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1956 Giro d'Italia

39th edition: May 19 - June 10

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

1955 Giro | 1957 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1956 Giro Quick Facts | 1956 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | Video of the 1956 Giro | The Story of the 1956 Giro d'Italia | Interview with Fiorenzo Magni |


1956 Giro Quick Facts:

3515 kilometers raced at an average speed of 34.68 km/hr

105 starters and 43 classified finishers

Pasquale Fornara was leading the race until the legendary day in the Dolomites that ended at the top of Monte Bondone. The cold overpowered most of the peloton, leaving only 43 riders in the race. Charly Gaul left the rest of the survivors behind and took the lead at the top of the mountain.

Three-time giro winner Fiorenzo Magni finished second, with a broken collarbone and humorous, an extraordinary accomplishment


1956 Giro d'Italia complete final General Classification:

  1. maglia rosaCharly Gaul (International-Faema-Guerra): 101hr 39min 49sec
  2. Fiorenzo Magni (Nivea-Fuchs) @ 3min 27sec
  3. Agostino Coletto (Fréjus) @ 6min 53sec
  4. Cleto Maule (Torpado) @ 7min 25sec
  5. Aldo Moser (Torpado) @ 7min 30sec
  6. Alessandro Fantini (Atala) @ 8min 46sec
  7. Jean Brankart (Belgium-Eldroado-Elve) @ 9min 21sec
  8. Bruno Monti (Atala) @ 10min 54sec
  9. Waldemaro Bartolozzi (Legnano) @ 18min 14sec
  10. Hilaire Couvreur (Belgium-Eldorado-Elve) @ 18min 41sec
  11. Stefano Gaggero (Caprano-Coppi) @ 27min 33sec
  12. Arrigo Padovan (Atala) @ 28min 18sec
  13. Wout Wagtmans (Netherlands-Italcover) @ 31min 40sec
  14. Edgard Sorgeloos (Belgium-Eldroado-Elve) @ 42min 22sec
  15. Pietro Giudici (Arbos) @ 45min 54sec
  16. Pierino Baffi (Nivea-Fuchs) @ 1hr 8min 46sec
  17. Giorgio Albani (Legnano) @ 1hr 16min 30sec
  18. Rino Benedetti (Leo-Chlorodont) @ 1hr 18min 56sec
  19. Guido De Santi (Ignis-Varese) @ 1hr 23min 38sec
  20. Tranquillo Scudellaro (Carpano-Coppi) @ 1hr 27min 48sec
  21. Gilberto Dall'Agata (Torpado) @ 1hr 30min 3sec
  22. Mario Baroni (Nivea-Fuchs) @ 1hr 33min 29sec
  23. Andrea Carrea (Bianchi) @ 1hr 40min 18sec
  24. Danilo Barozzi (Atala) @ 1hr 45min 43saec
  25. Riccardo Filippi (Ignis-Varese) @ 1hr 46min 15sec
  26. José Serra (Spain-Girardengo-ICEP) @ 1hr 49min 0sec
  27. Giuseppe Favero (Bianchi) @ 1hr 50min 15sec
  28. Daan De Groot @ (Netherlands-Italcover) 1hr 50min 41sec
  29. Giorgio Godio (Fréjus) @ 1hr 51min 45sec
  30. Antonio Uliana (Leo-Chlorodont) @ 1hr 52min 22sec
  31. Nino Assirelli (Arbos) @ 1hr 52min 28sec
  32. Valerio Chiarlone (Ignis-Varese) @ 1hr 53min 11sec
  33. Pietro Nascimbene (Carpano-Coppi) @ 1hr 53min 16sec
  34. Adriano Zamboni (Torpado) @ 1hr 54min 20sec
  35. Bruno Tognaccini (Leo-Chlorodont) @ 1hr 54min 22sec
  36. Mies Stolker (Netherlands-Italcover) @ 1hr 56min 38sec
  37. Giuseppe Cainero (Carpano-Coppi) @ 1hr 58min 31sec
  38. Bernardo Ruiz (Spain-Girardengo-ICEP) @ 2hr 9min 23sec
  39. Gino Guerrini (Carpano-Coppi) @ 2hr 13min 54sec
  40. Charles Coste (France) @ 2hr 26min 46sec
  41. Giuseppe Pintarelli (Leo Chlorodont) @ 2hr 44min 47sec
  42. Donato Piazza (Nivea-Fuchs) @ 2hr 47min 32sec
  43. Angelo Coletto (Atala) @ 3hr 14min 47sec

Climbers’ Competition: There were three separate mountain prizes.

Team Classification winner: Atala-Pirelli


1956 Giro stage results with running GC:

Stage 1: Saturday, May 19, Milano - Alessandria, 210 km

  1. Pierino Baffi: 5ht 30min 34sec
  2. Gianni Ferlenghi s.t.
  3. Mario Baroni @ 1min 46sec
  4. Angelo Coletto s.t.
  5. Vincenzo Zucconelli s.t.
  6. Eugenio Bertoglio s.t.
  7. Guido De Santi s.t.
  8. Gino Guerrino s.t.
  9. Piet Van Den Brekel @ 2min 38sec
  10. Guido Boni @ 2mn 42sec

Stage 2a: Sunday, May 20, Alessandria - Genova, 96 km

climbMajor ascent: Piani di Creto

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 2hr 29min 6sec
  2. Fritz Schaer s.t.
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini s.t.
  4. Vincenzo Zucconelli s.t.
  5. Silvano Petrei @ 4sec
  6. Waldemaro Bartolozzi s.t.
  7. Daan De Groot @ 49sec
  8. Mario Gervasoni @ 57sec
  9. Karel Borgmans s.t.
  10. Giuseppe Favero s.t.

GC after Stage 2a:

  1. Pierino Baffi

Stage 2b: Sunday, May 20, Lido d'Albaro Circuit 44 km team time trial

  1. Leo-Chlorodont: 49min 12sec
  2. Legnano @ 3sec
  3. Spain-Girardengo-ICEP, Belgium-Eldoradoe-Elve, Nivea-Fuchs, Fréjus @ 27sec
  4. Atala @ 30sec
  5. Ignis-Varese @ 33sec
  6. International-Faema-Guerra @ 36sec
  7. Carpano-Coppi @ 39sec
  8. Torpado @ 48sec
  9. Bianchi @ 1min 3sec
  10. Arbos @ 1min 5sec
  11. Netherlands-Italcover @ 1min 48sec
  12. France @ 2min 3sec

GC after Stage 2b:

  1. Vincenzo Zucconelli: 8hr 17min 51sec
  2. Pierino Baffi s.t.
  3. Gianni Ferlenghi @ 16sec
  4. Waldemaro Bertolozzi @ 1min 0sec
  5. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 1min 4sec
  6. Alessandro Fantini @ 1min 5sec
  7. Fritz Schaer @ 1min 7sec
  8. Mario Baroni @ 1min 46sec
  9. Guido De Santi @ 1min 48sec
  10. Rolf Graf @ 2min 4sec

Stage 3: Monday, May 21, Genova - Salice Terme, 152 km

climbMajor ascents: Scoffera, Penice

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 4hr 12min 46sec
  2. Pasquale Fornara s.t.
  3. Carlo Clerici s.t.
  4. Aldo Moser s.t.
  5. Pietro Giudici s.t.
  6. Giancarlo Astrua s.t.
  7. Arrigo Padovan s.t.
  8. Jean Brankart @ 1min 24sec
  9. Gastone Nencini s.t.
  10. Wout Wagtmans s.t.

GC after Stage 3

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 12hr 31min 42sec
  2. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 1min 23sec
  3. Giancarlo Astrua @ 1min 38sec
  4. Carlo Clerici @ 1mn 40sec
  5. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 40sec
  6. Aldo Moser @ 1min 44sec
  7. Pietro Giudici @ 2min 5sec
  8. Gastone Nencini @ 2min 52sec
  9. Sante Ranucci @ 2min 59sec
  10. Jean Brankart, Hilaire Couvreur @ 3min 1sec

Stage 4: Tuesday, May 22, Voghera - Mantova, 158 km

  1. Miguel Poblet: 4hr 43min 17sec
  2. Piet Van De Brekel s.t.
  3. Guido De Santi s.t.
  4. Stanislas Bober s.t.
  5. Salvador Botella s.t.
  6. Vincenzo Zucconelli, Cleto Maule, Mario Baroni, Gino Guerrini, Arrigo Padovan and 91 other riders @ 1min 2sec

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 17hr 16min 1sec
  2. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 1min 23sec
  3. Giancarlo Astrua @ 1min 38sec
  4. Carlo Clerici @ 1min 40sec
  5. Pasquale Fornara s.t.
  6. Aldo Moser @ 1min 44sec
  7. Pietro Giudici @ 2min 5sec
  8. Gastone Nencini @ 2min 52sec
  9. Sante Ranucci @ 2min 59sec
  10. Jean Brankart, Hilaire Couvreur @ 3min 1sec

Stage 5a: Wednesday, May 23, Mantova - Rimini, 228 km

  1. Giuseppe Minardi: 6hr 36min 6sec
  2. Giorgio Albani s.t.
  3. Bruno Monti s.t.
  4. Cleto Maule s.t.
  5. Gilberto Dell'Agata s.t.
  6. Harry Schoenmakers s.t.
  7. Rolf Graf s.t.
  8. Agustino Coletto s.t.
  9. Jesus Galdeano s.t.
  10. Mies Stolker s.t.

GC after Stage 5a:

  1. Alessandro Fantini

Stage 5b: Wednesday, May 23, San Marino Circuit 13 km individual time trial

  1. Jan Nolten: 20min 55sec
  2. Federico Bahamontes @ 2sec
  3. Jean Dotto @ 8sec
  4. Waldemaro Bartolozzi @ 17sec
  5. Cleto Maule s.t.
  6. Giancarlo Astrua @ 19sec
  7. Giuseppe Buratti @ 27sec
  8. Agustino Coletto @ 31sec
  9. Hilaire Couvreur s.t.
  10. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.

GC after Stage 5b:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 24hr 15min 28sec
  2. Giancarlo Astrua @ 30sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 59sec
  4. Aldo Moser @ 1min 23sec
  5. Carlo Clerici @ 1min 24sec
  6. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 37sec
  7. Hilaire Couvreur @ 2min 5sec
  8. Pietro Giudici @ 2min 11sec
  9. Giuseppe Buratti @ 2min 15sec
  10. Sante Ranucci @ 2min 36sec

Stage 6: Thursday, May 24, Rimini - Pescara, 245 km

  1. Arrigo Padovan: 7hr 4min 17sec
  2. Rino Benedetti s.t.
  3. Ugo Massocco s.t.
  4. Salvador Botella s.t.
  5. Piet Van Den Brekel s.t.
  6. Mario Gervasoni s.t.
  7. Renato Ponzini s.t.
  8. Michele Gismondi s.t.
  9. Fritz Schaer s.t.
  10. Cleto Maule @ 1min 15sec

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 31hr 21min 15sec
  2. Giancarlo Astrua @ 30sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 39sec
  4. Aldo Moser @ 1min 23sec
  5. Carlo Clerici @ 1min 24sec
  6. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 37sec
  7. Hilaire Couvreur @ 2min 5sec
  8. Pietro Giudici @ 2min 11sec
  9. Giuseppe Buratti @ 2min 15sec
  10. Sante Ranucci @ 2min 36sec

Stage 7: Friday, May 25, Pescara - Campobasso, 205 km

climbsMajor ascent: Palena, Macerone

  1. Charly Gaul: 6hr 37min 8sec
  2. Wout Wagtmans 2 1min 1sec
  3. Bruno Monti @ 2min 17sec
  4. Lino Grassi s.t.
  5. Nello Lauredi s.t.
  6. Giuseppe Buratti s.t.
  7. Hilaire Couovreur s.t.
  8. Fiorenzo Magni @ 2min 43sec
  9. Fritz Schaer s.t.
  10. Edgard Sorgeloos s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 38hr 1min 6sec
  2. Giancarlo Astrua @ 30sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 59sec
  4. Aldo Moser @ 1min 23sec
  5. Carlo Clerici @ 1min 24sec
  6. Wout Wagtmans @ 1min 25sec
  7. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 37sec
  8. Hilaire Couvreur @ 1min 39sec
  9. Giuseppe Buratti @ 1min 49sec
  10. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 40sec

Stage 8: Saturday, May 26, Campobasso - Salerno, 152 km

  1. Miguel Poblet: 4hr 10min 5sec
  2. Vincenzo Zucconelli s.t.
  3. Fritz Schaer s.t.
  4. Federico Bahamontes @ 3sec
  5. Masrio Baroni @ 6min 49sec
  6. Edgard Sorgeloos s.t.
  7. Giorgio Albani s.t.
  8. Renato Ponzini s.t.
  9. Marcel Ernzer s.t.
  10. Eugenio Bertoglio s.t.

GC after Stage 8:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 42hr 18min 0sec
  2. Giancarlo Astrua @ 30sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 59sec
  4. Fritz Schaer @ 1min 18sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 1min 23sec
  6. Carlo Clerici @ 1min 24sec
  7. Wout Wagtmans @ 1min 25sec
  8. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 37sec
  9. Hilaire Couvreur @ 1min 39sec
  10. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 43sec

Sunday, May 27: Stage from Salerno to Frascati annulled

Stage 9: Monday, May 28, Roma - Grosseto, 196 km

  1. Bruno Tognaccini: 4hr 55min 32sec
  2. Pierino Baffi s.t.
  3. Mario Gervasoni s.t.
  4. Guido De Santi s.t.
  5. Cleto Maule @ 3min 18sec
  6. Mario Baroni s.t.
  7. Miguel Poblet s.t.
  8. Vincenzo Rossello s.t.
  9. Guido Boni s.t.
  10. Nello Fabbri s.t.

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 47hr 16min 50sec
  2. Giancarlo Astrua @ 30sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 50sec
  4. Fritz Schaer @ 1min 18sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 1min 23sec
  6. Wout Wagtmans @ 1min 25sec
  7. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 37sec
  8. Hilaire Couvreur @ 1min 39sec
  9. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 43sec
  10. Giuseppe Buratti @ 1min 49sec

Stage 10: Tuesday, May 29, Grosetto - Livorno, 230 km

  1. Pietro Nascimbene: 6hr 42min 4sec
  2. Valerio Chiarlone s.t.
  3. Jean Dotto s.t.
  4. Giuliano Martino s.t.
  5. Giuseppe Favero @ 1min 45sec
  6. Alberto Negro s.t.
  7. Lino Grassi s.t.
  8. Silvano Petrei s.t.
  9. Guido Boni @ 1min 55sec
  10. Nello Fabbri s.t.

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Alessandro Fantini: 54hr 0min 47sec
  2. Giacarlo Astrua @ 30sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 59sec
  4. Fritz Schaer @ 1min 18sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 1min 23sec
  6. Wout Wagtmans @ 1min 25sec
  7. Pasquale Fornara @ 1min 37sec
  8. Hilaire Couvreur @ 1min 39sec
  9. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 43sec
  10. Giuseppe Buratti@ 1min 49sec

Stage 11: Thursday, May 31, Livorno - Lucca 45 km individual time trial

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 1hr 11min 39sec
  2. Cleto Maule @ 1min 12sec
  3. Nino Defilippis @ 1min 40sec
  4. Jean Brankart @ 1min 54sec
  5. Gastone Nencini @ 1min 56sec
  6. Federico Bahamontes @ 2min 5min
  7. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 2min 9sec
  8. Aldo Moser s.t.
  9. Guido De Santi @ 2min 13sec
  10. Alessandro Fantini @ 2min 20sec

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 55hr 14min 3sec
  2. Alessandro Fantini @ 43sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 1min 31sec
  4. Aldo Moser @ 1min 55sec
  5. Federico Bahamontes @ 2min 11sec
  6. Fritz Schaer @ 2min 25sec
  7. Giancarlo Astrua @ 2min 39sec
  8. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  9. Jean Brankart @ 3min 2sec
  10. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 5sec

Stage 12: Friday, June 1, Lucca - Bologna, 178 km

climbMajor ascent: Poretta

  1. Michel Stolker: 4hr 26min 58sec
  2. Giorgio Albani @ 1min 42sec
  3. Bruno Monti s.t.
  4. Cleto Maule s.t.
  5. Mino De Rossi s.t.
  6. Adriano Zamboni s.t.
  7. Nello Lauredi s.t.
  8. Alberto Negro s.t.
  9. Gino Guerrini s.t.
  10. Piet Van Den Brekel s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 59hr 42min 43sec
  2. Alessandro Fantini @ 43sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 1min 31sec
  4. Aldo Moser @ 1min 55sec
  5. Federico Bahamontes @ 2min 11sec
  6. Giancarlo Astrua @ 2min 39sec
  7. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  8. Jean Brankart @ 3min 2sec
  9. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 5sec
  10. Cleto Maule @ 3min 39sec

Stage 13: Saturday, June 2, Bologna 3 km timed hill-climb to Madonna di San Luca

  1. Charly Gaul: 6min 56sec
  2. Federico Bahamontes @ 3sec
  3. Giuseppe Buratti @ 5sec
  4. Miguel Poblet @ 7sec
  5. Nino Defilippis @ 19sec
  6. Pasquale Fornara @ 19sec
  7. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 20sec
  8. Jean Brankart @ 26sec
  9. Jean Dotto @ 29sec
  10. Aldo Moser @ 30sec

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 59hr 49min 58sec
  2. Alessandro Fantini @ 59sec
  3. Giuseppe Fallarini @ 1min 32sec
  4. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 55sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 2min 7sec
  6. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  7. Giancarlo Astrua @ 2min 56sec
  8. Jean Brankart @ 3min 9sec
  9. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 36sec
  10. Giuseppe Buratti @ 3min 38sec

Stage 14: Sunday, June 3, Bologna - Rapallo, 275 km

climbMajor ascents: Cerreto, Bracco

  1. Miguel Poblet: 7hr 48min 9sec
  2. Bruno Monti s.t.
  3. Marcel Ernzer s.t.
  4. Cleto Maule s.t.
  5. Guido Boni s.t.
  6. Edgard Sorgeloos s.t.
  7. Agostino Coletto s.t.
  8. Nello Lauredi s.t.
  9. Nino Defilippis s.t.
  10. Nello Fabbri s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 67hr 38min 7sec
  2. Alessandro Fallarini @ 1min 32sec
  3. Giuseppe Fantini @ 1min 51sec
  4. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 55sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 2min 7sec
  6. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  7. Giancarlo Astrua @ 2min 56sec
  8. Jean Brankart @ 3min 9sec
  9. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 36sec
  10. Giuseppe Buratti @ 3min 58sec

Stage 15: Monday, June 4, Rapallo - Lecco, 278 km

climbMajor ascents: Blocco, Pelizzone

  1. Giorgio Albani: 8hr 53min 56sec
  2. Giuseppe Favero s.t.
  3. Arrigo Padovan s.t.
  4. Lino Grassi s.t.
  5. Vincenzo Zucconelli s.t.
  6. Valerio Chiarlone s.t.
  7. Jan Nolten s.t.
  8. Giuliano Martino s.t.
  9. Silvano Petrei s.t.
  10. Fiorenzo Crippa s.t.

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 76hr 36min 44sec
  2. Alessandro Fallarini @ 1min 32sec
  3. Giuseppe Fantini @ 1min 51sec
  4. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 55sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 2min 7sec
  6. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  7. Giancarlo Astrua @ 2min 56sec
  8. Jean Brankart @ 3min 9sec
  9. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 36sec
  10. Giuseppe Buratti @ 3min 38sec

Stage 16: Tuesday, June 5, Lecco - Sondrio, 98 km

  1. Miguel Poblet: 2hr 21min 56sec
  2. Guido Boni s.t.
  3. Cleto Maule s.t.
  4. Arrigo Padovan @ 4min 2sec
  5. Bruno Monti s.t.
  6. Guido De Santi s.t.
  7. Gastone Nencini s.t.
  8. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.
  9. Nello Fabbri s.t.
  10. Hilaire Couvreur s.t.

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 79hr 2min 42sec
  2. Cleto Maule @ 9sec
  3. Alessandro Fallarini @ 1min 32sec
  4. Federico Bahamontes @ 1min 55sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 2min 7sec
  6. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  7. Giancarlo Astrua @ 2min 56sec
  8. Jean Brankart @ 3min 9sec
  9. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 36sec
  10. Giuseppe Buratti @ 3min 38sec

Stage 17: Thursday, June 7, Sondrio - Merano, 162 km

climbMajor ascent: Stelvio

  1. Cleto Maule: 5hr 3min 50sec
  2. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.
  3. Rino Benedetti s.t.
  4. Bruno Monti s.t.
  5. Arrigo Padovan
  6. Nino Defilippis s.t.
  7. Nello Fabbri s.t.
  8. Aldo Moser s.t.
  9. Adriano Zamboni s.t.
  10. Giuseppe buratti s.t.

GC after Stage 17:

  1. Pasquale Fornara: 84hr 6min 32sec
  2. Cleto Maule @ 9sec
  3. Aldo Moser @ 2min 7sec
  4. Nino Defilippis @ 2min 43sec
  5. Jean Brankart @ 3min 9sec
  6. Giancarlo Astrua @ 3min 22sec
  7. Wout Wagtmans @ 3min 36sec
  8. Giuseppe Buratti @ 3min 38sec
  9. Guido Boni @ 5min 23sec
  10. Gastone Nencini @ 5min 46sec

Stage 18: Friday, June 8, Merano - Monte Bondone, 242 km

climbMajor ascents: Costalunga, Rolle, Brocon, Bondone

  1. Charly Gaul: 9hr 7min 28sec
  2. Giuseppe Fantini @ 7min 44sec
  3. Fiorenzo Magni @ 12min 15sec
  4. Agostino Coletto @ 14min 25sec
  5. Pierino Baffi @ 17min 39sec
  6. Antonio Uliana @ 17min 44sec
  7. Bruno Monti @ 18min 9sec
  8. Waldemaro Bartolozzi @ 18min 18sec
  9. Pietro Nascimbene @ 20min 46sec
  10. Aldo Moser @ 21min 28sec
  11. Jean Brankart @ 22min 17sec
  12. Cleto Maule @ 23min 21sec
  13. Hilaire Couvreur @ 25min 31sec
  14. Stefano Gaggero @ 25min 44sec
  15. José Serra @ 26min 45sec

GC after Stage 18:

  1. Charly Gaul: 93hr 30min 5sec
  2. Fiorenzo Magni @ 3min 27sec
  3. Agostino Coletto @ 6min 53sec
  4. Cleto Maule @ 7min 25sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 7min 30sec
  6. Giuseppe Fantini @ 8min 46sec
  7. Jean Brankart @ 9min 21sec
  8. Bruno Monti @ 10min 24sec
  9. Waldemaro Bartolozzi @ 19min 3sec
  10. Hilaire Couvreur @ 19min 30sec

Stage 19: Saturday, June 9, Trento - San Pellegrino, 191 km

  1. Giorgio Albani: 4hr 53min 17sec
  2. Giuseppe Favero s.t.
  3. Bruno Tognaccini s.t.
  4. Pietro Giudici @ 3sec
  5. Valerio Chiarlone @ 7sec
  6. Hilaire Couvreur @ 1min 52sec
  7. Edgard Sorgeloos s.t.
  8. Waldemaro Bartolozzi s.t.
  9. Donato Piazza @ 2min 29sec
  10. Rino Benedetti @ 2min 38sec

GC after Stage 19:

  1. Charly Gaul: 98hr 26min 3sec
  2. Fiorenzo Magni @ 3min 27sec
  3. Agostino Coletto @ 6min 53sec
  4. Cleto Maule @ 7min 25sec
  5. Aldo Moser @ 7min 30sec
  6. Giuseppe Fantini @ 8min 46sec
  7. Jean Brankart @ 9min 21sec
  8. Bruno monti @ 10min 54sec
  9. Waldemaro Bartolozzi @ 18min 14sec
  10. Hilaire Couvreur @ 18min 41sec

20th and Final Stage: Sunday, June 10, San Pellegrino - Milano, 113 km

  1. Donato Piazza 3hr 13min 20sec
  2. Mario Baroni s.t.
  3. Riccardo Filippi s.t.
  4. Edgard Sorgeloos s.t.
  5. Guido De Santi s.t.
  6. Aldo Moser s.t.
  7. Antonio Uliana s.t.
  8. Fiorenzo Magni s.t.
  9. Pietro Giudici s.t.
  10. Bruno Monti s.t.

1956 Giro d'Italia final complete General Classification


The Story of the 1956 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.

 Charly Gaul was one of the most exciting, exasperating and enigmatic riders of the 1950s. He turned pro in 1953 at the age of 20. By 1955 the slight, fragile-looking Luxembourger had established himself as the sport’s finest climber. In the 1955 Tour he won two mountain stages, the mountains prize and third place in the Overall. He quickly developed the maddening style of inattentive and lazy racing during the flat stages where he would give up gobs of time, knowing that he could explode in the mountains and leave the others many minutes behind. Sometimes he would rip a race apart and sometimes, inexplicably, Gaul would just do nothing. Like most of the riders of the 1950s, Gaul used amphetamines. It has to be emphasized that there were no drug tests and the modern opprobrium regarding drug-taking was not then the norm. Coppi was quite frank about his drug taking, saying that he took drugs when necessary. When asked when that would be, he answered, “Practically all of the time.”

But Gaul admitted that he took drugs in larger amounts than the others and the results showed in his racing. The hyperthermia that amphetamine use can induce gave Gaul the ability to race in cold and wet conditions but caused him to suffer unbearably on hot days, sometimes even forcing him to jump into city fountains in the middle of a race. There are pictures of Gaul (and a lot of other riders of his era) glassy-eyed with flecks of dried foam around his lips, sad testimony that Gaul did what he believed he had to do in order to be who he had to be. I am sure a lot of his erratic behavior is explainable by his heavy drug use.

Now 23, a mature Gaul was capable of mixing it up with the world’s finest. He entered the Giro for the first time on a Faema-sponsored international squad that included Clerici, Fritz Schaer, Rolf Graf and his loyal gregario Marcel Ernzer. With the exception of Ernzer, good teammates mattered little to Gaul because he rode as a loner who, when the circumstances suited him, could fly up the mountains, twiddling his pedals at a high cadence, devastating the peloton. British rider Brian Robinson ended up on mixed nationality teams with Gaul and found Gaul didn’t even hold strategy meetings with his teammates. Gaul had little use for anyone else in the professional peloton and to no small degree, the feeling was mutual.

Coppi was entered, now riding for Carpano-Coppi. His personal problems and the public relations difficulties they brought along, as well as his declining performances, had made him less attractive to Bianchi. We must remember, declining performance measured on the Coppi scale is different than it is for mere mortals.

Here’s a quick review of Coppi’s 1955. It had been a good, but not great year for a man carrying the name campionissimo, with his winning the Italian Road Championship, the Tours of the Apennines, the Campania and Tre Valle Varesine, and taking second in the Giro d’Italia and Paris–Roubaix. But when he came down with typhus in early 1956 Bianchi fired him with the excuse that he couldn’t race during the early season. Magni had opened the door for extra-sportif sponsors and Coppi was able to walk right in and ride Coppi bikes (produced by the Fiorelli brothers in Novi Ligure until the 1990s) for the Carpano aperitif company.

Defilippis was the leader of the Bianchi team, and even though several of Coppi’s hand-picked squad had moved elsewhere, Bianchi still had Ettore Milano, Andrea Carrea and Giuseppe Favero ready to ride the Giro in Bianchi’s bianco-celeste (white and sky-blue) jerseys.

Two of the greatest riders Spain ever produced, Miguel Poblet and Federico Bahamontes, entered the Giro for the first time. In 1955 Poblet had become the first Spaniard to wear the Tour’s Yellow Jersey and later to win a major classic, the 1957 Milan–San Remo. Bahamontes rode his first Tour in 1954, winning the mountains competition.

Magni, Fornara and Astrua were back to ride a Giro that, at 3,526 kilometers, was nearly 350 kilometers shorter than the 1955 edition. The race went no further south than Salerno, near Naples.

When journeyman Atala rider Alessandro Fantini won stage two into Genoa (there was a team time trial that same afternoon won by Leo-Chlorodont) and the hilly fourth stage finishing in Salice Terme, he became the General Classification leader with Giuseppe Fallarini second at 1 minute 23 seconds and Astrua 15 seconds further back.

Cooling spray

Getting a cooling spray

Fantini proved a worthy owner of the maglia rosa, keeping it through the thirteen-kilometer San Marino individual time trial (run as a relay race), Charly Gaul’s assault in the mountains of the Molise region in stage nine, until the 45-kilometer time trial in Lucca in stage thirteen.

Meanwhile, Coppi’s bad luck held. He fell during the stage six run-in to Rimini, injuring his back. Coppi’s 1956 Giro was over.

Coppi wasn’t the only rider suffering from bad luck. Magni explains, “During stage twelve [sometimes called stage ten because different accounts handle the two days of half-stages differently], from Grosseto to Livorno, I crashed on the descent out of Volterra and broke my left collarbone. At the hospital they said I should put on a plaster cast and quit. But I didn't want to. Since the next day was a rest day, I told the doctor to do nothing and that we should wait and see. The day after, I asked the doctor to put on an elastic bandage instead of a cast because I wanted to try to ride the following stage, Livorno to Lucca. It worked! I wasn't among the first riders but I finished.”

In fact, the next stage Magni referred to was a 45-kilometer individual time trial to Lucca. Fornara won the time trial, giving him the lead with Fantini 43 seconds behind.

After stage fifteen’s hill climb it was clear that Gaul had plenty of form but was riding lazily. Gaul beat Bahamontes by three seconds in the three kilometers to the Basilica di San Luca, near Bologna. Poblet, who was known as a superb sprinter, showed that he could climb as well, being only seven seconds slower than Gaul. Fornara kept his lead; both he and Defilippis came in nineteen seconds behind Gaul.

Magni, however, was still having trouble with his broken collarbone. “Just before the stage started I tried to ride my bike on a climb and I noticed I couldn't use the muscles of my left arm to pull on the handlebar very hard. So my mechanic, Faliero Masi, the best mechanic of all time, cut a piece of inner tube and suggested I pull it with my mouth. That was a great idea!”

Fiorenzo Magni

Fiorenzo Magni riding with a broken collarbone.

Meanwhile misfortune stuck to Magni like velcro. Stage sixteen to Rapallo took the Giro over the Apennines where Magni crashed again, this time breaking his humerus. “I didn’t have enough strength in my left arm,” he said, “and I crashed after hitting a ditch by the road. I fell on my already broken bone and fainted from the pain. The ambulance came to bring me to the hospital. In the ambulance they gave me water and I got back on my feet. When I realized that I was being taken to the hospital I screamed and told the driver to stop. I didn't want to abandon the Giro.

“I mounted my bike again and restarted pedaling. The peloton had waited for me, so I arrived in Rapallo in a relatively good position. I had no idea of how serious my condition was, I just knew that I was in a lot of pain but I didn't want to have X-rays that evening. During the days that followed I could hold my own.”The race arrived at the Dolomites for stage nineteen, a trip from Sondrio over the Stelvio (the not-so-famous south face) to Merano. The day’s riding didn’t change a lot. Torpado rider Cleto Maule won the stage with the bashed and battered Magni somehow second. Now it was Gaul’s turn to suffer at the hands of Lady Luck, having been harassed by three punctures on a day that should have been his. Instead, he finished in the second chasing group, six minutes behind Maule.

The General Classification at this point stood thus:
1. Pasquale Fornara
2. Cleto Maule @ 9 seconds
3. Aldo Moser @ 2 minutes 7 seconds
4. Nino Defilippis @ 2 minutes 43 seconds
5. Jean Brankart @ 3 minutes 9 seconds

This brought the race to the stage twenty tappone with the Costalunga, Rolle and Brocon ascents with the finish atop the 1,650-meter-high Monte Bondone.
So far, Gaul had done his usual job of losing time and sat 16 minutes 5 seconds behind Fornara. Yet, Gaul remained ambitious and told his gregario Marcel Ernzer that he would win the next day’s stage or give up trying.

The forecast called for rough weather and race director Torriani was asked to consider cancelling the stage. Torriani felt that the race so far had been rather unexciting, and a difficult day in the Dolomites had the possibility of giving his race an electrifying conclusion. He had no idea…

The day began cold and rainy with the riders underdressed and pitifully unprepared for the conditions that faced them. Again Torriani was asked to at least stop the stage at Trent, but Torriani felt that a legendary stage was in the making.

When the stage’s climbing began, race leader Fornara went to the front and kept up a tempo that seemed to keep things together, although Gaul was first over the Costalunga. On the Rolle, Gaul was again first over the top but suffered two flats and momentarily fell behind.

Over the Brocon Gaul took off with Atala’s Bruno Monti and left the other master climber in the race, Federico Bahamontes, 2 minutes 35 seconds behind. The temperature began to drop, really drop. Then snow started to fall. On the descent of the Brocon the riders’ brakes wouldn’t work on their frozen rims. Gaul was forced to use his shoes to slow his bike. Now the cold became too much for many of the riders. Fornara abandoned his Pink Jersey for the warmth of a farmhouse.

Nino Defilippis had done his best to continue, trying to make a grab for the leadership and now he too quit, saying that he wouldn’t restart for ten million lire. Some racers hitched rides in cars to the finish.

And still pedaling through the frozen snow, Charly Gaul kept up an infernal pace to the top of Monte Bondone while over 60 riders abandoned. Although Gaul had survived the day in better shape than almost all of the other riders, he had to be lifted off his bike and his frozen (short sleeve!) jersey cut off him. Still, one can’t help but feel that Gaul was probably charged up with a large dose of amphetamines and they gave him the ability to ride through the frozen horror of the Bondone ascent. He was taken indoors where it was 10 minutes before he opened his eyes. His response after being told once again that he was the maglia rosa? He started swearing and rued the day he had first mounted a bike.
In those few final kilometers Charly Gaul had gone from the middle of the standings to being the new Pink Jersey.

Charly Gaul

Charly Gaul on the Bondone

Fiorenzo Magni, riding with both a broken collarbone and humerus, finished third that fateful day in the Dolomites, 12 minutes 15 seconds behind Gaul. But it was enough to elevate him to second place overall.

About that day in frozen Hell, Magni said, It snowed the whole day and it was very cold; I had not noticed how much. Along the way I saw many bikes parked next to bars and I asked what was going on. They told me that most of the peloton froze and had to quit. Then, before reaching Trent I saw the Pink Jersey quitting too! ‘What?? Am I seeing things?’ I wondered. If I were the Pink Jersey I would have continued, even if I had to walk, but I would never abandon!
“When we were in Trent my team car came up to me and said I was third. ‘Third!?!,’ I wondered again. I was third that day and became second in the GC.
“Actually, I thought about attacking Charly Gaul in the following stages and trying to win my fourth Giro. I tried attacking him a couple of times during the last two stages, but he was too strong.”

You can’t help admiring a man who just won’t quit. Even with the intense pain of two broken bones, through rain and snow Magni was still trying to win the Giro after nearly everyone else had either given up or just plain gone home.
Gaul had won his first Grand Tour in spectacular style.

The winner and his team

Charly Gaul (center) and his team

Final 1956 Giro d’Italia General Classification
1. Charly Gaul (International-Faema) 101 hours 39 minutes 49 seconds
2. Fiorenzo Magni (Nivea-Fuchs) @ 3 minutes 27seconds
3. Agostino Coletto (Frejus) @ 6 minutes 53 seconds
4. Cleto Maule (Torpado) @ 7 minutes 25 seconds
5. Aldo Moser (Torpado) @ 7 minutes 30 seconds

Climbers’ Competition: There were three separate mountain prizes.
Dolomites: Charly Gaul (International-Faema)
Apennines: Federico Bahamontes (Spain-Girardengo-ICEP)
Stelvio: Aurelio Del Rio (Ignis-Varese)


Video of the 1956 Giro d'Italia including Charly Gaul's climb of Monte Bondone