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1920 Giro d'Italia

8th edition: May 23 - June 6

Results, stages with running GC, photos and history

1919 Giro | 1921 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1920 Giro Quick Facts | 1920 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | Teams | The Story of the 1920 Giro d'Italia |

TDF volume 1

1920 Giro Quick Facts:

2,632 km raced at an average speed of 25.64 km/hr

Sources disagree as to the number of starters, but 49 seems to be the correct count (one writer says it's 42) with only 10 classified finishers.

Stage 1 went into Switzerland for a short distance, marking the first time the Giro left the confines of the Italian state.

At the end of the final stage a horse got onto the course, messing up the sprint and making determining the first nine places impossible.

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1, 1903 - 1975 is available as an audiobook here.

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1920 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification:

  1. maglia rosaGaetano Belloni (Bianchi): 102hr 44min 33sec
  2. Angelo Gremo (Bianchi) @ 32min 24sec
  3. Jean Alavoine (Bianchi) @ 1hr 1min 14sec
  4. Emilio Petiva (independent) @ 3hr 2min 44sec
  5. Domenico Schierano (independent) @ 3hr 36min 20sec
  6. Marcel Buysse (Bianchi) @ 3hr 52min 49sec
  7. Ugo Agostoni (Bianchi) @ 4hr 17min 35sec
  8. Enrico Sala (independent) @ 4hr 43min 28sec
  9. Giovanni Rossignoli (independent) @ 5hr 54min 47sec
  10. Nicola Di Biase (independent) @ 6hr 3min 16sec

Winning team: Bianchi

Highest placed independent rider: Emilio Petiva

1920 Giro stage results with running GC:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 23, Milano - Torino, 348 km

climbsAscents: Passo del Monte Ceneri, Passo della Serra

  1. Giuseppe Olivieri: 12hr 13min 40sec
  2. Angelo Gremo s.t.
  3. Gaetano Belloni s.t.
  4. Giuseppe Azzini @ 11min 22sec
  5. Costante Girardengo @ 11min 40sec
  6. Giovanni Brunero @ 11min 44sec
  7. Alfonso Calzolari @ 11min 54sec
  8. Jean Alavoine @ 12min 54sec
  9. Leopoldo Torricelli @ 27min 20sec
  10. Marcel Buysse @ 36min 5sec

GC after Stage 1: Same as stage results

Stage 2: Tuesday, May 25, Torino - Lucca, 378 km

climbAscent: Passo del Bracco

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 14hr 21min 56sec
  2. Giovanni Brunero s.t.
  3. Paride Ferrari @ 24sec
  4. Angelo Gremo @ 5min 0sec
  5. Bartolomeo Aymo @ 9min 43sec
  6. Clemente Canepari @ 19min 44sec
  7. Emilio Petiva @ 22min 49sec
  8. Rinaldo Spinelli @ 28min 49sec
  9. Jean Alavoine @ 52min 25sec
  10. Marcel Buysse s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 26hr 35min 36sec
  2. Angelo Gremo @ 5min
  3. Giovanni Brunero @ 11min 42sec
  4. Paride Ferrari @ 47min 59sec
  5. Clemente Canepari @ 55min 47sec
  6. Bartolomeo Aymo @ 58min 6sec
  7. Jean Alavoine @ 1hr 5min 17sec
  8. Giuseppe Azzini @ 1hr 6min 37sec
  9. Marcel Buysse @ 1hr 28min 24sec
  10. Emilio Petiva @ 1hr 36min 18sec

Stage 3: Thursday, May 27, Lucca - Roma, 386 km

climbsAscents: Volterra, Radicofani

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 17hr 14min 50sec
  2. Angelo Gremo s.t.
  3. Giovanni Brunero @ 2sec
  4. Leopoldo Torricelli @ 50sec
  5. Ugo Agostoni @ 10min 5sec
  6. Paride Ferrari s.t.
  7. Domenico Schierano @ 13min 43sec
  8. Jean Alavoine @ 17min 49sec
  9. Giovanni Rossignoli @ 44min 26sec
  10. Nicolino Di Biase @ 45min 37sec

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 43hr 50min 26sec
  2. Angelo Gremo @ 5min
  3. Giovanni Brunero @ 11min 44sec
  4. Paride Ferrari @ 57min 43sec
  5. Jean Alavoine @ 1hr 22min 51sec
  6. Marcel Buysse @ 2hr 22min 28sec
  7. Leopoldo Torricelli @ 2hr 26min 2sec
  8. Domenico Schierano @ 2hr 34min 47sec
  9. Emilio Petiva @ 2hr 37min 33sec
  10. Enrico Sala @ 3hr 34min 4sec

Stage 4: Saturday, May 29: Roma - Chieti, 234 km

climbAscent: Sella del Corno

  1. Jean Alavoine: 8hr 46min 55sec
  2. Marcel Buysse @ 31min 39sec
  3. Gaetano Belloni @ 31min 56sec
  4. Giovanni Brunero s.t.
  5. Angelo Gremo @ 31min 58sec
  6. Emilio Petiva @ 32min 3sec
  7. Ugo Agostoni @ 32min 9sec
  8. Enrico Sala @ 32min 18sec
  9. Nicolino Di Biase @ 32min 28sec
  10. Leopoldo Torricelli @ 2hr 30min 36sec

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 53hr 9min 17sec
  2. Angelo Gremo @ 5min 3sec
  3. Giovanni Brunero @ 11min 44sec
  4. Jean Alavoine @ 50min 54sec
  5. Paride Ferrari @ 1hr 18min 31sec
  6. Marcel Buysse @ 2hr 21min 46sec
  7. Leopoldo Torricelli @ 2hr 30min 36sec
  8. Emilio Petiva @ 2hr 37min 39sec
  9. Domenico Schierano @ 2hr 55min 53sec
  10. Enrico Sala @ 3hr 33min 21sec

Stage 5: Monday, May 31, Chieti - Macerata, 231 km

climbAscent: Cermignano

While Alvoine arrived 1st, he was declassified to third and Torricelli was awarded the stage.

  1. Jean Alavoine: 8hr 54min 15sec
  2. Leopoldo Torricelli s.t.
  3. Marcel Buysse s.t.
  4. Emilio Petiva @ 1sec
  5. Domenico Schierano @ 3sec
  6. Angelo Gremo @ 16sec
  7. Gaetano Belloni @ 14min 51sec
  8. Giovanni Brunero s.t.
  9. Nicola Di Biase @ 14min 53sec

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Angelo Gremo: 62hr 3min 52sec
  2. Gaetano Belloni @ 10min 1sec
  3. Giovanni Brunero @ 21min 15sec
  4. Jean Alavoine @ 45min 34sec
  5. Paride Ferrari @ 1hr 52min 35sec
  6. Marcel Buysse @ 2hr 16min 27sec
  7. Leopoldo Torricelli @ 2hr 25min 17sec
  8. Emilio Petiva @ 2hr 32min 20sec
  9. Domenico Schierano @ 2hr 50min 35sec
  10. Enrico Sala @ 4hr 7min 28sec

Stage 6: Wednesday, June 2, Macerata - Bologna, 282 km

  1. Jean Alavoine: 11hr 36min 35sec
  2. Gaetano Belloni s.t.
  3. Marcel Buysse s.t.
  4. Angelo Gremo @ 3sec
  5. Domenico Schierano s.t.
  6. Emilio Petiva s.t.
  7. Giovanni Rossignoli @ 4sec
  8. Enrico Sala @ 35sec
  9. Ugo Agostoni @ 1min 5sec
  10. Nicola Di Biase @ 25min 29sec

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Angelo Gremo @ 73hr 45min 30sec
  2. Gaetano Belloni @ 9min 58sec
  3. Jean Alavoine @ 45min 31sec
  4. Marcel Buysse @ 2hr 16min 25sec
  5. Emilio Petiva 2hr 32min 21sec
  6. Domenico Schierano @ 2hr 53min 35sec
  7. Enrico Sala @ 4hr 8min 0sec
  8. Ugo Agostoni @ 4hr 25min 29sec
  9. Nicola Di Biase @ 5hr 12min 50sec
  10. Giovanni Rossignoli @ 5hr 38min 54sec

Stage 7: Friday, June 4, Bologna - Trieste, 349 km

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 12hr 47min 23sec
  2. Ugo Agostoni @ 2min 4sec
  3. Jean Alavoine @ 25min 41sec
  4. Giovanni Rossignoli s.t.
  5. Emilio Petiva @ 40min 22sec
  6. Angelo Gremo @ 42min 23sec
  7. Enrico Sala @ 45min 27sec
  8. Domenico Schierano @ 55min 21sec
  9. Nicola Di Biase @ 1hr 0min 24sec
  10. Marcel Buysse @ 1hr 56min 23sec

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Gaetano Belloni: 86hr 42min 51sec
  2. Angelo Gremo @ 32min 24sec
  3. Jean Alavoine @ 1hr 1min 14sec
  4. Emilio Petiva @ 3hr 2min 34sec
  5. Domenico Schierano @ 3hr 36min 2sec
  6. Marcel Buysse @ 3hr 52min 49sec
  7. Ugo Agostoni @ 4hr 17min 35sec
  8. Enrico Sala @ 4hr 43min 28sec
  9. Giovanni Rossignoli @ 5ht 54min 37sec
  10. Nicola Di Biase @ 6hr 5min 16sec

8th and Final Stage: Sunday, June 6, Trieste - Milano, 421 km

The first 9 riders, listed alphabetically here, were awarded the same time and place (ex aequo).

  1. Ugo Agostini: 16hr 4min 42sec
  2. Jean Alavoine s.t.
  3. Gaetano Belloni s.t.
  4. Marcel Buysse s.t.
  5. Nicola Di Biase s.t.
  6. Angelo Gremo s.t.
  7. Emilio Petiva s.t.
  8. Giovanni Rossignoli s.t.
  9. Enrico Sala s.t.
  10. Domenico Schierano @ 29sec

1920 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General CLassification



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The Story of the 1920 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, eBook or audiobook. The Amazon link here will make either purchase easy.

The 1920 Giro was 2,632 kilometers long with eight stages that took the race only as far south as Rome. The 329-kilometer average stage length was tough, but a lot shorter than the 1920 Tour’s 367-kilometer average. The roads were still in terrible condition and after the difficult time the race had in southern Italy in 1919, it wasn’t surprising to see the race stay in central and northern Italy.

The departing field wasn’t large, only 49 riders. Of course Girardengo was the favorite while Calzolari, Santhià, Galetti, Buysse, Gerbi, Bordin, Belloni and Rossignoli were also part of the peloton. Also at the start line was Jean Alavoine, a French racer who by 1920 had racked up a second place, two thirds and a fifth in the Tour. He would go on to take another second place in the 1922 edition.

Gaetano “Tano” Belloni, second in 1919, was getting the reputation of habitually letting the big ones just slip away. Italians call him the first eterno secondo.

While the racers making up the 1920 Giro peloton were small in number, as the saying goes, they were crucial in character.

Stage one set another precedent for the Giro when it ventured outside Italy for a few kilometers, going through a corner of Switzerland on the way from Milan to Turin. The riders went over Monte Ceneri where Girardengo crashed badly. He repaired his bike in the pouring rain without help, as the regulations of the moment required.

Seizing the moment, Belloni’s Bianchi team attacked, leaving Girardengo almost twelve minutes behind. The ruthless move served Belloni well: he finished right behind stage winner Giuseppe Oliveri and Angelo Gremo.

Two days later, the 378-kilometer stage from Turin to Lucca was Girardengo’s final undoing. Still suffering from his stage one crash, he was clearly in difficulty. Surprisingly, when the race came to the climb that led to Creta, south of Pavia, he had no trouble ascending at race speed. But once on the descent he was in agony, and the bad roads on the flats made riding at high speed intolerably painful for the campionissimo.

At Molassana, in the hills north of Genoa, he could take it no more and abandoned the race. Fans standing at the roadside watching Gira’s misery took him to a nearby home and finding the place empty, broke in and carried the racer to a bed. When the cottage’s owner returned he was astonished to find his house filled with race fans along with a strange man lying in his bed. The surprised homeowner was mollified (he could probably do nothing anyway) upon learning the reason for the furor in his house.

Girardengo later made a point of explaining to the papers the circumstances of his retirement from the race, refuting an accusation that he had quit in a dispute over an illegal wheel change. He said his physical troubles were obvious for all to see.

Back in the race, Gerbi was caught getting a tow from a motorcycle sidecar and was disqualified. His angry fans demanded that he be reinstated, which was done, sub judice (pending further review).

Race leader Oliveri ruptured a tendon climbing on the Ligurian coast near Recco and abandoned. Sivocci and Galetti bailed out as well. Belloni won the stage against a peloton that was already down to just 26 riders.

The General Classification after all the stage two drama:
1. Gaetano Belloni
2. Angelo Gremo @ 5 seconds
3. Giovanni Brunero @ 11 minutes 42 seconds
4. Paride Ferrari @ 47 minutes 57 seconds

Belloni won the next stage into Rome with Gremo right on his wheel, Brunero a few seconds behind, and Leopoldo Torricelli about a minute back. The rest of the field was ten minutes or more back. This was turning into a two-man race.
Finally Alavoine woke up and animated the next three stages. The small number of police on hand at the stage start in Rome couldn’t control the unruly crowd which disrupted the first of the three; Corriere della Sera called the rowdy fans “Bolsheviks”. The angry tifosi had demanded the full disqualification of Gerbi over his earlier infraction of the rules. Gerbi was so delayed by this commotion that when he arrived at the finish in Chieti, he announced his retirement from the race.

Belloni wins a stage

Belloni wins a stage (I don't know which one).

The judges found much to dislike in the second of Alavoine’s victories and the Frenchman was relegated to third. In that fifth stage to Macerata, Belloni lost both fourteen minutes and his race lead. Gremo was the new leader and the peloton was down to just ten riders.

Alavoine won his third stage, the Giro’s sixth, ending in Bologna. Belloni and Buysse finished with the same time while Gremo lost only three seconds.

The General Classification now stood this way:
1. Angelo Gremo
2. Gaetano Belloni @ 9 minutes 58 seconds
3. Jean Alavoine @ 45 minutes 31 seconds

It was the seventh stage where Belloni made the 1920 Giro his own. He won while several of his competitors suffered catastrophic time losses. Gremo gave up 42 minutes, Alavoine lost almost half an hour and Buysse finished nearly two hours after Belloni.

Belloni wins stage 7

Gaetano Belloni wins stage 7 in Trieste

The last stage demonstrated how close to chaos the racing in those days could be. The first nine finishers came in together after 16 hours 4 minutes 42 seconds of racing and were all ranked first among equals and listed alphabetically because a horse got on the course and foiled the sprint. Domenico Schierano, who was unfortunate enough to come in 29 seconds after the first nine, was officially listed as tenth.

Just those ten made it to Milan. Belloni’s winning average speed was 25.64 kilometers per hour. He wasn’t the eternal second anymore.

Gaetano Belloni

Gaetano Belloni

Final 1920 Giro d’Italia General Classification:
1. Gaetano Belloni (Bianchi) 102 hours 47 minutes 33 seconds
2. Angelo Gremo (Bianchi) @ 32 minutes 24 seconds
3. Jean Alavoine (Bianchi) @ 1 hour 1 minute 14 seconds
4. Emilio Petiva (independent) @ 3 hours 2 minutes 44 seconds
5. Domenico Schierano (independent) @ 3 hours 36 minutes 20 seconds

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