# 1936 Giro d'Italia

### 24th edition: May 16 - June 7

### Results, stages with running GC, photos and history

1935 Giro | 1937 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1936 Giro Quick Facts | 1936 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | Teams | The Story of the 1936 Giro d'Italia |

3766 km raced at an average speed of 31.28 km/hr

89 starters and 45 classified finishers

Last Giro for 2-time winner Costante Girardengo, who abandoned in the third stage. Because of Italy's geopolitical position, there were no foreign riders in this edition of the Giro.

First timed hill-climb for the Giro, stage 11's ascent of the Terminillo, won by Giuseppe Olmo.

Gino Bartali took the lead in the hilly ninth stage and kept it all the way to Milan.

**1936 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification:**

- Gino Bartali (Legnano) : 120hr 12min 30sec
- Giuseppe Olmo (Bianchi) @ 2min 36sec
- Severino Canavesi (Ganna) @ 7min 49sec
- Aladino Mealli (Legnano) @ 14min 4sec
- Giovanni Valetti (Fréjus) @ 14min 15sec
- Domenico Piemontesi (Bianchi) @ 16min 31sec
- Ambrogio Morelli (Ganna) @ 17min 44sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi (Maino) @ 18min 35sec
- Enrico Mollo (Gloria) @ 19min 27sec
- Edoardo Molinar (independent) @ 20min 48sec
- Walter Generati @ 26min 50sec
- Giovanni Cazzulani (Gloria) @ 26min 50sec
- Cesare Del Cancia (Ganna) @ 31min 31sec
- Elio Maldini (Frèjus) @ 33min 34sec
- Ezio Cecchi @ 35min 27sec
- Giovanni Gotti @ 38min 1sec
- Mario Vicini (independent) @ 39min 51sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 39min 57sec
- Antonio Pesenti @ 43min 51sec
- Luigi Macchi @ 45min 13sec
- Luigi Giacobbe @ 45min 45sec
- Marco Bovio @ 46min 29sec
- Fausto Montesi (independent) @ 47min 4sec
- Renato Scorticati @ 48min 52sec
- Bernardo Rogora @ 52min 1sec
- Paride Scacchetti @ 53min 9sec
- Clemente Grassi @ 55min 0sec
- Aurelio Scazzola @ 1hr 2min 6sec
- Orlando Teani @ 1hr 2min 50sec
- Isidoro Piubellini @ 1hr 3min 30sec
- Alfredo Bovet (Bianchi) @ 1hr 8min 26sec
- Augusto Como (independent) @ 1hr 11min 36sec
- Carlo Romanatti @ 1hr 11min 59sec
- Umberto Guarducci (independent) @ 1hr 17min 44sec
- Carlo Moretti (independent) @ 1hr 22min 19sec
- Francesco Camusso @ 1hr 24min 39sec
- Romeo Rossi @ 1hr 27min 58sec
- Pietro Rimoldi (independent) @ 1hr 42min 6sec
- Luigi Augusto Introzzi @ 1hr 43min 23sec
- Giacinto Sessa @ 2hr 22min 51sec
- Raffaele Di Paco (Dei) @ 2hr 28min 23sec
- Fabio Battesini (Legnano) @ 2hr 30min 20sec
- Alfredo Mamesi @ 2hr 51min 21sec
- Ambrogio Perego (independent) @ 2hr 56min 0sec
- Vito Lippolis (independent) @ 3hr 31min 0sec

**Climbers' Competition:**

- Gino Bartali (Legnano) 38.5 points
- Severino Canavesi (Ganna) 25
- Edoardo Molinar (independent) 11
- Enrico Mollo (Gloria) 10
- Aladino Mealli (Legnano) 6

**Team Classification:**

- Legnano 361hr 29min 35sec
- Ganna @ 4min 59sec
- Bianchi @ 6min 59sec
- Frèjus @ 22min 2sec
- Gloria @ 29min 39sec
- Maino 2 1hr 1min 7sec
- Dei @ 3hr 15min 9sec

**1936 Giro stage results with running GC:**

**Stage 1:** Saturday, May 16, Milano - Torino, 161 km

- Giuseppe Olmo: 4hr 37min 1sec
- Aldo Bini s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Cesare Del Cancia s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Remo Bertoni s.t.
- Renato Scorticati s.t.
- Rinaldo Gerini s.t.
- Michele Benente s.t.

**Stage 2:** Sunday, May 17, Torino - Genova, 206 km

Ascent: Passo della Scoffera

- Aldo Bini: 6hr 4min 0sec
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Alfredo Bovet s.t.
- Rinaldo Gerini s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Armando s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Fabio Battesini s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

- Aldo Bini: 10hr 41min 1sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Rinaldo Gerini s.t.
- Remo Bertoni s.t.
- Michele Benente s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Renato Scoticati s.t.
- Isidoro Piubellini s.t.

**Stage 3:** Monday, May 18, Genova - Montecatini, 226 km

Ascent: Bracco

- Raffaele Di Paco: 7hr 20min 30sec
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Aldo Bini s.t.
- Attilio Masarati s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Antonio Folco s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Stefano Giuppone s.t.
- Armando s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.

GC after Stage 3:

- Aldo Bini: 18hr 1min 31sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Rinaldo Gerini s.t.
- Michele Benente s.t. s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Renato Scorticati s.t.
- Isidoro Piubellini s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.

**Stage 4:** Wednesday, May 20, Montecatini - Grosseto, 220 km

Major ascent: Prata (580m)

- Fabio Battesini: 6hr 56min 27sec
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Antonio Folco s.t.
- Aladino Mealli s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Bernardo Rogora s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
- Osvaldo Della Latta s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

- Aldo Bini: 24hr 57min 58sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Rinaldo Gerini s.t.
- Michele Benente s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Renato Scorticati s.t.
- Isidoro Piubellini s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.

**Stage 5: **Thursday, May 21, Grosseto - Roma, 248 km

Ascent: Capranica

- Giuseppe Olmo: 7hr 35min 0sec
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Raffaele Di Paco s.t.
- Aldo Bini s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Aurelio Scazzola s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Cino Cinelli s.t.

GC after Stage 5:

- Aldo Bini: 32hr 50min 58sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Cino Cinelli s.t.
- Giovanni Gotti s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Michele Benente @ 30sec

**Stage 6:** Saturday, May 23, Roma - Napoli, 230 km

- Giuseppe Olmo: 6hr 41min 50sec
- Raffaele Di Paco s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Ivo Mancini s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Isidoro Piubellini s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Fabio Battesini s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

- Giuseppe Olmo: 39hr 32min 18sec
- Aldo Bini s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Cino Cinelli s.t.
- Giovanni Gotti s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 30sec
- Michele Benente s.t.

**Stage 7: **Sunday, May 24, Napoli - Bari, 288 km

Major ascent: Ariano Irpino (817m)

- Raffaele Di Paco: 9hr 48min 52sec
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Giovanni Gotti s.t.
- Isisdoro Piubellini s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

- Giuseppe Olmo: 49hr 21min 40sec
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Giovanni Gotti s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 30sec
- Michele Benente s.t
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Isisdoro Piubellini s.t.

**Stage 8:** Tuesday, May 26, Bari - Campobasso, 243 km

Major ascent: Monte Corvino (736m)

- Olimpio Bizzi: 8hr 19min 35sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Cesare Del Cancia s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Luigi Macchi s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.
- Michele Benente s.t.

GC after Stage 8:

- Giuseppe Olmo: 57hr 41min 45sec
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Isidoro Piubellini s.t.
- Giovanni Gotti s.t.
- Michele Benente @ 30sec
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.

**Stage 9:** Wednesday, May 27, Campobasso - L'Aquila, 204 km

Major ascents: Rionero Sannitico (1,052m), Cinquemiglia (278m)

- Gino Bartali: 6hr 50min 15sec
- Cesare Del Cancia @ 6min 12sec
- Giovanni Valetti s.t.
- Aladino Mealli @ 6min 59sec
- Edoardo Molinar s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 7min 51sec
- Ruggero Balli s.t.
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 8min 18sec

GC after Stage 9:

- Gino Bartali: 64hr 32min 0sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 6min 29sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 7min 21sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 8min 48sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 8min 48sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 9min 37sec
- Learco Guerra @ 9min 38sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 9min 38sec
- Giovanni Gotti @ 9min 38sec

**Stage 10:** Thursday, May 28, L'Aquila - Reiti, 117 km

- Raffaele Di Paco: 3hr 45min 20sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Isidoro Piubellini s.t.
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.

GC after Stage 10:

- Gino Bartali: 68hr 17min 20sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 6min 29sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 7min 21sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 8min 48sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 8min 48sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 9min 37sec
- Learco Guerra @ 9min 38sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 9min 38sec
- Giovanni Gotti @ 9min 38sec

**Stage 11:** Friday, May 29, Rieti - Terminillo individual time trial (timed hill climb)

Ascent: Terminillo (1,700)

- Giuseppe Olmo: 55min 12sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 19sec
- Gino Bartali @ 35sec
- Giovanni Valetti s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 1min 27sec
- Severin Canavesi @ 1min 50sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 2min 16sec
- Luigi Giacobbe @ 2min 31sec
- Walter Generati @ 2min 43sec
- Antonio Pesenti @ 2min 59sec

GC after Stage 11:

- Gino Bartali: 69hr 13min 7sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 6min 46sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 53sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 8min 32sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 10min 29sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 11min 44sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 12min 44sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 14min 5sec
- Giovanni Gotti @ 14min 42sec

**Stage 12: **Saturday, May 30, Rieti - Firenze, 292 km

- Giuseppe Olmo: 9hr 12min 33sec
- Raffaele Di Paco s.t.
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Learco Guerra s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.
- Orlando Teani s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

- Gino Bartali: 78hr 25min 10sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 6min 46sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 53sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 8min 32sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 10min 29sec
- Peimontesi @ 11min 44sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 12min 44sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 14min 5sec
- Giovanni Gotti @ 14min 42sec

**Stage 13: **Sunday, May 31, Firenze - Cesenatico, 139 km

Major ascent: Muraglione (907m)

- Giuseppe Olmo: 3hr 49min 0sec
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Walter Generati s.t.
- Aladino Mealli s.t.

GC after Stage 13:

- Gino Bartali: 82hr 14min 40sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 6min 46sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 53sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 8min 32sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 11min 44sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 12min 44sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 14min 4sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 14min 5sec
- Ambrogi Morelli @ 15min 18sec

**Stage 14:** Monday, June 1, Cesenatico - Ferrara, 155 km

- Raffaele Di Paco: 4hr 50min 57sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Luigi Augusto Introzzi s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

- Gino Bartali: 87hr 6min 37sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 6min 46sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 53sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 8min 32sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 11min 44sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 12min 44sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 14min 4sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 14min 5sec
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 15min 18sec

**Stage 15:** Tuesday, June 2, Ferrara - Padova, 106 km

- Raffaele Di Paco: 2hr 35min 31sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Alfredo Malmesi s.t.
- Michele Benente s.t.
- Alfredo Bovet s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Ezio Cecchi s.t.

GC after Stage 15:

- Gino Bartali: 89hr 43min 54sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 4min 0sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 5min 7sec
- Aladino Meali @ 8min 32sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 8min 58sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 9min 33sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 11min 19sec
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 12min 32sec
- Ruggero Balli @ 12min 44sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 14min 4sec

**Stage 16:** Tuesday, June 2, Padova - Venezia 39 km individual time trial

- Giuseppe Olmo: 59min 22sec
- Raffaele Di Paco 2 14sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 1min 6sec
- Gino Bartali @ 1min 43sec
- Giovanni Cazzulani @ 1min 47sec
- Alfredo Malmesi @ 2min 1sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 2min 30sec
- Ambrogio Morelli s.t.
- Elio Maldini @ 2min 35sec
- Ezio Cecchi @ 2min 43sec

GC after Stage 16:

- Gino Bartali: 90hr 44min 19sec
- Giuseppe Olmo 2 2min 17sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 11sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 9min 54sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 10min 20sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 11min 3sec
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 13min 19sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 13min 36sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 15min 20sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 16min 45sec

**Stage 17:** Thursday, June 4, Venezia - Legnago, 183 km

- Giuseppe Olmo: 5hr 38min 0sec
- Raffaele Di Paco s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Luigi Augusto Introzzi s.t.
- Aurelio Scazzola s.t.
- Ruggero Balli s.t.
- Vasco Bergamschi s.t.
- Carlo Moretti s.t.

GC after Stage 17:

- Gino Bartali: 96hr 22min 49sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 2min 17sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 11sec
- Giovanni Vletti @ 10min 20sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 10min 24sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 11min 33sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 13min 46sec
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 13min 49sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 15min 20sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 16min 45sec

**Stage 18:** Friday, June 5, Legnago - Riva Del Garda, 139 km

Major ascent: Fugazze (1,159m)

- Giuseppe Olmo: 4hr 35min 16sec
- Cesare Del Cancia s.t.
- Gino Bartali s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Luigi Macchi s.t.
- Giovanni Gotti @ 2min 35sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.
- Mario Vicini s.t.
- Aladino Mealli s.t.

GC after Stage 18:

- Gino Bartali: 100hr 37min 35sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 2min 17sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 11sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 12min 39sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 13min 37sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 16min 1sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 16min 12sec
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 17min 6sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 17min 35sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 19min 10sec

**Stage 19:** Friday, June 5, Riva Del Garda - Gardone Riviera, 100 km

Major ascent: Ballino (750m)

- Gino Bartali: 3hr 37min 0sec
- Elio Maldini s.t.
- Fabio Battesini s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.
- Alfredo Bovoet s.t.
- Carlo Moretti s.t.
- Fausto Montesi s.t.

GC after Stage 19:

- Gino Bartali: 104hr 37min 35sec
- Giuseppe Olmo @ 2min 17sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 11sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 12min 39sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 13min 37sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 16min 1sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 16min 12sec
- Ambrogi Morelli @ 17min 6sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 17min 35sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 19min 10sec

**Stage 20: **Saturday, June 6, Gardone Riviera - Salsomaggiore, 206 km

Ascent: San Antonio (646m)

- Gino Bartali: 7hr 9min 35sec
- Raffaele Di Paco @ 19sec
- Domenico Piemontesi s.t.
- Cesare Del Cancia s.t.
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 38sec
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Walter Generati s.t.
- Luigi Macchi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.

GC after Stage 20:

- Gino Bartali: 111hr 47min 10sec
- Giuseppe Olmo 2 2min 36sec
- Severino Canavesi @ 7min 49sec
- Aladino Mealli @ 14min 4sec
- Giovanni Valetti @ 14min 15sec
- Domenico Piemontesi @ 16min 31sec
- Ambrogio Morelli @ 17min 44sec
- Vasco Bergamaschi @ 18min 35sec
- Enrico Mollo @ 19min 37sec
- Edoardo Molinar @ 20min 58sec

**21st and Final Stage: **Sunday, June 7, Salsomaggiore - Milano, 248 km

Major ascent: Penice (1,149m)

- Raffaele Di Paco: 8hr 25min 20sec
- Giuseppe Olmo s.t.
- Pietro Rimoldi s.t.
- Giovanni Cazzulani s.t.
- Enrico Mollo s.t.
- Cesare Del Cancia s.t.
- Luigi Augusto Introzzi s.t.
- Severino Canavesi s.t.
- Alfredo Malmesi s.t.
- Walter Generati s.t.

1936 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification

Bianchi

Dei

Fréjus

Ganna

Gloria

Legnano

Maino

The Story of the 1936 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.*

A dramatic change to** **Italy’s place in the world occurred in October of 1935. By the early 1930s a large portion of the Italian population had grown disaffected with the Fascist regime. Mussolini was aware of this serious drop in his popularity and searched for a solution. For years he had talked about Italy’s deserving a “place in the sun” and that it, like the other European colonial powers, had every right to have an empire. Italy’s African possessions already included Libya (in 1932 Italy had put down a Libyan rebellion), Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. But Mussolini, who constantly emphasized Italy’s ancient Roman heritage, felt that Italy should have a larger dominion. Moreover, he felt he needed a war to galvanize Italy around him.

On October 3, 1935, Italy unleashed an invasion of startling brutality against Ethiopia (then called Abyssinia). By May of 1936 the Ethiopian resistance had been crushed. In Italy this successful war of conquest was wildly popular. Even the Catholic Church encouraged the populace to support the war as the Italian army overcame the desperate and heroic Ethiopian resistance. At the war’s conclusion, great crowds acclaimed Mussolini; he had never been more popular before or since. It’s likely that the majority of Italians were unaware that mustard gas and phosgene had been sprayed like insecticides on innocent populations. But war makes entire nations insane.

The initial reaction to this by the western powers was indecision, not wanting to lose Italy as an ally in the centuries old European balance of power game. France and England were especially loath to let Italy slide over to the side of Germany. By 1936 world-wide condemnation of Italy grew and as that castigation became more intense, she withdrew from and was shunned by a lot of the world. The Ethiopian war was part of Italy’s long downward slide towards the eventual signing of the Tripartite alliance with Germany and Japan in 1940.

For our story, the immediate result of all of this was that there were no foreign riders in the 1936 Giro d’Italia. Moreover, Italy did not participate in the 1936 Tour de France.

There are five Italian riders who are so great and so admired and so loved in Italy that they have become part of the DNA of Italian cycling. We have seen two of them dominate their respective eras, Costante Girardengo and Alfredo Binda. The other three are Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani. In the 1935 Giro we first met Gino Bartali. In his first Giro as a neo-pro he showed that he was a spectacular climber. But his inexperience and poor time trialing pushed him down to seventh place, 16 minutes 1 second behind the winner, Bergamaschi.

Bartali began racing when he was seventeen and it seems that like many successful riders, Gino had a father who didn’t want him to be a bicycle racer. While still an amateur in 1932, he won eleven times and came in second in seventeen of the thirty-nine competitions he entered.

*La Gazzetta* says that the moment when Bartali had made his class clear to all was in the 1935 Milan–San Remo. Close to the finish he took off and Guerra, Olmo and Cipriani went after him with all they had. They caught the insolent youngster only because his derailleur malfunctioned and he was stuck in a small gear. Bartali finished fourth, behind the trio that had caught him, but still nearly two minutes ahead of the peloton.

By the end of his first full year as a pro this Tuscan, born near Florence, had not only turned in a solid performance in the Giro, he had also won the Tour of the Basque Country with three stage wins, the Coppa Bernocchi, was second in the Italian Road Championship and third in the Tour of Lombardy. This was a young man to be reckoned with.

The 1936 Giro didn’t deviate much from the 1935 plan. It had 21 stages, of which two were individual time trials. The first of these was to be a twenty-kilometer timed hill-climb (*cronoscalata*) in stage eleven.

With the exception of Binda’s absence, the peloton of Italian riders was largely the same as in 1935. Even Girardengo decided to throw himself once more unto the breach. A notable new face in the race was Mario Vicini. While Vicini’s impact on the Giro was minimal, his Tour footprint is big because he was the independent rider with the highest-ever placing in the French race’s history: a second in the 1937 Tour de France, done without the aid of any teammates, an incredible accomplishment.

Olmo, the man who had taken the World Hour Record in the fall of 1935 on the brand-new Vigorelli velodrome, was clearly on-form for the Giro. He won the 26-man sprint in Turin, with Aldo Bini second and most of the heads of state in the front group. The next day was another big sprint and now Bini, another Tuscan of the same cohort of maturing racers as Bartali, won the sprint and took the *maglia rosa*. He was first, but with the same time as Olmo, Guerra, Bertoni, Bartali and others. Things were again not going well for the now 43-year old Gira, who retired after the third stage.

The big sprints continued as the Giro went down the Tyrrhenian coast toward Naples and that worked for Bini, who stayed in pink until Olmo won the sixth stage into Rome. This put Bini and Olmo in a tie in both time and points. There was only one solution. Both Bini and Olmo started stage seven in pink

Olimpio Bizzi won stage eight with Olmo second. Bini lost more than two minutes leaving Olmo the sole leader. Ownership of the Pink Jersey had to be determined by placings as the first seven riders all still had the same time.

Olmo had managed to keep his precarious lead as the race took an eastward turn at Naples, heading to Bari and then north to Campobasso. After those eight stages of big sprint finishes, this was the General Classification:

1. Giuseppe Olmo

2. Learco Guerra @ same time

3. Olimpio Bizzi @ same time

4. Severino Canavesi @ same time

5. Vasco Bergamaschi @ same time

9. Gino Bartali @ 30 seconds

Bartali took advantage of the heavy terrain on stage nine, breaking away on the first mountain. Sportswriters had described the difficult stage as homicidal and it was certainly challenging with its ascents of the Macerone, Rionero Sannitico, Roccaraso and Svolte di Popoli. Bartali flew up the final climb to the finish in L’Aquila six minutes ahead of Cesare Del Cancia and Giovanni Valetti, leaving Olmo and Piemontesi almost an hour and a half behind. To paraphrase *La Gazzetta*, the race’s equilibrium had been broken. The destruction the young Tuscan perpetrated in a single stage was complete, with Guerra, Bergamaschi and Vicini all losing ten minutes. Bartali’s epic ride in this ninth stage of the 1936 Giro is one of the most famous and celebrated accomplishments in Giro history.

Gino Bartali in the *maglia rosa*. Note the Vittoria derailleur.

After Bartali had given the pack a thorough scourging, the General Classification was thus:

1. Gino Bartali

2. Severino Canavesi @ 6 minutes 29 seconds

3. Giuseppe Olmo @ 7 minutes 21 seconds

4. Edoardo Molinar @ 8 minutes 48 seconds

5. Aladino Mealli @ same time

Two days later Olmo showed that the race was far from over when he won the hill-climb time trial. Despite Bartali’s climbing prowess, Olmo clawed back 35 seconds and was now second, but still a distant 6 minutes 46 seconds behind.

In the thirteenth stage, as the pack went through Forlì on its way to Cesenatico, a boy driving a horse-drawn carriage ran into Guerra, bringing the unlucky racer to the ground, hard. A broken arm sent the Locomotive to the hospital and out of the race.

Bartali had so far remained alert and finished with his challenger each time. In future races, Bartali would not always be so careful, and at times he seemed to lose unrecoverable amounts of time through sheer carelessness.

And then it happened, in a short half-stage on the pan-flat roads of the Eugenean Plain. In the fifteenth stage Olmo, Di Paco and Piemontesi drove a break of 31 riders almost three minutes clear. Astonishingly, this big group was without Bartali, who now was far from having this race iced. Olmo won the next two stages and placed second in the third.

Giuseppe Olmo wins stage 17 in Legnago

That afternoon was the other individual time trial, this one 39 kilometers over the level road from Padua to Venice. Olmo’s win took another 103 seconds away from Bartali. Slowly Olmo (and only Olmo) was pulling himself back into the race.

1. Gino Bartali

2. Giuseppe Olmo @ 2 minutes 17 seconds

3. Severino Canavesi @ 7 minutes 11 seconds

4. Aladino Mealli @ 9 minutes 54 seconds

5. Giovanni Valetti @ 10 minutes 20 seconds

Bartali took his turn next and won two in a row, managing to finish alone in Salsomaggiore and recovering a precious 19 seconds. That left only the final stage to Milan, won by Olmo. Olmo won ten stages in 1936 and if the race had been computed on points, he would have won easily. But this wasn’t 1909, it was 1936 and the Giro was won by the 22-year-old sensation.

Gino Bartali wins the 1936 Giro d'Italia

Final 1936 Giro d’Italia General Classification:

1. Gino Bartali (Legnano) 120 hours 12 minutes 30 seconds

2. Giuseppe Olmo (Bianchi) @ 2 minutes 36 seconds

3. Severino Canavesi (Ganna) @ 7 minutes 49 seconds

4. Aladino Mealli (Legnano) @ 14 minutes 4 seconds

5. Giovanni Valetti (Frejus) @ 14 minutes 15 seconds

Climbers’ Competition:

1. Gino Bartali

2. Severino Canavesi

3. Edoardo Molinar

Italy went crazy over Gino Bartali. But just nine days after his magnificent triumph, Bartali’s brother Giulio died after crashing in an amateur race while descending the San Donato, west of Florence.

Bartali was overwhelmed with grief and contemplated retiring from cycling. After two months he began to ride again, but his outlook from that point on had changed. He took on a powerful religiosity that was so strong his nickname became “Gino the Pious”. That fall Bartali solidified his winning season by winning the Tour of Lombardy.

Since nearly the dawn of cycle racing in the nineteenth century, the sport has been linked to drugs. The early races were so long they had to begin long before sunrise, which sent the riders looking for anything that would mitigate their suffering. At first the riders used cocaine, caffeine and strychnine as well as generous amounts of alcohol. In 1924 French racing star Henri Pélissier withdrew from the Tour and in a fit of anger gave an historic interview to journalist Albert Londres. Pélissier showed Londres the pharmacy he carried with him to races, pill boxes with chloroform, aspirin, strychnine, cocaine and anything else that could be found to make riding tolerable, telling the reporter, “We run on dynamite.”

Amphetamines were first synthesized in the 1880s but it wasn’t until the 1930s that they began to be produced and sold commercially, first as the decongestant Benzedrine. The drug’s psychostimulant qualities were quickly discovered. People reported that they could do more work with less fatigue and they felt alert and exhilarated. We know athletes used amphetamines to improve their performances in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and that amphetamine use was quickly adopted by the professional cycling peloton. At first it was thought that amphetamine use was beneficial and the Tour’s Henri Desgrange even encouraged its use. The organizers and race fans knew and generally accepted the fact that the riders used drugs. The Tour rulebook at one point even noted that the race organizers would not provide drugs to the riders. BYOD.

If riders of the prewar era sickened or died from their drug use, we’ll never know. Drug testing was decades away. It’s generally thought that any such events were covered up and attributed to other causes. What has to be understood, however, was that drugs were becoming an important part of professional cycling, and the racers came to believe that it was an unalienable right of their fraternity to take them.

During World War II, amphetamines were produced in massive quantities. Pilots were given uppers to make them more alert during long flights until it was discovered that they actually performed more poorly when drugged. This widespread wartime distribution increased the acceptance of amphetamines as a helpful stimulant. They were sold over the counter in most countries well into the 1950s.