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Costante Girardengo Photo Gallery

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Costante Girardengo (March 18, 1893 - February 9, 1978) was a rider of startling ability, an ability that manifested itself clearly in 1913 when he became Italian road champion in his first year as a professional. Girardengo was only 20.

While waiting for the second place rider in the eighth stage of the 1919 Giro (it would take over six minutes for Angelo Gremo to arrive), Emilio Colombo of La Gazzetta dell Sport asked Girardengo what he would like be called. Girardengo was a bit intimidated by Colombo’s large and commanding presence and told the writer to do as he pleased. Colombo’s response turned out to be historic, “I have decided. I will call you the Champion of Champions (ti chiamerò campionissimo).”

Italian fans have bestowed the title of Campionissimo on only two other riders, Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi.

His list of major wins is eloquent, and, as is often noted, would have been far longer but for the war. The list is shortened also by his temper that led him to stalk out of several important races as well as a series of crashes.

Nearly all of his racing was in Italy, but Girardengo's dominance of his country's racing is clear: nine times Italian champion, winner of Milano–San Remo six times and thrice victor of the Giro di Lombardia as well as two Giri d'Italia.

When Alfredo Binda appeared in the mid 1920s, the Girardengo-Binda competition became the first of Italy's great cycling rivalries.

Though 1928 was Giradengo's last good year, he raced as a professional until May of 1936. He later became a team director for Maino as well as managing the victorious Italian 1938 Tour de France team with winner Gino Bartali.

Major victories:

1913: Champion of Italy, XX Septembre, Coppa Borzino
1914: Champion of italy, Milano–Torino
1915: Milano–Torino
1918: Milano–San Remo, Giro dell'Emilia
1919: Champion of Italy, Giro d'Italia (with 7 stage victories), Giro di Lombardia, Milano–Torino, Giro del Piemonte, Giro dell'Emilia
1920: Champion of Italy, Milano–Torino, Giro del Piemonte
1921: Champion of Italy, Milano–San Remo, Giro di Lombardia, Giro dell'Emilia, XX Septembre
1922: Champion of Italy, Giro di Lombardia, XX Septembre, Giro della Romagna, Giro dell'Emilia
1923: Champion of Italy, Giro d'Italia (with 8 stage victories), Milano–San Remo, XX Septembre, Milano-Torino, Giro del Veneto, Giro di Toscana
1924: Champion of Italy, GP Wolber, Giro di Toscana, Giro del Veneto, Giro del Piemonte
1925: Champion of Italy, Milano–San Remo, Critérium National, XX Septembre, Giro dell'Emilia, Giro del Veneto, 6 Giro d'Italia stage wins
1926: Milano–San Remo, Giro della Romagna, Giro del Veneto, 2 Giro d'Italia stage wins
1927: Milano 6-Day with Alfredo Binda
1928: Milano–San Remo

Professional Teams:

1912–1914: Maino
1914: Automoto-Continental
1915–1918: Bianchi
1919–1920: Stucchi-Dunlop
1920: Maino
1921: Stucchi-Pirelli
1922: Bianchi-Salga
1923–1924: Maino
1923: Gurtner-Hutchinson
1925–1927: Wolsit-Pirelli
1928: Maino-Dunlop, Opel-Torpedo
1929–1933: Maino-Clément
1933: Girardengo-Clément
1934: Maino-Clément
1935: Maino-Girardengo
1936: Maino

Nicknames: Campionissimo, The Novi Runt, Gira

Photos:

Costante Girardengo

Photo of Girardengo that was pinned up in the Mondonico shop for many years.

Costante Girardengo

From the 1913 Giro d'Italia. Girardengo has just won stage 6, Bari to Campobasso.

Lauro Bordin and Costante Girardengo

Lauro Bordin (left) and Costante Giradengo in the 1919 Giro d'Italia

1920 postcard of Girardengo

1920 postcard of Girardengo

Costante Girardegno after winning the 1923 Giro d'Italia

Girardengo after winning the 1923 Giro d'Italia. Ah, the romance of the road...

Girardengo on the track

Undated track racing photo

Costante Girardengo on the Torino velodrome

Girardengo on the Torino velodrome.

Costante Girardengo

Black sox are back in style.

Costante Girardengo

A 1924 postcard of Girardengo endorsing Continental tires.

Costante Girardengo and Alfredo Binda in an undated photo

Giradengo and Binda in the 1925 Giro d'Italia

Costante Girardengo and Alfredo Binda

The protagonists of the 1925 Giro d'Italia, Costante Girardengo and Alfredo Binda

Girardengo turns a lathe with a bike

Girardengo turns a lathe with a stationary bike.

Giovanni Valetti with Girardengo

1938 Giro winner Giovanni Valetti with Girardengo (in flat cap and pinstripe suit).

Franco Balmamion and Costante Girardengo

1962: Franco Balmamion has just won the Giro d'Italia and is pictured with Costante Girardengo

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