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1950 Giro d'Italia

33rd edition: May 24 - June 13

Results, stages with running GC, photos and history

1949 Giro | 1951 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1951 Giro Quick Facts | 1951 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | The Story of the 1951 Giro d'Italia |


1950 Giro Quick Facts:

3,981 km raced at an average speed of 33.816 km/hr

105 starters and 75 classified finishers

Swiss rider Hugo Koblet took the lead in stage eight and kept it all the way to Milan.

Fausto Coppi, coming off a dazzling 1949 season, was the favorite, but crashed in stage nine, breaking his pelvis.

Hugo Koblet was the first foreign Giro winner.


1950 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification:

  1. maglia rosaHugo Koblet (Guerra): 117hr 28min 3sec
  2. Gino Bartali (Bartali) @ 5min 12sec
  3. Alfredo Martini (Taurea) @ 8min 41sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler (Fréjus) @ 8min 45sec
  5. Luciano Maggini (Taurea) @ 10min 49sec
  6. Fiorenzo Magni (Wilier-Triestina) @ 12min 14sec
  7. Silvio Pedroni (Fréjus) @ 13min 7sec
  8. Luciano Pezzi (Atala) @ 14min 34sec
  9. Giulio Bresci (Bottecchia) @ 18min 8sec
  10. Pietro Giudici (Cimatti) @ 20min 5sec
  11. Fritz Schaer (Arbos) @ 23min 53sec
  12. Pasquale Fornara (Legnano) @ 24min 52sec
  13. Aldo Ronconi (Benotto) @ 24min 55sec
  14. Donato Zampini (Ganna) @ 26min 36sec
  15. Nello Lauredi (Helyett) @ 26min 39sec
  16. Armando Barducci (Fréjus) @ 28min 34sec
  17. Ezio Cecchi (Cimatti) @ 34min 3sec
  18. Mario Vicini (Viscontea) @ 34min 26sec
  19. Giacomo Zampieri (Bottecchia) @ 34min 38sec
  20. Bruno Pasquini (Cimatti) @ 37min 37sec
  21. Alfredo Pasotti (Bottecchia) @ 43min 50sec
  22. Franco Franchi (Taurea) @ 52min 17sec
  23. Virgilio Salimbeni (Legnano) @ 55min 1sec
  24. Vittorio Rossello (Taurea) @ 58min 57sec
  25. Giancarlo Astrua (Taurea) @ 59min 54sec
  26. Valerio Bonini (Benotto) @ 1hr 7min 21sec
  27. Vincenzo Rossello (Taurea) @ 1hr 8min 7sec
  28. Sergio Pagliazzi (Arbos) @ 1hr 15min 43sec
  29. Antonio Bevilacqua (Wilier-Triestina) @ 1hr 19min 54sec
  30. Leo Castellucci (Arbos) @ 1hr 20min 19sec
  31. Dino Rossi (Cimatti) @ 1hr 23min 37sec
  32. Renzo Soldani (Legnano) @ 1hr 24min 8sec
  33. André Brulé (Viscontea) @ 1hr 25min 54sec
  34. Apo Lazarides (Helyett) @ 1hr 27min 50sec
  35. Mario Baroni (Bartali) @ 1hr 28min 56sec
  36. Angelo Fumagalli (Ganna) @ 1hr 33min 24sec
  37. Armando Peverelli (Atala) @ 1hr 35min 5sec
  38. Primo Volpi (Viscontea) @ 1hr 36min 48sec
  39. Nello Sforacchi (Viscontea) @ 1hr 40min 15sec
  40. Jean Goldschmidt (Fréjus) @ 1hr 43min 17sec
  41. Fausto Marini (Guerra) @ 1hr 45min 2sec
  42. Désiré Keteleer (Bianchi) @ 1hr 46min 9sec
  43. Alberto Ghirardi (Benotto) @ 1hr 55min 18sec
  44. Dino Ottusi (Bottecchia) @ 1hr 57min 14sec
  45. Gottfried Weilenmann (Guerra) @ 1hr 58min 22sec
  46. Giorgio Albani (Legnano) @ 2hr 2min 36sec
  47. Mario Fazio (Bottecchia) @ 2hr 5min 57sec
  48. Renzo Zanazzi (Arbos) @ 2hr 6min 37sec
  49. Ugo Fondelli (Taurea) @ 2hr 7min 17sec
  50. Guido De Santi (Atala) @ 2hr 12min 40sec
  51. Ettore Milano (Bianchi) @ 2hr 16min 50sec
  52. Annibale Brasola (Benotto) @ 2hr 20min 42sec
  53. Olimpio Bizzi (Guerra) @ 2hr 23min 31sec
  54. Fiorenzo Crippa (Bianchi) @ 2hr 26min 23sec
  55. Giuseppe Minardi (Legnano) @ 2hr 31min 15sec
  56. Franco Fanti (Fréjus) @ 2hr 32min 50sec
  57. Widmer Servadei (Atala) @ 2hr 34min 40sec
  58. Giuseppe Doni (Fréjus) @ 2hr 47min 32sec
  59. Bruno Gianelli (Bartali) @ 2hr 56min 16sec
  60. Serse Coppi (Bianchi) @ 2hr 57min 32sec
  61. Egidio Feruglio (Wilier-Triestina) @ 3hr 1min 8sec
  62. Attilio Lambertini (Bartali) @ 3hr 1min 11sec
  63. Adolfo Grosso (Wilier-Triestina) @ 3hr 5min 58sec
  64. Oreste Conte (Bianchi) @ 2hr 7min 32sec
  65. Oliviero Tonini (Cimatti) @ 3hr 7min 55sec
  66. Angelo Brignole (Bartali) @ 3hr 7min 55sec
  67. Giovanni Corrieri (Bartali) @ 3hr 19min 33sec
  68. Valeriano Zanazzi (Atala) @ 3hr 19min 48sec
  69. Andrea Carrea (Bianchi) @ 3hr 21min 34sec
  70. Luigi Casola (Atala) @ 3hr 26min 29sec
  71. Antonio Covolo (Fréjus) @ 3hr 37min 31sec
  72. José Bayaert (Helyett) @ 4hr 0min 12sec
  73. Marcello Paglieri (Bottecchia) @ 4hr 5min 7sec
  74. Léo Weilenmann (Guerra) @ 4hr 32min 23sec
  75. Mario Gestri (Bartali) @ 5hr 0min 34sec

Climbers' Competition:

  1. green jerseyHugo Koblet
  2. Gino Bartali
  3. Vittorio Rossello

Winning Team: Fréjus


1950 Giro stage results with running GC:

Stage 1: Wednesday, May 24, Milano - Salsomaggiore, 225 km

  1. Oreste Conte: 5hr 54min 26sec
  2. Désiré Keteleer s.t.
  3. Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
  4. Léo Weilenmann s.t.
  5. Antonio Bevilacqua s.t.
  6. Giovanni Corrieri s.t.
  7. Umberto Drei s.t.
  8. Luciano Maggini s.t.
  9. Guido De Santi s.t.
  10. Fiorenzo Crippa s.t.

Stage 2: Thursday, May 25, Salsomaggiore - Firenze, 245 km

climbsMajor ascent: Raticosa

  1. Alfredo Martini: 6hr 57min 15sec
  2. Fritz Schaer s.t.
  3. Silvio Pedroni s.t.
  4. Giulio Bresci @ 1min 8sec
  5. Luciano Maggini @ 1min 55sec
  6. Fausto Coppi s.t.
  7. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.
  8. Luciano Frosini s.t.
  9. Giancarlo Astrua s.t.
  10. Gino Bartali @ 2min 9sec

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Fritz Schaer: 12hr 50min 51sec
  2. Alfredo Martini @ 30sec
  3. Silvio Pedroni @ 1min 30sec
  4. Giulio Bresci s.t.
  5. Luciano Maggini @ 2min 45sec
  6. Luciano Frosini, Fausto Coppi, Fiorenzo Magni, Giancarlo Astrua tied @ 2min 25sec

10. Gino Bartali @ 3min 49sec

Stage 3: Friday, May 26, Firenze - Livorno, 148 km

  1. Olimpio Bizzi: 4hr 40min 34sec
  2. Vincenzo Rossello s.t.
  3. Armando Peverelli s.t.
  4. Renzo Zanazzi plus 67 more riders at same time and placing @ 5min 31sec

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Fritz Schaer: 17hr 36min 56sec
  2. Alfredo Martini @ 30sec
  3. Olimpio Bizzi @ 54sec
  4. Silvio Pedroni @ 1min 30sec
  5. Armando Peverelli @ 1min 58sec
  6. Giulio Bresci @ 2min 38sec
  7. Vincenzo Rossello @ 2min 39sec
  8. Luciano Maggini @ 2min 45sec
  9. Giancarlo Astrua, Fausto Coppi @ 3min 35sec

Stage 4: Saturday, May 27, Livorno - Genova, 216 km

climbMajor ascent: Bracco

  1. Antonio Bevilacqua: 6hr 22min 5sec
  2. Hugo Koblet s.t.
  3. Serse Coppi s.t.
  4. Virgilio Salimbeni s.t.
  5. Franco Franchi s.t.
  6. Aldo Ronconi s.t.
  7. Giovanni Meazzo s.t.
  8. Valerio Bonini s.t.
  9. Vittorio Rossello s.t.
  10. Giorgio Cargioli @ 1min 2sec

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Fritz Schaer: 24hr 0min 11sec
  2. Alfredo Martini @ 30sec
  3. Olimpio Bizzi @ 54sec
  4. Silvio Pedroni @ 1min 30sec
  5. Armando Peverelli @ 1min 58sec
  6. Giulio Bresci @ 2min 38sec
  7. Vincenzo Rossello @ 2min 39sec
  8. Luciano Maggini @ 2min 45sec
  9. Giancarlo Astrua @ 3min 25sec
  10. Fausto Coppi & Fiorenzo Magni @ s.t.

Stage 5: Sunday, May 28, Genova - Torino, 245 km

  1. Franco Franchi: 6hr 59min 35sec
  2. Bruno Pontisso s.t.
  3. Luciano Pezzi @ 15sec
  4. Serafino Biagioni @ 30sec
  5. Marcello Paglieri @ 50sec
  6. Gottfried Weilenmann s.t.
  7. Antonio Covolo s.t.
  8. Livio Isotti s.t.
  9. Giorgio Albani s.t.
  10. Marcel Dupont s.t.

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Fritz Schaer: 31hr 1min 46sec
  2. Alfredo Martini @ 30sec
  3. Olimpio Bizzi @ 54sec
  4. Silvio Pedroni @ 1min 30sec
  5. Armando Peverelli @ 1min 58sec
  6. Franco Franchi @ 2min 20sec
  7. Giulio Bresci @ 2min 38sec
  8. Vincenzo Rossello @ 2min 39sec
  9. Luciano Maggini @ 2min 45sec
  10. Luciano Pezzi @ 2min 57sec

Stage 6: Monday, May 29, Torino - Locarno, 220 km

  1. Hugo Koblet: 6hr 32min 44sec
  2. Luigi Casola @ 1min 48sec
  3. Oreste Conte s.t.
  4. Aldo Bini s.t.
  5. Sergio Pagliazzi s.t.
  6. Nedo Logli s.t.
  7. Renzo Zanazzi s.t.
  8. Dante Rivola s.t.
  9. Ferdy Kübler s.t.
  10. Mario Baroni s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Fritz Schaer: 37hr 36min 18sec
  2. Alfredo Martini @ 30sec
  3. Hugo Koblet @ 47sec
  4. Olimpio Bizzi @ 54sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 1min 30sec
  6. Armando Peverelli @ 1min 58sec
  7. Franco Franchi s.t.
  8. Fausto Coppi @ 2min 25sec
  9. Giulio Bresci @ 2min 38sec
  10. Vincenzo Rossello @ 2min 39sec

Stage 7: Wednesday, May 31, Locarno - Brescia, 293 km

climbMajor ascent: Aprica

  1. Luciano Maggini: 8hr 22min 5sec
  2. Giorgio Albani s.t.
  3. Armando Barducci s.t.
  4. Serafino Biagioni s.t.
  5. Dino Rossi s.t.
  6. Alfredo Martini s.t.
  7. Virgilio Salimbeni s.t.
  8. Fiorenzo Crippa s.t.
  9. Giulio Bresci s.t.
  10. Désiré Keteleer s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Alfredo Martini: 45hr 58min 53sec
  2. Luciano Maggini @ 15sec
  3. Giulio Bresci @ 2min 8sec
  4. Fritz Schaer @ 2min 14sec
  5. Hugo Koblet @ 3min 1sec
  6. Olimpio Bizzi 2 3min 8sec
  7. Fausto Coppi @ 3min 39sec
  8. Silvio Pedroni @ 3min 44sec
  9. Armando Peverelli @ 4min 12sec
  10. Franco Franchi @ 4min 34sec

Stage 8: Thursday, June 1, Brescia - Venezia, 214 km

climbMajor ascent: Fugazze

  1. Hugo Koblet: 6hr 35min 30sec
  2. Pasquale Fornara s.t.
  3. Gino Bartali @ 20sec
  4. Alfredo Pasotti s.t.
  5. Fausto Coppi s.t.
  6. Renzo Soldani s.t.
  7. Ferdy Kübler s.t.
  8. Pietro Giudici s.t.
  9. Alfredo Martini s.t.
  10. Ezio Cecchi s.t.
  11. Fritz Schaer s.t.
  12. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.
  13. Jean Robic s.t.
  14. Adolfo Leoni @ 4min 10sec

GC after Stage 8:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 52hr 35min 24sec
  2. Alfredo Martini @ 19sec
  3. Fritz Schaer @ 2min 33sec
  4. Fausto Coppi @ 3min 58sec
  5. Giulio Bresci @ 5min 17sec
  6. Fiorenzo Magni @ 5min 58sec
  7. Gino Bartali @ 6min 12sec
  8. Jean Robic @ 6min 15sec
  9. Ferdy Kübler @ 6min 45sec
  10. Silvio Pedroni @ 6min 53sec

Stage 9: Friday, June 2, Vicenza - Bolzano, 271 km

climbMajor ascents: Rolle, Pordoi, Gardena

  1. Gino Bartali 9hr 0min 51sec
  2. Hugo Koblet s.t.
  3. Ferdy Kübler s.t.
  4. Aldo Ronconi @ 2min 44sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni s.t.
  6. Luciano Pezzi s.t.
  7. Sergio Pagliazzi @ 5min 7sec
  8. Donato Zampini s.t.
  9. Vittorio Rossello s.t.
  10. Luciano Maggini @ 5min 22sec

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 84hr 4min 0sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 3min 42sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 7min 11sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 8min 15sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 11min 7sec
  6. Luciano Pezzi @ 12min 34sec
  7. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 50sec
  8. Luciano Maggini @ 14min 51sec
  9. Pasquale Fornara @ 15min 45sec
  10. Giulio Bresci @ 17min 27sec

Stage 10: Sunday, June 4, Bolzano - Milano, 291 km

  1. Mario Fazio: 8hr 4min 0sec
  2. Valeriano Zanazzi s.t.
  3. André Brulé s.t.
  4. Attilio Lambertini s.t.
  5. Giancarlo Astrua @ 13sec
  6. Jean Robic s.t.
  7. Widmer Servadei s.t.
  8. Désiré Keteleer @ 1min 2sec
  9. Nello Lauredi @ 1min 14sec
  10. Adolfo Leoni @ 1min 29sec

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 69hr 40min 14sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 5min 42sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 7min 11sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 7min 45sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 11min 7sec
  6. Luciano Pezzi @ 12min 34sec
  7. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 50sec
  8. Pasquale Fornara @ 14min 45sec
  9. Luciano Maggini @ 14min 51sec
  10. Giulio Bresci @ 17min 27sec

Stage 11: Monday, June 5, Milano - Ferrara, 251 km

  1. Adolfo Leoni: 7hr 13min 14sec
  2. Serafino Biagioni s.t.
  3. Alberto Ghirardi @ 47sec
  4. Annibale Brasola @ 5min 20sec
  5. Renzo Soldani s.t.
  6. Luciano Chiti s.t.
  7. Giorgio Albani s.t.
  8. Oliviero Tonini s.t.
  9. Olimpio Bizzi s.t.
  10. José Bayaert s.t.

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 76hr 59min 28sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 5min 42sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 7min 11sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 7min 45sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 11min 7sec
  6. Luciano Pezzi @ 12min 34sec
  7. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 50sec
  8. Pasquale Fornara @ 14min 45sec
  9. Luciano Maggini @ 14min 51sec
  10. Giulio Bresci @ 17min 27sec

Stage 12: Tuesday, June 6, Ferrara - Rimini, 144 km

  1. Antonio Bevilacqua: 3hr 58min 30sec
  2. Luigi Casola s.t.
  3. Désiré Keteleer s.t.
  4. Armando Barducci s.t.
  5. Guido De Santi s.t.
  6. Aldo Bini @ 3min 57sec
  7. Oreste Conte s.t.
  8. Renzo Zanazzi s.t.
  9. Serse Coppi s.t.
  10. Alfredo Pasotti s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 81hr 1min 55sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 5min 42sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 7min 11sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 7min 45sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 11min 7sec
  6. Luciano Pezzi @ 12min 36sec
  7. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 50sec
  8. Pasquale Fornara @ 14min 45sec
  9. Luciano Maggini @ 14min 51sec
  10. Giulio Bresci @ 17min 27sec

Stage 13: Wednesday, June 7, Rimini - Arezzo, 244 km

climbMajor ascents: San Marino, Muraglione

  1. Luciano Maggini: 7hr 19min 55sec
  2. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.
  3. Gino Bartali s.t.
  4. Annibale Brasola s.t.
  5. Alfredo Pasotti s.t.
  6. Désiré Keteleer s.t.
  7. Ferdy Kübler s.t.
  8. Nello Lauredi s.t.
  9. Sergio Pagliazzi s.t.
  10. Mario Vicini s.t.

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 88hr 19min 50sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 7min 12sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 9min 11sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 9min 15sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 13min 7sec
  6. Fiorenzo Magni @ 14min 20sec
  7. Luciano Pezzi @ 14min 34sec
  8. Luciano Maggini @ 15min 51sec
  9. Pasquale Fornara @ 16min 15sec
  10. Giulio Bresci @ 19min 27sec

Stage 14: Thursday, June 8, Arezzo - Perugia, 185 km

climbMajor ascent: Mandroli

  1. Fritz Schaer: 5hr 30min 26sec
  2. Serse Coppi @ 1min 22sec
  3. Giacomo Zampieri s.t.
  4. Primo Volpi @ 2min 39sec
  5. Bruno Pasquini @ 3min 34sec
  6. Mario Fazio @ 6min 55sec
  7. Alfredo Pasotti @ 7min 27sec
  8. Nello Sforacchi s.t.
  9. Fiorenzo Crippa s.t.
  10. Virgilio Salimbeni s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 94hr 0min 25sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 6min 12sec
  3. Ferdy Kübler @ 8min 45sec
  4. Alfredo Martini @ 9min 11sec
  5. Silvio Pedroni @ 13min 7sec
  6. Fiorenzo Magni @ 14min 20sec
  7. Luciano Pezzi @ 14min 34sec
  8. Luciano Maggini @ 15min 51sec
  9. Pasquale Fornara @ 16min 15sec
  10. Fritz Schaer @ 19min 6sec

Stage 15: Saturday, June 10, Perugia - L'Aquila, 185 km

climbMajor ascent: Somma

  1. Giancarlo Astrua: 5hr 1min 20sec
  2. Luciano Maggini @ 5min 0sec
  3. Désiré Keteleer @ 5min 6sec
  4. Guido De Santi s.t.
  5. Angelo Fumagalli s.t.
  6. Alfredo Pasotti @ 7min 27sec
  7. Nello Sforacchi s.t.
  8. Dino Rossi @ 7min 32sec
  9. Giovanni Corrieri @ 7min 40sec
  10. Mario Vicini s.t.

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 99hr 11min 23sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 5min 12sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 8min 41sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 8min 45sec
  5. Luciano Maggini @ 10min 49sec
  6. Silvio Pedroni @ 13min 7sec
  7. Fiorenzo Magni @ 14min 7sec
  8. Luciano Pezzi @ 14min 34sec
  9. Pasquale Fornara @ 16min 35sec
  10. Fritz Schaer @ 19min 6sec

Stage 16: Sunday, June 11, L'Aquila - Campobasso, 203 km

climbMajor ascent: Macerone

  1. Fiorenzo Magni: 6hr 9min 2sec
  2. Giulio Bresci @ 17sec
  3. Ferdy Kübler @ 50sec
  4. Hugo Koblet s.t.
  5. Gino Bartali s.t.
  6. Donato Zampini s.t.
  7. Pietro Giudici s.t.
  8. Luciano Maggini s.t.
  9. Armando Barducci s.t.
  10. Alfredo Martini s.t.

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 105hr 21min 18sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 5min 12sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 8min 41sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 8min 45sec
  5. Luciano Maggini @ 10min 49sec
  6. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 14sec
  7. Silvio Pedroni @ 13min 7sec
  8. Luciano Pezzi @ 14min34sec
  9. Giulio Bresci @ 18min 6sec
  10. Pietro Giudici @ 20min 5sec

Stage 17: Monday, June 12, Campobasso - Napoli, 167km

  1. Annibale Brasola: 4hr 43min 30sec
  2. Guido De Santi s.t.
  3. Renzo Soldani @ 3min 10sec
  4. Nello Sforacchi s.t.
  5. Mario Fazio s.t.
  6. Bruno Pasquini s.t.
  7. Adolfo Grosso @ 10min 20sec
  8. Fiorenzo Crippa s.t.
  9. Antonio Bevilacqua @ 14min 50sec
  10. Luigi Casola s.t.

GC after Stage 17:

  1. Hugo Koblet: 110hr 19min 28sec
  2. Gino Bartali @ 5min 12sec
  3. Alfredo Martini @ 8min 41sec
  4. Ferdy Kübler @ 8min 45drv
  5. Luciano Maggini @ 10min 49sec
  6. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 14sec
  7. Silvio Pedroni @ 13min 7sec
  8. Luciano Pezzi @ 14min 34sec
  9. Giulio Bresci @ 18min 6sec
  10. Pietro Giudici @ 20min 5sec

18th and Final Stage: Tuesday, June 13, Napoli - Roma, 230 km

  1. Oreste Conte: 7hr 8min 35sec
  2. Annibale Brasola s.t.
  3. Renzo Zanazzi s.t.
  4. Giovanni Corrieri s.t.
  5. Antonio Bevilacqua s.t.
  6. Giorgio Albani s.t.
  7. Giancarlo Astrau s.t.
  8. Gino Bartali s.t.
  9. 66 riders at same time and placing

1950 Giro d'Italia complete final General Classification


The Story of the 1950 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.

While Coppi was riding an extraordinary wave of cycling success, European cycling itself had reached a high-water mark. The postwar years saw record crowds at the great international cycling shows where manufacturers displayed their product lines for the coming year.

Writing about the 1950s, French cycle historian and television commentator Jean-Paul Ollivier wrote, “Cycle racing was not only at its peak, but was rich with personalities. After the war, Europe was looking for its own personality. Cycling provided that. That’s what the sponsors and the teams [today] have all but killed off. And then, because Europe was moving again, there was a rivalry between nations—a good rivalry: France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, they all had their champions. Now it’s as if they come off a production line.”

Indeed, cycling had become more international, or perhaps pan-European, and the riders who populated that golden age were larger than life. Bartali and Coppi were holdovers from before the war, but the arrival of a new generation of riders—possessing extraordinary talent and wonderful, sometimes strange personalities—makes this the richest, most wonderful time in the history of cycle racing.

Tiny Switzerland somehow managed to produce two of the finest riders of the era, Hugo Koblet and Ferdy Kübler. Both were on the start line for the 1950 Giro’s eighteen stages that wandered about northern Italy before heading south to Naples and its finish in Rome.

The 1947 Tour winner, Jean Robic, signed to ride the Giro for Viscontea with Mario Vicini as a teammate. Small, foul-mouthed (writer Les Woodland uses the term “Goblin”), courageous and extraordinarily talented, Robic defied the tradition of letting the Yellow Jersey wearer Pierre Brambilla promenade into Paris on the final day of the Tour. Sensing a tactical opening, he attacked and broke away, stealing the Tour in its final hours.

Luxembourg rider Jean Goldschmidt signed to ride on the Frejus team with Kübler. Later on in the Tour they rode on separate teams and Kübler said Goldschmidt was the rider he feared most.

The French Helyett bicycle company sent a team with seven Frenchmen, including Apo Lazarides, second in the 1948 World Championships.

The visiting northerners would have to get past the Italians, however. That would be no easy task given the wonderful strength of Italian cycling at the time. Coppi, Bartali and Magni, the “Italian Tripod”, were entered.

Coppi started 1950 where he had left off at the end of 1949, by winning Paris–Roubaix and the Flèche Wallonne; while Bartali (now nicknamed Ginaccio, meaning “tough, old Gino”) won Milan–San Remo, and Magni won the second of his three Tours of Flanders.

After the Giro’s second stage, which ended in Florence, Swiss rider Fritz Schaer was in pink. He was the first to the top of the Raticosa climb and then got into the winning three-man break with Martini and Silvio Pedroni.

Schaer doggedly defended his lead over the next four stages. In stage six, Koblet, whose only successes so far had been in track pursuit races and in Swiss road events, did what would eventually become a trademark move, a solo break that confounded the best combined efforts of the chasing peloton. Koblet finished in Locarno almost two minutes ahead of the field. Schaer was still the leader, but Koblet had caught everyone’s attention.

Stage seven came after a rest day. A ten-man break with Martini and Luciano Maggini broke clear of the field by almost three minutes. Schaer missed the move, letting Martini become the leader. Although Coppi was first over the day’s major climb to Aprica, he and Bartali were not yet really turning their pedals in anger.

The Pian delle Fugazze was stage eight’s major ascent on the way to finishing in Vicenza. Koblet attacked on the Fugazze and only Legnano rider Pasquale Fornara was with him when the Swiss rider went over the top. Koblet won the two-up sprint while twenty seconds later Bartali led in an eleven-man chase group with Coppi, Kübler, Robic, Martini, Magni and Schaer. On a good day Koblet could be nothing short of dazzling.

Koblet was now in pink:
1. Hugo Koblet
2. Alfredo Martini @ 19 seconds
3. Fritz Schaer @ 2 minutes 33 seconds
4. Fausto Coppi @ 3 minutes 58 seconds
5. Giulio Bresci @ 5 minutes 17 seconds
6. Fiorenzo Magni @ 5 minutes 58 seconds
7. Gino Bartali @ 6 minutes 12 seconds

Stage nine, with the Rolle, Pordoi (and I assume, the milder Campolongo), and Gardena passes was the tappone. The riders headed north out of Vicenza for the Dolomites. Coppi had promised fireworks in this stage and they would be aimed at Koblet and Bartali.

Near the little town of Primolano, southwest of Feltre and a good 50 kilometers before the hard climbing would begin, Coppi wanted to move to the front of the peloton on a minor grade. He passed on the left side of Armando Peverelli, who had lost his left eye in a crash in the 1949 Tour. At that moment, Peverelli, unable to see Coppi, moved to his own left, touching Coppi’s front wheel with his rear wheel. Coppi went down hard. The first car on the scene was that of the race director, Giuseppe Ambrosini. Seeing that Coppi had torn shorts but no sign of major wounds or bleeding, he tried to help the stricken rider back on his bike. But it was impossible. The pain was too great. “I cannot, I cannot continue. I have broken something,” Coppi moaned.

X-rays in the hospital in Trent later revealed a pelvis broken in three places. Coppi’s Giro and 1950 season were over.

But Jean Robic’s wasn’t. The French climber was first over the Rolle and the Pordoi but on the short stretch of road leading to the Gardena pass he crashed badly as well. The peloton led by Bartali sped by. Bartali was first over the Gardena and by the arrival in Bolzano he and Koblet and Kübler were nearly three minutes ahead of a chasing trio with Ronconi. Robic, who had been alone on the Pordoi, lost fourteen minutes that day.

Bartali, Robic and Koblet

On the Pordoi: Bartali looks back at Robic and Koblet

Robic wasn’t the only rider to lose time during stage nine. Several of Coppi’s gregari waited by the fallen rider until it was decided to take him to a hospital in Trent. They were unable to finish within the time limit and were told by the officials that they were out of the race. Bartali says that he personally interceded with the race jury and convinced them to let the Bianchi riders continue racing.

That evening Bartali visited Coppi at the hospital and gave him the flowers he had been awarded after winning the stage. Coppi had other visitors. A bike fan named Enrico Locatelli and his wife Giulia had come to see the great Italian sports hero.

The General Classification now stood this way:
1. Hugo Koblet
2. Gino Bartali @ 3 minutes 42 seconds
3. Alfredo Martini @ 7 minutes 11 seconds
4. Ferdy Kübler @ 8 minutes 15 seconds
5. Silvio Pedroni @ 11 minutes 7 seconds

Two days later, stage ten took the riders to Milan, and on the way Bartali said he got quite a surprise. He discovered that after interceding on their behalf to get them reinstated into the race, the now leaderless Bianchi riders were in Koblet’s pocket, working for the Swiss rider. Bartali accused them of being in Koblet’s pay for the rest of the Giro, calling their behavior shameless. While Bartali’s outrage is understandable, I’m sure that after their expected prize winnings were ambulanced off to Trent, the Bianchi gregari took the first paycheck that came their way. Given Bartali’s reputation for reneging on deals, I’ll bet getting the Bianchi riders to race for him rather than Koblet was an unlikely possibility. I’m just guessing here.

Koblet was riding in a state of grace, impervious to Bartali’s constant attempts to dislodge him from the lead. Stage thirteen had two major climbs on the way to Arezzo and Koblet was first over both of them, allowing him to pocket more bonus time and extend his lead to over seven minutes.

Bartali fought back and was able to reduce Koblet’s advantage to just over five minutes by the time the race finished in Rome.

Il Vecchio (now 36 years old)was furious at the outcome of the race. It wasn’t only that he felt that the Bianchi riders betrayed his kindness. Bartali accused the Giro organizers of being too imitative of the Tour when they gave time bonuses for winning stages and being first to the top of some mountains. The result was that by racing intelligently, the canny Koblet accumulated about ten minutes in time bonuses. Yet their final General Classification time difference was only about five minutes. In real time Bartali had completed the Giro with a shorter elapsed time. But the rules were the rules and everyone had to ride accordingly. There is no asterisk beside’s Koblet’s name in the Giro records noting that Gino actually rode faster.

Hugo Koblet became the Giro d’Italia’s first foreign winner.

Hugo Koblet

Hugo Koblet

Speaking of the Bianchi riders, Bartali grumped, “We see that Swiss gold was worth more than love of country.” Koblet taught Bartali (as if he hadn’t already known) that professional bicycle racing is a business.

Final 1950 Giro d’Italia General Classification:
1. Hugo Koblet (Guerra) 117 hours 28 minutes 3 seconds
2. Gino Bartali (Bartali) @ 5 minutes 12 seconds
3. Alfredo Martini (Taurea) @ 8 minutes 41 seconds
4. Ferdy Kübler (Frejus) @ 8 minutes 45 seconds
5. Luciano Maggini (Taurea) @ 10 minutes 49 seconds

Climbers’ Competition:
1. Hugo Koblet (Guerra)
2. Gino Bartali (Bartali)
3. Vittorio Rosello (Taurea)

Koblet was one of those magnificent and fascinating riders that the 1950s seemed to mint with abandon. He was well-liked, handsome and elegant with a riding style admired by all. He carried a cologne-soaked sponge and a comb in one of his jersey pockets. If he were going to win alone, approaching the finish line he would sit up and comb his hair and wipe the sweat from his face with his sponge.

He went on to win the Tour of Switzerland in 1950, and in 1951 he staggered the cycling world with a dominating Tour win that is one of the legends of the sport. Yet, so beautifully did he turn the cranks that a French singer called him le pédaleur de charme and the nickname stuck. Sadly, from then on le bel Hugo was unable to win with that same effortless style and the bright comet fell to earth. He died in 1964 in a solo car accident many thought was a suicide.

The other Swiss, Ferdy Kübler, went on to win the 1950 Tour after Bartali insisted that both Italian teams withdraw. Bartali had crashed with Robic and maintained that a French spectator came at him with a knife. Most think the fan was buttering a sandwich and still had the knife in his hand as he went to help the fallen riders. Or maybe some Italian fans came after Robic, thinking he had crashed their God. No one knows for certain. What we do know is that Magni was the Yellow Jersey and Bartali cruelly insisted that he, along with both teams, quit the Tour. The Italians did go home at Bartali’s insistence. Bartali could be a gloomy, selfish man and maybe Magni, on the secondary Italian team, was simply doing too well for the man who had been suffering for years from Coppi’s success.