC after Stage 8:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 51hr 57min 55sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 34sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 2min 5sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 6min 23sec

Stage 9: Wednesday, May 17, Foggia - Chieti, 238 km

  1. Alfredo Binda: 8hr 33min 52sec
  2. Gérard Loncke s.t.
  3. Remo Bertoni s.t.
  4. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  5. Carlo Moretti @ 6sec
  6. Nino Sella @ 19sec
  7. Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
  8. Orlando Teani s.t.
  9. Allegro Grandi s.t.
  10. Antonio Folco @ 33sec

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 60hr 30min 47sec
  2. Joseph Demuysére @ 2min 7sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 3min 48sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 7min 23sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 8min 0sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 10min 40sec
  7. Kurt Stoepel @ 11min 25sec
  8. Camillo Erba @ 14min 17sec
  9. Antonio Folco @ 14min 57sec
  10. Ludwig Geyer @ 14min 59sec

Stage 10: Friday, May 19, Chieti - Ascoli Piceno, 157 km

climbsAscents: Penne (610m), Cermignano (563m)

  1. Alfredo Binda: 5hr 48min 29sec
  2. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  3. Fernand Cornez s.t.
  4. Luigi Macchi s.t.
  5. Remo Bertoni s.t.
  6. Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
  7. Mario Cipriani s.t.
  8. Gérard Loncke s.t.
  9. Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
  10. Antonio Folco s.t.

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 66hr 18min 16sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 4min 32sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 4min 48sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 8min 23sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 9min 0sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 11min 40sec
  7. Kurt Stoepel @ 12min 25sec
  8. Antonio Folco @ 15min 57sec
  9. Ludwig Geyer @ 16min 0sec
  10. Mario Cipriani @ 17min 27sec

Stage 11: Saturday, May 20, Ascoli Piceno - Riccione, 206 km

  1. Fernand Cornez: 6hr 38min 26sec
  2. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  3. Remo Bertoni s.t.
  4. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  5. Alfredo Binda s.t.
  6. Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
  7. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  8. Karl Altenburger s.t.
  9. Luigi Macchi s.t.
  10. Camillo Erba s.t.

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 72hr 56min 42sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 4min 32sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 4min 48sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 8min 23sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 9min 0sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 11min 40sec
  7. Kurt Stoepel @ 12min 25sec
  8. Antonio Folco 2 15min 27sec
  9. Ludwig Geyer @ 16min 0sec
  10. Mario Cipriani @ 17min 27sec

Stage 12: Sunday, May 21, Riccione - Bologna, 189.5 km

  1. Giuseppe Olmo: 5hr 38min 42sec
  2. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  3. Alfredo Binda s.t.
  4. Remo Bertoni s.t.
  5. Ettore Meini s.t.
  6. Fernand Cornez s.t.
  7. Renato Scorticati s.t.
  8. Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
  9. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  10. Joseph Mauclair s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 78hr 35min 24sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 4min 32sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 4min 48sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 8min 23sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 9min 0sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 11min 40sec
  7. Kurt Stoepel @ 12min 15sec
  8. Antonio Folco @ 15min 57sec
  9. Ludwig Geyer @ 16min 0sec
  10. Mario Cipriani @ 17min 27sec

Stage 13: Tuesday, May 23, Bologna - Ferrara 62 km individual time trial

  1. Alfredo Binda: 1hr 34min 51sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 1min 2sec
  3. Ambrogio orelli @ 3min 17sec
  4. Ludwig Geyer s.t.
  5. Camillo Erba @ 3min 23sec
  6. Domenico Piemontesi @ 3min 33sec
  7. Guglielmo Segato @ 3min 43sec
  8. Allegro Grandi @ 4min 33sec
  9. Hermann Buse @ 4mn 47sec
  10. René Vietto @ 4min 52sec

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 80hr 8min 15sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 6min 34sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 10min 31sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 15min 17sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 15min 33sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 19min 56sec
  7. Ludwig Geyer @ 21min 17sec

Stage 14: Wednesday, May 24, Ferrara - Udine, 243 km

  1. Ettore Meini: 7hr 50min 51sec
  2. Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
  3. Gérard Loncke s.t.
  4. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  5. Remo Bertoni s.t.
  6. Karl Altenburger s.t.
  7. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  8. 46 riders in at same time and place

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 87hr 58min 30sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 6min 34sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 10min 31sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 15min 17sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 15min 33sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 20min 16sec
  7. Ludwig Geyer @ 21min 14sec
  8. Kurt Stoepel @ 22min 22sec
  9. Mario Cipriani @ 24min 28sec
  10. Camillo Erba @ 24min 30sec

Stage 15: Friday, May 26, Udine - Bassano del Grappa, 212 km

climbAscent: Osteria della Crocetta (1,128m)
The Corcetta was a GPM climb: 1st to the top was Alfredo Binda, 2nd Alfredo Bovet, 3rd Remo Bertoni

  1. Ettore Meini: 7hr 35min 16sec
  2. Fernand Cornez s.t.
  3. Gérard Loncke s.t.
  4. Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
  5. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  6. Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
  7. Mario Cipriani s.t.
  8. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  9. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  10. Remo Bertoni s.t.

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 95 hr 31min 46sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 8min 34sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 12min 31sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 15min 56sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 17min 33sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 22min 16sec
  7. Ludwig Geyer @ 23min 14sec
  8. Kurt Stoepel @ 24min 22sec
  9. Mario Cipriani @ 26min 28sec
  10. Camillo Erba @ 26min 30sec

Stage 16: Saturday, May 27, Bassano del Grappa - Bolzano, 145 km

  1. Gérard Loncke: 5hr 30min 39sec
  2. Ettore Meini s.t.
  3. Fernand Cornez s.t.
  4. Karl Altenburger s.t.
  5. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  6. Antonio Folco s.t.
  7. Alfredo Binda s.t.
  8. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  9. Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
  10. Carlo Rovida s.t.

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Alfredo Binda: 101hr 2min 25sec
  2. Joseph Demuysère @ 8min 34sec
  3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 12min 31sec
  4. Alfredo Bovet @ 15min 47sec
  5. Allegro Grandi @ 17min 33sec
  6. Carlo Moretti @ 19min 16sec
  7. Ludwig Geyer @ 23mn 17sec
  8. Kurt Stoepel @ 24min 22sec
  9. Mario Cipriani @ 26mn 28sec
  10. Camillo Erba @ 26min 30sec

17th and Final Stage: Sunday, May 28, Bolzano - Milano, 284.5 km

climbsAscents: Passo della Mendola, Passo del Tonale (1,883m)
The Tonale was a GPM climb: 1st to the summit was Alfredo Binda, 2nd Remo Bertoni, 3rd René Vietto

  1. Alfredo Binda: 10hr 3min 27sec
  2. Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
  3. Gérard Loncke s.t.
  4. Kurt Stoepel s.t.
  5. Karl Altenburger s.t.
  6. Mario Cipriani s.t.
  7. Carlo Moretti s.t.
  8. Renato Scorticati s.t.
  9. Alfredo Bovet s.t.
  10. Marco Giuntelli s.t.

1933 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification


Teams:

Bestetti-d'Alessandro
Bianchi-Pirelli
Dei-Pirelli
Ganna-Hutchinson
Girardengo-Clément
Gloria-Hutchinson
Legnano-Hutchinson
Maino-Clément
Olympia-Spiga


The Story of the 1933 Giro d'Italia

This excerpt is from "The Story of the Giro d'Italia", Volume 1. If you enjoy it we hope you will consider purchasing the book, either print or electronic. The Amazon link here will make either purchase easy.

 Rematch. This was an excellent peloton with Italy’s finest matched up against some of northern Europe’s best. The Italian portion of the 97-man pack included Camusso, Piemontesi, Bertoni, Giuseppe Olmo, Guerra, Giacobbe, Marchisio, Pesenti, Girardengo and Binda. From across the Alps came Demuysère, Gaston Rebry, Vicente Trueba, René Vietto and Stöpel. Guerra was considered the odds-on favorite as he’d won Milan–San Remo by out-sprinting his four other fellow breakaways while Binda, the reigning world champion, finished sixth, two minutes behind.

Half the riders were members of sponsored teams and half were independents. Among the independents was a rider who would gain real fame, but not by racing his bike. Faliero Masi was a competent enough rider, but in the 1950s and 1960s the bike frames that carried his name would become synonymous with beauty and perfection. In addition Masi would become a legendary team director and mechanic.

The changes to the Giro made the 1933 edition much more like a modern Grand Tour. First of all it had seventeen stages, closing in on the current standard of about twenty-one. The overall length of 3,148 kilometers yielded a 185-kilometer average stage length, again, not far from the 2009 average of 164 kilometers.

A new competition was added, a prize for the best climber. In English we generally call such a category “King of the Mountains” or KOM. In Italian it is Gran Premio della Montagna, or GPM. Four peaks were chosen for the GPM: Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, Castelnuovo della Daunia, Osteria della Crocetta and the Passo del Tonale. In July of this same year the Tour de France also added its first climbers’ prize.

Gaston Bénac was the sports editor of the French evening paper Paris-Soir, whichwas locked in a furious circulation competition with Desgrange’s L’Auto. To stimulate sales Bénac decided to promote a new race which he called the Grand Prix des Nations. Instead of a normal massed-start road race, it was an individual time trial. At first the professional racers were dubious about the idea. Some complained that it was nothing more than a test of brute force, requiring no brains, no tactics. But over time the event was accepted until it became the unofficial world championship of time trialing. Sadly, the final edition of the GP des Nations was held in 2004, a victim of changing times and tastes.

Bénac held his first race in September of 1932. Today we would consider the 142 kilometers that took almost four hours to complete an exercise in sadism. Time trials are now much shorter. Maurice Archambaud won in 1932 with Guerra the best-placed Italian, at fourth. Binda and Di Paco abandoned. Can’t hardly blame them.

Immediately appreciating Bénac’s success, the Giro management wasted no time in inserting an individual time trial into their race. Stage thirteen of the 1933 Giro was a 60-kilometer time trial from Bologna to Ferrara.

Adding a time trial to a stage race improves both the drama of the race and its fairness. It makes a race richer and enjoyably more complicated. A rider alone on the road with only his thoughts and grim determination to ride at his maximum remains a fascinating and compelling story. The placement of a time trial in a stage race complicates a racer's tactical plans. If the race designer has done his job well, for example, a time trial can force a rider to choose between going all-out in a crucial stage that comes before a time trial and then racing the individual event tired, potentially costing him time. He might choose instead another tactic and dose his efforts during the preceding road stage while hoping to make up lost time, if any, when he rides later against the clock.
Until 1933 a rider’s fortunes in the Giro d’Italia largely rested upon his ability to climb. Climbing measures a rider’s strength to weight ratio, or relative horsepower. Smaller, lighter riders have the edge in the mountains. Witness Spanish climbing ace Vicente Trueba, whose nickname “The Flea of Torrelavega” should tell all about his size. Time trialing measures absolute horsepower, so a bigger man who can put out more pure power generally has an advantage there. Rarely do riders have so much ability that they can climb like angels and time trial like steam engines. Alfredo Binda was one such rider. Binda’s exceptional gifts aside, adding a time trial gave the Giro balance and let the bigger rouleurs have a shot at victory. Today, the time trial is often what tips the balance of victory toward a particular rider. For once in its early history, the Giro got the jump on the Tour. The Tour de France, which had used team time trials extensively, didn’t add an individual time trial stage until 1934.

A final change to give the Giro more of its modern color was to add a publicity caravan. Desgrange started it in 1930 when he became completely fed up with trade teams. He felt they corrupted his race by making deals and alliances to allow less worthy (in his opinion) riders win his race. His solution was to create a national team format in which the riders raced for national or regional teams. Until then the team’s year-round trade sponsors had paid the riders’ substantial expenses during the Tour. Since the sponsors saw the race now as a three-week publicity blackout, they could hardly be expected to pay their riders’ way. To defray the expense of supporting the riders during the Tour, Desgrange invented the publicity caravan in which firms paid the Tour organization to allow vehicles covered with advertising to follow the race route. Seeing the money sitting on the table the Giro organizers added their own caravan without having to cover the riders’ costs. The Tour later discontinued the national teams but kept the caravan. For both races this long train of logo’d cars, trucks and other contraptions, tossing souvenirs and samples to the crowds of spectators lining the route, is one of the major attractions for the race fans.

Over time, Desgrange’s switch to the national team format had the effect of widening the gap between the way the Tour and the Giro were raced. There weren’t enough cycling countries to make a peloton. Putting nine men each on Italian, French, Belgian, Swiss and German teams makes for a small pack. Desgrange filled in the needed balance with touristes-routiers (independents). Upon dispensing with independent riders in the late 1930s the Tour came up with ad-hoc French regional teams such as France-Ouest, or Nord Est-Ile de France or secondary national teams like Belgium-B.

Historian Benjo Maso explained that the smaller teams assembled without the powerful stars “gave the Tour a separate character. Almost every day a battle broke out right after the start and because none of the ‘A’ teams was in condition or prepared to control the race properly, anarchy broke out in which attacks came one after another at high speed. That was a fundamental difference with the Giro. That was run with trade teams in which the leaders exercised strict discipline. Attacks could only be made when the team leader or manager said so. And when a breakaway got clear the riders rarely worked together well. There were almost always riders in the group who’d been ordered to save themselves or not take part. The result was that barely anything happened in most stages of the Tour of Italy and the only full-out racing was in the three or four mountain stages.”

While the reader who has followed our story can see that Mr. Maso was engaging in a bit of hyperbole regarding the flatter Giro stages, there is a basic truth in what he wrote. The powerful teams and their leaders exerted an autocratic control on how the Giro stages developed and Italians who raced in the Tour often had trouble handling its more unstructured racing. On the other hand, as we have seen, transalpine riders were often unable to adapt to the Italian style.

The rivalry between Binda and Guerra heated up on the very first stage. With around fifteen kilometers to go before the finish, Binda and the others stopped to flip their rear wheels for the final climb. Pavesi told Guerra not to stop but to attack the field with the gear he had while the others were off their bikes. Bam! Guerra was gone and, along with Alfredo Bovet, beat Binda and most of the others by two minutes. Guerra hadn’t disappointed the prognosticators by taking the lead at the first opportunity.

Three days later in stage two it was Binda’s turn. He rolled into Genoa alone, 25 seconds in front of second-place Demuysère and over six minutes ahead of Guerra. It turned out that near Genoa on the Passo della Scoffera, Guerra got the hunger-knock. Cougnet, desperate to have the developing duel between Binda and Guerra continue, secretly passed the starving rider a pack of cookies. Guerra devoured them, they say wrapper and all. Personally, I’ve got a little trouble with the eating the wrapper bit.

Binda was furious when he learned of Cougnet’s illicit aid but found comfort in the fact that he was now the proud owner of the maglia rosa.

Guerra won the third and fifth stages as well. In that fifth stage he managed to elude Binda, who came in 3 minutes 21 seconds later. Guerra had dragged himself up to second place. But Demuysère, Bovet and Piemontesi had been in Guerra’s break and the Belgian was the real recipient of Guerra’s success. The overall standings now looked like this:
1. Joseph Demuysère
2. Learco Guerra @ 1 minute 16 seconds
3. Domenico Piemontesi @ same time
4. Alfredo Binda @ 1 minute 31 seconds
5. Alfredo Bovet @ 5 minutes 24 seconds

Learco Guerra wins stage 5 in Grosseto

Learco Guerra wins stage 5 in Grosseto.

The next day, stage six finished at the Villa Glori in Rome. Binda and Guerra raced for the line together on the hedge-lined track. Guerra took the outside line and crashed. He argued that Binda had thrown an elbow in the sprint and caused his fall. The race jury said that Guerra had struck a branch of the hedge which stuck out onto the track and that had caused him to lose his balance. Guerra was hurt too badly to continue and was forced to retire despite being in second place, less than two minutes from the overall lead. Furious over what they thought was an unfair decision, Guerra’s entire Maino squad quit as well. Demuysère remained the race leader with Piemontesi second and Binda third.
The race was now in Naples, the farthest south the 1933 Giro would travel. From there it headed east over the hills to Foggia, then turned north up the Adriatic coast. Binda won the eighth, ninth and tenth stages, taking over the lead with the Belgian Demuysère now over four minutes back.

It should be noted that even here in the mid-1930s, the roads that the riders raced over were still often execrable. At one point the riders came to a fallen bridge with no choice but to ford the river with their bikes on their shoulders.
That first individual time trial held at Bologna was labeled the “stage of unknowns” because of the format’s newness and uncertainty over its outcome. The riders were sent off at three-minute intervals, the organizers hoping there would be enough distance between the riders to keep them from drafting each other.

Binda won the stage, which undoubtedly would have favored the now-retired Guerra. He took 1 hour 34 minutes 51 seconds to travel the 62 kilometers to Ferrara, averaging a scintillating 39.219 kilometers per hour. Demuysère was second at 62 seconds.

Binda’s effort gave him an almost unassailable lead:
1. Alfredo Binda
2. Joseph Demuysère @ 6 minutes 34 seconds
3. Domenico Piemontesi @ 10 minutes 31 seconds
4. Alfredo Bovet @ 15 minutes 17 seconds
5. Allegro Grandi @ 15 minutes 33 seconds

From Ferrara to all the way to Milan, Binda carefully extended his lead, including the terrible penultimate stage, from Bassano to Bolzano, where La Gazzetta said the weather was a witch’s brew of cold, wind and rain. Binda capped his triumphal 1933 Giro by winning the final stage to Milan. This was Binda’s fifth Giro victory, which remains the record to this day. Others have matched it but none have exceeded it. He rode thirteen stages of the 1933 Giro in pink.

Last lap of the track

I think this is the last lap of the final stage track finish.

At the finish Demuysère swore he’d never come back to race the Giro. But the man they sometimes call the Old Lion of Flanders soon relented and came back to race the Giro again in 1934 and 1935.

Binda with moretti and Erba

From left: Carlo Moretti, Camillo Erba (highest-placed independent) and Alfredo Binda

Final 1933 Giro d’Italia General Classification:
1. Alfredo Binda (Legnano-Clément) 111 hours 1 minute 52 seconds
2. Joseph Demuysère (Ganna) @ 12 minutes 34 seconds
3. Domenico Piemontesi (Gloria) @ 16 minutes 31 seconds
4. Alfredo Bovet (Dei) @ 19 minutes 47 seconds.
5. Allegro Grandi (Dei) @ 21 minutes 33 seconds

Climbers’ Competition:
1. Alfredo Binda. He was first to the top of all 4 peaks in the GPM.
2. Alfredo Bovet
3. Remo Bertoni

René Vietto, who spent more time in the Yellow Jersey than any rider who did not win the Tour de France, ended up twenty-second, almost an hour behind Binda.

Guerra placed second in the Tour that July, riding against a French team comsidered by Tour historian Jean-Paul Ollivier to be the finest-ever assembly of pre-war riders.

Unlike the Tour, the Giro allowed the riders to use derailleurs, which they did in 1933, at least in the mountains. The one picture I have of a 1933 mountain stage shows Guerra leading Binda while using the Vittoria system made by the Nieddù brothers, Tommaso and Amadeo. Binda had already used their Vittoria changer when he won the World Championship in Rome in the fall of 1932 and his success resulted in many pros mounting the system on their bikes for the 1933 season.

Gallery of early derailleurs

At this time it would mean a rider probably had three sprockets in the back and one up front. Riding below the chainstay was a pulley wheel which acted as a chain tensioner. Early versions (as in the picture) required the rider to reduce the chain tension, then pedal backwards while his gloved hand moved the chain to the desired sprocket. Later systems, called the Vittoria Margherita (1935 and on) had a rod-controlled pusher on the chainstay that would move the chain while the rider backpedaled. It was clumsy, but it beat getting off the bike and removing, flipping and finally reinstalling the rear wheel. Gearing expert Frank Berto noted that the Vittoria derailleur systems were rugged, simple and reliable with the tension wheel riding high enough to give good ground clearance, an important consideration in an era of bad roads. Unlike the some of the more fragile gear changing systems on the market at the time, the Vittoria still worked even when fouled with mud.