Alfredo Binda Photo Gallery
Alfredo Binda (August 11, 1902 - July 19, 1986) was so good the Giro d'Italia organization paid him the equivalent of the winner's purse to stay away and not suffocate their race with another dominating ride. He was the second rider, after Costante Girardengo, to be named campionissimo,or "Champion of Champions"
Though born in Italy, Binda started racing in southern France, his first big victory being the Mont Chauve hill climb in 1923. There he beat immortals Costante Girardengo, Giovanni Belloni, Alfredo Sivocci and Jean Alavoine. Traveling back to Italy after the race, 1920 Giro winner Belloni was still in shock when he told Girardengo, “You know, Champion, if this man from Varese [Binda] comes to Italy he’ll beat everyone.”
He did come to Italy and he did beat everyone, and soundly at that. He became the first man to win a Grand Tour five times (once taking the lead in the first stage of the Giro and holding it to the end), was three times champion of the world and won several classics.
After having won the Giro d'Italia four times and in commanding fashion, the Giro paid him to stay away. Henri Desgrange had long wanted to have the magnificent Italian ride the Tour de France. Tour boss Desgrange broke his rule of refusing to pay start money and secretly paid Binda to ride the 1930 Tour de France. After losing time and worried that the Giro hadn't paid him yet, Binda abandoned the Tour to return to Italy to collect from the Giro organizers. Because his sponsor was Italian bike maker Legnano (it's said Binda designed the compnay's logo), most of Binda's career was spent in Italy.
Binda could do it all; climb, time trial and while not a sprinter, he would overwhelm the fast men with the sheer power he brought to a contest of speed.
He was also a capable musician. After finishing an exhausting race he would take a trumpet form a member of the band at the finish line and play, proving he still had lots of wind left.
After retiring from racing he became the Italian team manager where he took on the miserable task of managing Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali on the same Tour de France team.
His record of 5 Giro d'Italia wins has been equaled but not exceeded.
His record of 41 Giro stage wins stood until Mario Cipollini broke it in 2003
Binda retired March 22, 1936
1923: Nice-Mont Chauve, Tour du Var, Marseille-Nice
1924: Toulon-Nice, Mont Faron, Tour du Sud-Est
1925: Giro d'Italia, Giro di Lombardia, Giro dell'Emilia
1926: Italian Championship. Giro del Piemonte, Giro di Toscana, Giro di Lombardia, 6 stages in the Giro d'Italia
1927: World Championship, Italian Championship, Giro d'Italia with 12 stage wins, Giro del Piemonte, Giro di Toscana, Giro di Lombardia
1928: Italian Championship, Giro d'Italia with 6 stage wins
1929: Italian Championship, Giro d'Italia with 8 consecutive stage wins, Milano-San Remo
1930: World Championship
1931: Milano-San Remo, Giro di Lombardia
1932: World Championship
1933: Giro d'Italia with 6 stage wins
1922: Nice Sport
1923: La Française
1924: La Française-Diamant-Dunlop
1928: Legnano-Torpedo, Wolsit-Pirelli
Nicknames: Campionissimo, The Trumpeter of Cittiglio (Trombettiere di Cittiglio), Giocondo (from the Mona Lisa because of his amiability)
The picture above of Binda is from the Mondonico collection
The results of the Mont Chauve hill climb in 1923, Binda's first big win. This is from the French paper Le Matin and was sent to me by the extraordinarily knowledgable and kind Feargal McKay. You can find lots of Mr. McKay's work here.
Alfredo Binda stops to change gears in the 1925 Giro d'Italia
The first great cycling rivalry: Costante Girardengo and Alfredo Binda after the 1925 Giro d'Italia.
Alfredo Binda and Giovanni Brunero finish a stage in the 1926 Giro d'Italia. I'm guessing this is stage nine which ended in Sulmona. Binda and Brunero finished more than 25 minutes ahead of their nearest chaser, Ermanno Vallazza. 25 minutes!
Binda wins the first stage in Torino of the 1927 Giro d'Italia
Alfredo Binda, winner of the 1927 Giro d'Italia.
1928 Giro d'Italia: Binda stops at the Foligno control and gets a bite to eat. His victory in 1928 was his third Giro d'Italia championship
1929 Legnano-Wolsit team with Binda reading the paper.
1929 Giro d'Italia: Alfredo Binda wins number four. It looks like he's being carried by Robert de Niro and Moe Howard.
1931 Giro d'Italia: Alfredo Binda wins stage four in Pescara.
This has to be after August 31, 1932 when Binda won his third Rainbow Jersey in Rome.
1933 Giro d'Italia: From left, winner Alfredo Binda, Camillo Erba (highest placed independent) and Carlo Morett
Alfredo Binda takes a final lap after winning his fith Giro d'Italia in 1933.
Here we see why Binda was nicknamed "The Trumpeter of Cittiglio" (Trombettiere di Cittiglio).