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1968 Giro d'Italia

51st edition: May 21 - June 12

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

1967 Giro | 1969 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1968 Giro Quick Facts | 1968 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | The Story of the 1968 Giro d'Italia | Video |


1968 Giro Quick Facts:

3,917 km ridden at an average speed of 36.03 km/hr.

130 starters, 90 classified finishers.

This was the first Giro to test for drugs, with 8 confirmed positives.

This was also the first Giro to have a prologue time trial.

Eddy Merckx, the world road champion, took the lead the lead in stage 12 with an incredible ride ascending Tre Cime di Lavaredo. No one was in Merckx's class as he won his first Grand Tour.


1968 Giro d'Italia Final General Classification:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Faema) 108hr 42min 27sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni (Faema) @ 5min 1sec
  3. Felice Gimondi (Salvarani) @ 9min 5sec
  4. Italo Zilioli (Filotex) @ 9min 17sec
  5. Willy Van Neste (Bic) @ 10min 43sec
  6. Michele Dancelli (Pepsi Cola) @ 12min 33sec
  7. Franco Balmamion (Molteni) @ 15min 43sec
  8. Francisco Gabica (Fagor) @ 16min 59sec
  9. Franco Bitossi (Filotex) @ 19min 2sec
  10. Julio Jiménez (Bic) @ 19min 51sec
  11. Eusebio Velez (Fagor) @ 28min 58sec
  12. Adriano Passuello (Filotex) @ 36min 49sec
  13. Silvano Schiavon (Pepsi Cola) @ 37min 35sec
  14. Louis Pfenniger (G.B.C.) @ 46min 49sec
  15. Vito Taccone (Germanvox) @ 49min 25sec
  16. Luis-Pedro Santamarina (Fagor) @ 54min 26sec
  17. Cees Haast (Bic) @ 55min 26sec
  18. Lino Farisato (Faema) @ 57min 32sec
  19. Renato Laghi (Germanvox) @ 59min 14sec
  20. Claudio Michelotto (Max Meyer) @ 1hr 0min 31sec
  21. Edy Schutz (Molteni) @ 1hr 1min 14sec
  22. Luciano Armani (Faema) @ 1hr 1min 19sec
  23. Serge Bolley (Bic) @ 1hr 11min 44sec
  24. Karl-Heinz Kunde (Kelvinator) @ 1hr 12min 53sec
  25. Roger Swerts (Faema) @ 1hr 17min 15sec
  26. Flaviano Vicentini (Filotex) @ 1hr 18min 34sec
  27. Roberto Ballini (Max Meyer) @ 1hr 18min 44sec
  28. Jean Dumont (Peugeot) @ 1hr 21min 27sec
  29. Imerio Massignan (Pepsi Cola) @ 1hr 22min 59sec
  30. Giovanni De Franceschi (Pepsi Cola) @ 1hr 26min 5sec
  31. Luigi Sgarbozza (Max Meyer) @ 1hr 28min 1sec
  32. Luis Ocaña (Fagor) @ 1hr 29min 2sec
  33. Ugo Colombo (Filotex) @ 1hr 31min 43sec
  34. Jean-Claude Theilliere (Bic) @ 1hr 32min 54sec
  35. Rolf Maurer (G.B.C.) @ 1hr 32min 55sec
  36. Giancarlo Polidori (Pepsi Cola) @ 1hr 37min 0sec
  37. Albano Negro (Kelvinator) @ 1hr 43min 27sec
  38. Attilio Benfatto (Kelvinator) @ 1hr 45min 8sec
  39. Gines Garcia (Fagor) @ 1hr 45min 20sec
  40. José-Maria Errandonea (Fagor) @ 1hr 47min 49sec
  41. Giuseppe Milioli (Germanvox) @ 1hr 49min 36sec
  42. Joseph Spruyt (Faema) @ 1hr 51min 23sec
  43. Giancarlo Ferretti (Salvarani) @ 1hr 52min 12sec
  44. Giampaolo Cucchietti (Max Meyer) @ 1hr 54min 50sec
  45. Auguste Girard (G.B.C.) @ 1hr 56min 3sec
  46. Lino Carletto (Salvarani) @ 1hr 59min 44sec
  47. Georges Vandenberghe (Smith's) @ 2hr 1min 6sec
  48. Lorenzo Carminati (Germanvox) @ 2hr 2min 16sec
  49. Ole Ritter (Germanvox) @ 2hr 2min 46sec
  50. Wilfried Peffgen (Salvarani) @ 2hr 4min 16sec
  51. Guido Neri (Max Meyer) @ 2hr 10min 4sec
  52. Guido Reybrouck (Faema) @ 2hr 14min 18sec
  53. Tommaso De Pra (Salvarani) @ 2hr 14min 20sec
  54. Marino Basso (Molteni) @ 2h 14min 25sec
  55. Giuseppe Fezzardi (Molteni) @ 2hr 15min 4sec
  56. Alberto Della Torre (Filotex) @ 2hr 17min 55sec
  57. Henri Rabaute (Peugeot) @ 2hr 18min 36sec
  58. Emilio Casalini (Faema) @ 2hr 18min 45sec
  59. Bruno Fantinato (Max Meyer) @ 2hr 19min 18sec
  60. Renzo Baldan (Pepsi Cola) @ 2hr 22min 36sec
  61. Mario Mancini (Kelvinator) @ 2hr 25min 21sec
  62. Antonio Albonetti (Salvarani) @ 2hr 26min 23sec
  63. Charly Grosskost (Bic) @ 2hr 26min 44sec
  64. Roland Berland (Bic) @ 2hr 28min 4sec
  65. Daminiano Capodivento (G.B.C.)@ 2hr 30min 26sec
  66. Carlo Chiappano (Salvarani) @ 2hr 32min 39sec
  67. Eraldo Bocci (Germanvox) @ 2hr 33min 59sec
  68. Rem Stefanoni (Max Meyer) @ 2hr 34min 38sec
  69. Mario Anni (Molteni) @ 2hr 35min 17sec
  70. Pierre Ghisellini (Bic) @ 2hr 36min 8sec
  71. Vincenzo Mantovani (Germanvox) @ 2hr 37min 37sec
  72. Adriano Durante (Max Meyer) @ 2hr 41min 20sec
  73. Pietro Campagnari (Molteni) @ 2hr 44min 17sec
  74. Aldo Pifferi (Pepsi Cola) @ 2hr 46min 29sec
  75. Bernard Vifian (G.B.C.) @ 2hr 46min 48sec
  76. Daniel Samy (Peugeot) @ 2hr 49min 5sec
  77. Karl Brand (Pepsi Cola) @ 2hr 52min 5sec
  78. Vittorio Chiarini (Filotex) @ 2hr 54min 24sec
  79. Francis Blanc (Molteni) @ 3hr 2min 32sec
  80. Luciano Galbo (Max Meyer) @ 3hr 5min 12sec
  81. Giuseppe Grassi (Filotex) @ 3hr 8min 46sec
  82. Luciano Dalla Bona (Salvarani) @ 3hr 16min 49sec
  83. Giorgio Destro (G.B.C.) @ 3hr 17min 0sec
  84. René Grenier (Peugeot) @ 3hr 22min 36sec
  85. Roland Van de Rijse (Smith's) @ 3hr 24min 24sec
  86. Lucillo Lievore (Kelvinator) @ 3hr 26min 56sec
  87. Vic Denson (Kelvinator) @ 3hr 28min 41sec
  88. Domenico Mazzanti (G.B.C.) @ 3hr 33min 55sec
  89. Gilles Locatelli (Bic) @ 3hr 43min 4sec
  90. Giuseppe Poli (G.B.C) @ 3hr 43min 58sec

Climbers' Competition:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Faema): 340 points
  2. Julio Jiménez (Bic): 180
  3. Gancarlo Polidori (Pepsi Cola), Joaquín Galera (Fagor): 140
  4. Franco Bitossi (Filotex): 90

Points Competition:

  1. Eddy Merckx (Faema): 198 points
  2. Franco Bitossi (Filotex): 138
  3. Michele Dancelli (Pepsi Cola): 134
  4. Marino Basso (Molteni): 122
  5. Guido Reybrouck (Faema): 115

Team Classification: Faema

Note: Gianni Motta, who was fifth in GC and fourth in points was subsequently disqualified for doping.

Other riders with doping positives in the 1968 Giro: Raymond Delisle, Peter Abt, Franco Bodrero, Franco Balmamion (cleared), Victor van Schil, Felice Gimondi (cleared), Mariano Diaz, Mariano di Toro (refused test).


1968 Giro stage results with running GC:

Tuesday, May 21: Stage 1, Campione d'Italia - Novara, 128 km

  1. Eddy Merckx: 2hr 58min 56sec
  2. Marino Basso @ 6sec
  3. Guido Reybrouck s.t.
  4. Aldo Pifferi s.t.
  5. Edouard Sels s.t.
  6. Georges Vandenberghe s.t.
  7. Giorgio Destro s.t.
  8. Gianni Motta s.t.
  9. Vito Taccone s.t.
  10. Jean-Baptiste Claes s.t.

Wednesday, May 22: Stage 2, Novara - St. Vincent, 189 km

Major ascent: Joux

  1. Gianni Motta: 5hr 2min 12sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1sec
  3. Rolf Maurer s.t.
  4. Willy Van Neste @ 2sec
  5. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  6. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  7. Felice Gimondi @ 3sec
  8. Cees Haast s.t.
  9. Italo Zilioli s.t.
  10. Jean-Claude Theilliere @ 4sec

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 8hr 1min 8sec
  2. Gianni Motta @ 6sec
  3. Rolf Maurer @ 7sec
  4. Willy Van Neste, Michele Dancelli, Raymond Delisle @ 8sec
  5. Felice Gimondi, Cees Haast, Italo Zilioli @ 9sec
  6. Jean-Claude Theilliere, Désiré Letort, Adriano Passuello, Julio Jiménez @ 10sec

Thursday, May 23: Stage 3, St. Vincent - Alba, 168 km

  1. Guido Reybrouck: 3hr 51min 50sec
  2. Marino Basso s.t.
  3. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  4. Alberto Della Torre @ 2sec
  5. Pietro Campagnari @ 23sec
  6. Renzo Baldan @ 28sec
  7. Albert Van Vlierberghe @ 1min 55sec
  8. Giuseppe Milioli s.t.
  9. Roberto Ballani s.t.
  10. Giancarlo Cucchietti @ 1min 58sec

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 11hr 53min 6sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 4min 3sec
  3. Gianni Motta @ 4min 9sec
  4. Rolf Maurer @ 4min 10sec
  5. Willy Van Neste, Raymond Delisle @ 4min 11sec
  6. Felice Gimondi, Cees Hast, Italo Zilioli @ 4min 12sec
  7. Julio Jiménez, Jean-Claude Theilliere, Adriano Passuello, Désiré Letort @ 4min 13sec

Friday, May 24: Stage 4, Alba - San Remo, 162 km

Major ascent: Nava

  1. Edouard Sels: 4hr 8min 41sec
  2. Guido Reybrouck s.t.
  3. Marino Basso s.t.
  4. Rudi Altig s.t.
  5. Gianni Motta s.t.
  6. Franoc Bitossi s.t.
  7. Vito Taccone s.t.
  8. Martin Vandenbossche s.t.
  9. José Lopez-Rodriguez s.t.
  10. Wilfried Peffgen s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Michele Danelli: 16hr 1min 47sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 4min 3sec
  3. Gianni Motta @ 4min 9sec
  4. Rolf Maurer @ 4min 10sec
  5. Willy Van Neste, Raymond Delisle @ 4min 11sec
  6. Felice Gimondi, Cees Haast, Italo Zilioli @ 4min 12sec
  7. Julio Jiménez, Jean-Claude Theilliere, Désiré Letort, Adriano Passuello @ 4min 13sec

Saturday, May 25: Stage 5, San Remo circuit, 149 km

Major ascent: Ghimbegna

  1. Italo Zilioli: 4hr 27min 42sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 4sec
  3. Vittorio Adorni @ 2min 12sec
  4. Gianni Motta s.t.
  5. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  6. Claudio Michelotto s.t.
  7. Franco Balmamion s.t.
  8. Francisco Gabica s.t.
  9. Eudebio Velez s.t.
  10. Felice Gimondi s.t.

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 20hr 31min 41sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 55sec
  3. Italo Zilioli @ 2min 0sec
  4. Gianni Motta @ 4min 9sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 12sec
  6. Julio Jiménez, Désiré Letort @ 4min 13sec
  7. Francisco Gabica, Eusebio Velez, Franco Balmamion @ 4min 15sec

Sunday, May 26: Stage 6, San Remo - Alessandria, 223 km

Major ascent: Colle del Giovo

  1. José Momeme: 5hr 53min 7sec
  2. Charly Grosskost s.t.
  3. Frans Brands s.t.
  4. Giuseppe Grassi s.t.
  5. Carlo Brunetti @ 1sec
  6. Willy Planckaert @ 8sec
  7. Gianni Motta s.t.
  8. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  9. Guido Neri s.t.
  10. Adriano Durante s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 26hr 24min 56sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 55sec
  3. Italo Zilioli @ 2min 0sec
  4. Gianni Motta @ 4min 9sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 12sec
  6. Julio Jiménez, Désiré Letort @ 4min 13sec
  7. Francisco Gabica, Eusebio Velez, Franco Balmamion @ 4min 15sec

Monday, May 27: Stage 7, Alessandria - Piacenza, 170 km

Major ascent: Penice

  1. Guerrino Tosello: 4hr 26min 3sec
  2. Adriano Durante s.t.
  3. Lorenzo Carminati s.t.
  4. Luciano Lievore s.t.
  5. Franco Bodrero s.t.
  6. Luciano Armani s.t.
  7. Jean Ghisellini s.t.
  8. Francisco Garcia s.t.
  9. Joaquim Galera s.t.
  10. Giuseppe Poli @ 3sec

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 30hr 52min 26sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 55sec
  3. Italo Zilioli @ 2min 0sec
  4. Gianni Motta @ 4min 9sec
  5. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 12sec
  6. Julio Jiménez, Désiré Letort @ 4min 13sec
  7. Francisco Gabica, Eusebio Velez, Franco Balmamion @ 4min 15sec

Tuesday, May 28: Stage 8: San Giorgio Piacentino - Brescia, 225 km

Major ascent: Brescia Monte Maddalena

  1. Eddy Merckx: 6hr 28min 37sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 8sec
  3. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  4. Désiré Letort s.t.
  5. Francisco Gabica s.t.
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 48sec
  7. Franco Bitossi s.t.
  8. Martin Vandenbossche s.t.
  9. Gianni Motta s.t.
  10. Eusebio Velez s.t.

GC afer Stage 8:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 37hr 21min 41sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 47sec
  3. Italo Zilioli @ 2min 40sec
  4. Désiré Letort @ 4min 13sec
  5. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 17sec
  6. Gianni Motta @ 4min 29sec
  7. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 32sec
  8. Julio Jiménez @ 4min 53sec
  9. Francisco Gabica, Eusebio Velez @ 4min 55sec

Wednesday, May 29: Stage 9, Brescia - Lago di Caldonazzo, 210 km

Major ascents: Bondone, Vetriolo

  1. Julio Jiménez: 6hr 40min 28sec
  2. Michele Dancelli @ 2min 3sec
  3. Felice Gimondi s.t.
  4. Eddy Merckx s.t.
  5. Willy Van Neste s.t.
  6. Vittorio Adorni s.t.
  7. Italo Zilioli @ 3min 6sec
  8. Silvano Schiavon @ 3min 7sec
  9. Raymond Delisle @ 5min 20sec
  10. Franco Balmamion s.t.

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 44hr 4min 12sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 47sec
  3. Julio Jiménez @ 2min 50sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 3min 43sec
  5. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 17sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 52sec
  7. Willy Van Neste @ 6min 27sec
  8. Gianni Motta @ 8min 8sec
  9. Franco Balmamion @ 9min 6sec
  10. Francisco Gabica @ 11min 31sec

Thursday, May 30: Stage 10, Trento - Monte Grappa, 136 km

Major ascents: Sommo, Monte Grappa

  1. Emilio Casalini: 4hr 20min 3sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 46sec
  3. Francisco Gabica @ 51sec
  4. Felice Gimondi @ 59sec
  5. Italo Zilioli s.t.
  6. Joaquim Galera @ 1min 1sec
  7. Michele Dancelli @ 1min 4sec
  8. Julio Jiménez s.t.
  9. Désiré Letort @ 1min 11sec
  10. Edy Schutz s.t.

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 48hr 25min 19sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 29sec
  3. Julio Jiménez @ 2min 50sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 3min 38sec
  5. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 24sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 47sec
  7. Willy Van Neste @ 6min 34sec
  8. Gianni Motta @ 8min 20sec
  9. Franco Balmamion @ 9min 13sec
  10. Francisco Gabica @ 11min 18sec

Friday, May 31: Stage 11, Bassano del Grappa - Trieste, 197 km

  1. Guido Reybrouck: 5hr 7min 30sec
  2. Eduoard Sels s.t.
  3. Georges Vandenberghe s.t.
  4. Marino Basso s.t.
  5. Giorgio Destro s.t.
  6. Guido Neri s.t.
  7. Guido Pifferi s.t.
  8. Vito Taccone s.t.
  9. Willy Planckaert s.t.
  10. Michele Dancelli s.t.

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Michele Dancelli: 53hr 32min 49sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 29sec
  3. Julio Jiménez @ 2min 50sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 3min 38sec
  5. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 24sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 4min 47sec
  7. Willy Van Neste @ 6min 34sec
  8. Gianni Motta @ 8min 20sec
  9. Franco Balmamion @ 9min 13sec
  10. Francisco Gabica @ 11min 18sec

Saturday, June 1: Stage 12, Gorizia - Tre Cime di Lavaredo, 213 km

Major ascent: Tre Cime di Lavaredo

  1. Eddy Merckx: 6hr 20min 20sec
  2. Giancarlo Polidori @ 40sec
  3. Vittorio Adorni @ 54sec
  4. Joaquim Galera @ 1min 4sec
  5. Luciano Armani @ 1min 27sec
  6. Mario Anni @ 1min 33sec
  7. Franco Bitossi @ 1min 57sec
  8. Attilio Benfatto @ 2min 15sec
  9. Giorgio Favero @ 2min 30sec
  10. Willy Van Neste @ 2min 57sec

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 59hr 54min 41sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 3min 43sec
  3. Michele Dancelli @ 5min 9sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 6min 21sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 7min 56sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 37sec
  7. Julio Jiménez @ 9min 57sec
  8. Gianni Motta @ 10min 59sec
  9. Franco Balmamion @ 11min 35sec
  10. Francisco Gabica @ 13min 20sec

Sunday, June 2: Stage 13, Cortina d'Ampezzo - Vittorio Veneto, 163 km

Major ascents: Nevegal, Bosco del Cansiglio

  1. Lino Farinato: 4hr 34min 33sec
  2. Rudi Altig @ 3min 44sec
  3. Willy Planckaert @ 6min 7sec
  4. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  5. Edouard Sels s.t.
  6. Martin Vandenbossche s.t.
  7. Franco Bitossi s.t.
  8. Willy Van Neste s.t.
  9. Bruno Fantinato s.t.
  10. Vito Taccone s.t.

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 64hr 35min 24sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 3min 43sec
  3. Michele Dancelli @ 5min 9sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 6min 21sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 7min 56sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 37sec
  7. Julio Jiménez @ 9min 57sec
  8. Gianni Motta @ 10min 59sec
  9. Franco Balmamion @ 11min 35sec
  10. Francisco Gabica @ 13min 20sec

Monday, June 3: Stage 14, Vittorio Veneto - Marina Romea, 194 km

  1. Luigi Sgarbozza: 4hr 39min 25sec
  2. Wilfried Peffgen s.t.
  3. Giovanni De Francheschi s.t.
  4. Giuseppe Grassi s.t.
  5. Victor Van Schil s.t.
  6. Guido Neri s.t.
  7. Lorenzo Carminati s.t.
  8. Luciano Lievore s.t.
  9. Daminiano Capodivento s.t.
  10. Charly Grosskost s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 69hr 24min 10sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 3min 43sec
  3. Michele Dancelli @ 5min 9sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 6min 21sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 7min 56sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 37sec
  7. Julio Jiménez @ 9min 57sec
  8. Franco Bodrero @ 10min 29sec
  9. Gianni Motta @ 10min 59sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 11min 33sec

Tuesday, June 4: Stage 15, Ravenna - Imola, 141 km

  1. Marino Basso: 3hr 38min 36sec
  2. Franco Bitossi s.t.
  3. Rolf Maurer s.t.
  4. Luigi Casalini @ 7sec
  5. Roger Swerts @ 12sec
  6. Ole Ritter s.t.
  7. Flaviano Vicentini s.t.
  8. Mariano Diaz s.t.
  9. José-Maria Errandonea s.t.
  10. Serge Bolley s.t.

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 73hr 5min 40sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 3min 43sec
  3. Michele Dancelli @ 5min 9sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 6min 21sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 7min 56sec
  6. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 37sec
  7. Franco Bodrero @ 9min 53sec
  8. Julio Jiménez @ 9min 57sec
  9. Gianni Motta @ 10min 59sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 11min 35sec

Wednesday, June 5: Rest Day

Thursday, June 6: Stage 16, Cesenatico - San Marino 51 km individual time trial

  1. Felice Gimondi: 1hr 14min 47sec
  2. Eddy Merckx @ 39sec
  3. Ole Ritter @ 1min 0sec
  4. Vittorio Adorni @ 1min 45sec
  5. Gianni Motta @ 2min 2sec
  6. Rudi Altig @ 2min 14sec
  7. Francisco Gabica @ 3min 9sec
  8. Willy Van Neste @ 3min 10sec
  9. Italo Zilioli @ 3min 28sec
  10. Eusebio Velez @ 3min 54sec

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 74hr 21min 6sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 49sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 8min 58sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 9min 10sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 10min 27sec
  6. Gianni Motta @ 12min 22sec
  7. Michele Dancelli @ 12min 24sec
  8. Julio Jiménez @ 13min 23sec
  9. Franco Bodrero @ 14min 36sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 15min 29sec

Friday, June 7: Stage 17, San Marino - Foligno, 196 km

  1. Franco Bitossi: 4hr 42min 26sec
  2. Edouard Sels s.t.
  3. Francisco Garcia @ 2sec
  4. Roger Swerts @ 39sec
  5. Raymond Delisle s.t.
  6. Roberto Poggiali s.t.
  7. Aldo Pifferi @ 49sec
  8. Marino Basso s.t.
  9. Georges Vandenberghe s.t.
  10. Michele Dancelli s.t.

GC after stage 17:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 79hr 4min 21sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 49sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 8min 58sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 9min 10sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 10min 27sec
  6. Gianni Motta @ 12min 22sec
  7. Michele Dancelli @ 12min 24sec
  8. Julio Jiménez @ 13min 23sec
  9. Franco Bodrero @ 14min 38sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 15min 29sec

Saturday, June 8: Stage 18, Foligno - Abbadia San Salvatore, 181 km

Major ascent: Amiata

  1. Julio Jiménez: 4hr 54min 26sec
  2. Mariano Diaz s.t.
  3. Flaviano Vicentini @ 1min 41sec
  4. Claudio Michelotto @ 1min 42sec
  5. André Bayssière s.t.
  6. Luis-Pedro Santamarina @ 1min 44sec
  7. Gianni Motta s.t.
  8. Franco Bitossi @ 1min 47sec
  9. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 48sec
  10. Felice Gimondi s.t.

GC after Stage 18:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 84hr 0min 35sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 49sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 8min 58sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 9min 10sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 10min 27sec
  6. Julio Jiménez @ 11min 35sec
  7. Gianni Motta @ 12min 18sec
  8. Michele Dancelli @ 12min 24sec
  9. Franco Bodrero @ 14min 57sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 15min 29sec

Sunday, June 9: Stage 19, Abbadia San Salvatore - Roma, 181 km

  1. Luciano Dalla Bona: 4hr 25min 6sec
  2. Luis Ocaña s.t.
  3. Giuseppe Milioli @ 1sec
  4. Francisco Garcia @ 2sec
  5. Marino Basso @ 3min 50sec
  6. Attilio Benfatto s.t.
  7. Michele Dancelli s.t.
  8. Aldo Pifferi s.t.
  9. Luigi Sgarbozza s.t.
  10. Bruno Fantinato s.t.

GC after Stage 19:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 88hr 29min 31sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 49sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 8min 38sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 9min 10sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 10min 27sec
  6. Julio Jiménez @ 11min 35sec
  7. Gianni Motta @ 12min 18sec
  8. Michele Dancelli @ 12min 24sec
  9. Franco Bodrero @ 14min 57sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 15min 29sec

Monday, June 10: Stage 20: Roma - Rocca di Cambio, 215 km

Major ascents: Corno, Rocca di Cambio

  1. Luis-Pedro Santamarina: 6hr 23min 6sec
  2. Franco Bitossi @ 6min 18sec
  3. Vito Taccone s.t.
  4. Giancarlo Polidori s.t.
  5. Roger Swerts s.t.
  6. Edy Schutz @ 6min 20sec
  7. Mariano Diaz s.t.
  8. Joaquim Galera s.t.
  9. Louis Pfenninger @ 6min 24sec
  10. Désiré Letort s.t.

GC after Stage 20

  1. Eddy Merckx: 95hr 0min 10sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 4min 52sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 1sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 9min 13sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 10min 30sec
  6. Julio Jiménez @ 11min 38sec
  7. Gianni Motta @ 12min 21sec
  8. Michele Dancelli @ 12min 24sec
  9. Franco Bodrero @ 15min 0sec
  10. Franco Balmamion @ 15min 32sec

Tuesday, June 11: Stage 21: Rocca di Cambia - Block Haus, 198 km

Major ascents: Caruso, Giove, Block Haus

  1. Franco Bodrero: 6hr 14min 5sec
  2. Franco Bitossi s.t.
  3. Silvano Schiavon @ 10sec
  4. Luis Ocaña @ 13sec
  5. Auguste Girard @ 14sec
  6. Giancarlo Polidori @ 1min 17sec
  7. Eddy Merckx @ 1min 27sec
  8. Gianni Motta @ 1min 29sec
  9. Italo Zilioli @ 1min 31sec
  10. Felice Gimondi s.t.

GC after Stage 21:

  1. Eddy Merckx: 101hr 15min 42sec
  2. Vittorio Adorni @ 5min 1sec
  3. Felice Gimondi @ 9min 5sec
  4. Italo Zilioli @ 9min 17sec
  5. Willy Van Neste @ 10min 43sec
  6. Julio Jiménez @ 12min 0sec
  7. Gianni Motta @ 12min 23sec
  8. Michele Dancelli, Franco Bodrero @ 12min 33sec
  9. Franco Balmamion @ 15min 43sec

Wednesday, June 12: 22nd and Final Stage, Chieti - Napoli, 235 km

  1. Guido Reybrouck: 7hr 23min 10sec
  2. Georges Vandenberghe s.t.
  3. Vincenzo Mantovani s.t.
  4. Adriano Durante s.t.
  5. Vito Taccone s.t.
  6. Luciano Armani s.t.
  7. Tommaso De Prà @ 44sec
  8. Attilio Benfatto @ 3min 21sec
  9. Antonio Albonetti @ 3min 22sec
  10. Roberto Ballini s.t.

Complete Final 1968 Giro d'Italia General Classification


The Story of the 1968 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.

 By the mid-1960s doping and cycling had become inextricably intertwined. At one race Nencini needed help chasing down a break, so he openly handed out drugs from his jersey pocket to his fellow riders. It was just part of the job.

Amphetamines were the era’s performance-enhancers of choice. But there were other ways to go faster. We know that Gastone Nencini practiced autologous blood doping, reinjecting his own saved blood to increase his red blood corpuscle supply. It is thought since tests are now available for most chemical performance enhancers, modern endurance athletes have, with some sophisticated modifications, gone back to this tried and true method.

Racers in the 1960s took other drugs as well, solucamphre to improve breathing (now they get a doctor’s prescription for asthma medicine; it seems a surprising number of the world’s finest endurance athletes are asthmatics who can barely breathe), even caffeine suppositories. It may be that by this time riders were already using steroids. They were available, but one cannot know for sure. This is not a period for which there is a lot of documentation about drug use because, while the riders did not think they were doing anything more than they needed to do their job, they generally kept the entire subject their little secret.
But the times were changing. The days of Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil making no bones about their drug use, though not bragging about it either, were rapidly coming to an end.

Replacing this badly kept secrecy was a code of silence, a mafia-like omertà that nearly all members of the cycle racing business honored. The riders kept discussion of drug use off the table not only while they were racing, but during their entire lives. Journalists who asked about drugs soon found themselves without access to the riders. It was and is an eerie thing, the riders demanding the right to cheat each other by performing extraordinary abuse to their bodies and (if my feelings about Charly Gaul and a couple of other retired racers are correct) their minds.

There had been several shocking episodes of drug overdose by riders. In the 1955 Tour, Jean Malléjac had collapsed on Mont Ventoux with one foot still strapped in the pedal, convulsively pedaling the immobile bike. Roger Rivière crashed out of the 1960 Tour when he tried to follow Gastone Nencini down a mountain. It turned out that he had taken a combination of amphetamines and painkillers (riders took opiates to deaden the pain in their muscles) that made it impossible for him to feel his brake levers and correctly modulate his speed. Later that year Dane Knut Jensen died during the Olympic road race in Rome. He was known to have used a combination of amphetamines and nicotinyl alcohol.

Starting in 1964, laws against doping in sport were passed in Europe with Belgium being the first. In 1966 The Tour began rudimentary testing for drugs.
In the 1967 Tour another rider tragically collapsed, again on Mont Ventoux. Under a baking sun, British racer Tom Simpson fell from his bike while suffering from acute dehydration caused by diarrhea, an overdose of amphetamines synergized by brandy and exacerbated by the race organizers’ refusal to make water readily available. Simpson died, the drugs having overridden his body’s screaming signals that it was in crisis.

Two other riders in our story also broke down and came close to suffering Simpson’s fate: Arie Den Hartog, and Anquetil’s friend and domestique, Lucien Aimar. This was a deadly business and it had to be brought under some level of control.

The riders fought dope testing and clean-riding rules then, and many still do, albeit with less openness and decreasing effectiveness. Back then there were occasional strikes including one at the 1966 Tour. Anquetil was among the most forceful and visible opponents of dope testing. At the 1966 World Championship (won by a Motta-aided Altig, remember?) the riders refused to give urine samples, daring the UCI to strip them of their results. The UCI folded and Altig is still on record as the 1966 Road Champion. The sport clearly had and has a long way to go.

Finally, in 1968 the Giro announced that it would begin testing riders for drugs.
The day before winning the 1967 World Championship, Merckx signed with the Italian Faema squad, leaving notoriously tight-fisted Peugeot. At Faema he blossomed under the direction of Giacotto with his well-funded organization. Merckx’s diet was changed. He lost weight, which vastly improved his climbing. He learned how to train properly. Until he was recruited by Faema he had never attended a pre-season training camp. The raw talent that could already win almost any single-day race was honed into a powerful racing machine capable of not just winning, but dominating stage races.

Faema, being an Italian sponsor, wanted Merckx in the Giro and at that time had little interest in the Tour. So the Giro it was for the man who that spring had already knocked off the Tour of Sardinia, Paris–Roubaix and the Tour of Romandie. Faema had assembled a group of superb athletes to support Merckx: Adorni, Roger Swerts, Guido Reybrouck and the tallest rider in the pro peloton, Martin van den Bossche.

Filling out the field were 1968’s Vuelta winner Gimondi (with Altig on his team), Jiménez, Luis Ocaña, Zilioli, Bitossi, Balmamion, Motta, Pingeon, Dancelli and Gabica. Again, it was an excellent international field.

The Giro adopted its first prologue individual time trial, 5.7 kilometers at Campione d’Italia, a little enclave of Italian territory in Switzerland across the lake from Lugano. It was an unusual format with the 130 starters racing in 10 groups of 13 riders and the best of the winners of these 10 groups was declared the stage winner. Charly Grosskost got to wear the year’s first Pink Jersey, though the day’s efforts did not count towards the General Classification.
The first road stage left from Campione d’Italia. Merckx was first in to Novara with Marino Basso leading in the rest of the peloton six seconds later.
The next day was won by Motta, just a second ahead of Merckx, and added a sad chapter in the Giro’s history. Three riders were later found positive for dope: Motta, Raymond Delisle and Peter Abt. Testing at this time was still primitive and given the era’s near universal use of drugs, finding just three competitors with banned drugs in their systems does give truth to the riders’ charge that the tests were unfair, unreliable and capricious. It was obvious that many other riders were getting away with using drugs. But the testing had to start somewhere.

Eddy Merckx

Eddy Merckx wins stage two in Novara.

Dancelli was part of stage three’s fuga di bidone. The escapees gained more than four minutes on a unified pack, giving the Pepsi rider a solid lead of 4 minutes 3 seconds over Merckx when the riders arrived in the Piedmont town of Alba.

In 1964, suspicions that Merckx had heart problems nearly kept him from riding the World Amateur Road Championship at Sallanches, which he won. Now, four years later Faema team doctor Enrico Peracino, who had been working with Giacotto since the Carpano days, found that Merckx suffered from a non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a potentially dangerous thickening of the heart muscle that occasionally kills young athletes. Worried, Peracino brought in a cardiologist to look at Merckx that evening in the hotel at Alba. To keep from scaring young Eddy, both Merckx and his roommate Adorni were given electrocardiograms. The cardiologist decided to keep an eye on Merckx that evening and retest him in the morning. Still deeply worried, he nonetheless decided to let Merckx continue racing. As I write this in 2010, Merckx has enjoyed his 65th birthday.

The next day’s stage ended in San Remo and the mass spectrograph caught another rider, this time Molteni rider Franco Bodrero.

Stage five raced a tough circuit that went over the Ghimbegna pass in the mountains behind San Remo. Zilioli and Merckx broke away, hammering out a two-minute gap over the Dancelli/Adorni/Gimondi chase group. Dancelli was still in pink, but Merckx had halved his deficit, now at 1 minute 55 seconds, while Zilioli was third, just 5 seconds off Merckx’s pace.

The peloton was starting to get a feel for the sort of tyrannical dominance that Merckx would be imposing upon European racing over the next seven years. He won stage eight into Bréscia with teammate Adorni leading in Dancelli eight seconds later. Along with Motta and Zilioli, Gimondi, who was determined to fight the Belgian tooth and nail, lost 48 seconds. They were to learn that time given up to Merckx was retrieved only with great difficulty, if at all.
Adorni said his job was to guide and advise the young Belgian in his first serious attempt to win a Grand Tour (he had also been a valuable teacher to Gimondi in 1965). Merckx later confirmed that Adorni was a valuable advisor, saying that, “…he taught me in that year’s Giro how you should go about tackling a major stage race. In the area of feeding is where he taught me so much. He passed on all sorts of seemingly minor things which, however, were to have a great bearing on the final classification.”

Into the mountains they went with stage ten finishing atop Monte Grappa. Emilio Casalini, a rider on Merckx’s Faema squad whom Adorni describes as just a modest gregario, escaped and managed to solo across the line 46 seconds ahead of a frowning, sullen Merckx. Merckx was out of sorts because someone else had grabbed a crumb that might have been his. Gimondi came in thirteen seconds later and Dancelli, really riding well, was five seconds behind them. Dancelli’s lead was down to a minute and a half.

That lead would get a hard test in stage twelve with its finish atop the 2,320-meter-high Tre Cime di Lavaredo, where bad weather was forecast for the day.
Partway through the stage, twelve riders escaped and gained a nine-minute advantage. Merckx finally decided to react and went after them with Willy van Neste. Merckx had mechanical trouble and had to change bikes while van Neste went on ahead. Merckx soon overtook van Neste.

Through cold rain and snow (one journalist called the conditions “Dantesque”), clad in a short-sleeve rainbow jersey, wool cap, thick gloves and shorts, Merckx plowed ahead, catching and dropping the break that started the climb with a nine-minute lead. He went on alone to win at the top of Tre Cime di Lavaredo by 40 seconds over Giancarlo Polidori, the only survivor of the initial break, and 54 seconds over third-place Adorni. Further down the mountain there were those who couldn’t take the bitter cold and became little more than pedaling zombies.

The ease with which he ascended the day’s stiff slopes left his competitors shaking their heads in disbelief. One newspaper writer said Merckx had “climbed like a pursuiter”. He had left Motta and Zilioli more than four minutes behind while Gimondi conceded 6 minutes 25 seconds. Merckx later wrote that he rated the 1968 Tre Cime di Lavaredo stage win as his best-ever day in the mountains and one of the three greatest points of his career along with his 1969 Tour de France victory and gaining the World Hour Record.

For Gimondi the day was pure misery. He finished the stage in tears, more than six minutes behind the Belgian bulldozer. He was crying not because he did badly in a race, he said that is to be expected in sport. But people from his hometown had traveled to watch him and he felt he let them down.

Merckx was now the maglia rosa.
1. Eddy Merckx
2. Vittorio Adorni @ 3 minutes 43 seconds
3. Michele Dancelli @ 5 minutes 9 seconds
4. Italo Zilioli @ 6 minutes 21 seconds
5. Willy van Neste @ 7 minutes 56 seconds
6. Felice Gimondi @ 9 minutes 37 seconds

The next day had the last of the Dolomites, to no effect upon the standings. But in Vittorio Veneto where the stage ended, Franco Balmamion came up positive for dope.

Heading south for its finish in Naples, the Giro stopped at San Marino for a 43.9-kilometer time trial. Gimondi shot up the mountain, beating Merckx by 39 seconds, even catching and passing Motta on the way. The tifosi were thrilled with a clean win by an Italian over the dominant Belgian. The effect of the stage was to further tighten Merckx’s iron-clad grip on the maglia rosa and move Gimondi up to third place. Stopping at Rome for the nineteenth stage, Victor van Schil and Joaquin Galera left urine samples that got them disqualified from the race.

Eddy Merckx

Merckx in action

That left only the twenty-first stage with its finish at Block Haus as a possible impediment to Merckx’s triumph. Franco Bodrero won the stage, the organizers not yet knowing that he had been positive for drugs at San Remo. Merckx wasn’t able to repeat his 1967 Block Haus triumph, but he didn’t have to, he finished ahead of all the other contenders. There remained only the stage into Naples, won by Merckx teammate Guido Reybrouck. Merckx became the first Belgian and fifth foreigner (after Koblet, Clerici, Gaul and Anquetil) to win the Giro d’Italia.

Gimondi and Mariano Diaz came up positive after that stage. Along with Mario di Toro’s refusal to give a sample, that made ten riders caught in the Giro’s first attempt to control the pervasive doping that had overwhelmed the sport.

Final 1968 Giro d’Italia General Classification:
1. Eddy Merckx (Faema) 108 hours 42 minutes 27 seconds
2. Vittorio Adorni (Faema) @ 5 minutes 1 second
3. Felice Gimondi (Salvarani) @ 9 minutes 5 seconds
4. Italo Zilioli (Filotex) @ 9 minutes 17 seconds
5. Willy van Neste (Bic) @ 10 minutes 43 seconds

Climbers’ Competition:
1. Eddy Merckx (Faema): 340 points
2. Julio Jimenez (Bic): 180
3. Giancarlo Polidori (Pepsi Cola): 140

Points Competition:
1. Eddy Merckx (Faema): 198 points
2. Franco Bitossi (Filotex): 138
3. Michele Dancelli (Pepsi Cola): 134

Merckx had won all three major classifications: elapsed time, mountains and points. The good God had not sent another Coppi to Italy: He had sent him to Belgium.

Gimondi, who had won the Vuelta that spring, was expected to have been a serious contender for victory in this Giro. But, like the rest of the field, he was, in the words of La Gazzetta, “left reeling” by Merckx’s powerful assault.
Gimondi was outraged by the doping positive and was able to show that the analysis for amphetamine was triggered by his ingestion of Reactivan, a trade name for fencamfamine, a stimulant drug many athletes of the era used for its amphetamine-like effects. Its metabolites could look like those of amphetamines to the drug testing machinery of the time, hence Gimondi’s positive. In 1968 Reactivan was not a banned drug and Gimondi was exonerated.

That September Adorni became the World Road Champion after a brilliant ride at Imola, Italy, leaving second-place Herman van Springel almost ten minutes behind.


It would be worthwhile to take a look at the bikes of the time. Instead of riding the team’s stock bike as supplied by the contracted cycle factory, many top pros would have a skilled custom framebuilder build frames that would then receive the team’s paint and decals. Merckx, for instance started off riding the stock Superia and Peugeot bikes. In his second year with Peugeot, like several riders on the Peugeot squad, Merckx had Milan builder Faliero Masi build his bikes. Merckx has expressed contempt for the Peugeot bikes with their dated design, saying they “rode like dogs”. Later Merckx used Colnago, De Rosa and Kessels to build his frames. There was nothing new here, Coppi had ridden Masi-built frames. And until much later with the emergence of non-ferrous frames, this tradition of using a “framebuilder of trust” continued. Claudio Chiappucci sometimes raced frames built by Antonio Mondonico.
Frames of the era were lugged, double-butted steel with tubing generally produced by Reynolds (Masi’s preference) or Columbus. The frames of the age look flimsy and spidery to today’s eye with their 25mm (about one inch) diameter top tubes and 28mm downtubes.
The groupset of choice was Campagnolo Nuovo Record; with some modifications as it morphed into Super Record it would remain the pros’ preference through the mid-1980s. In 1968 the only component missing from the Campagnolo group was a brake set, which came out the following year.
In the mid-1960s Universal center-pull brakes were the most common but by 1968 most Italian pros had switched to Universal side-pull brakes. Anquetil, being French, used Mafac center-pulls. Center-pulls allowed generous tire clearances yet still gave the rider a powerful set of brakes. As builders moved to tighter frame designs the riders would change to simpler, more precise side-pull brakes.
I counted 36 spokes on the wheels Merckx used in the Tre Cime di Lavaredo stage. By the mid 1970s, as the metallurgy of spokes and rims improved, 32-spoke wheels would become more common.


Italian video about stage 12 and Merckx's win at Tre Cime di Lavaredo