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100th Giro d’Italia, ‘Something’s different this year’

BLOCKHAUS, Italy (VN) — The Giro d’Italia, celebrating its 100th edition, is different this May.

Organizer RCS Sport put all its weight to celebrate the special edition, marking a huge leap since the race took off in Milan in 1909.

“It was a precise decision to touch as many regions as possible for the 100th edition,” said La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Ciro Scognamiglio. “Already given that there’s Sardinia and Sicily –there’s only one other time they did that – gives you an idea that it’s uniting Italy.”

Scognamiglio wore a pink sweater when for the ninth stage to Blockhaus, a touch to link him to his newspaper, printed on pink paper, and to the famous maglia rosa leader’s jersey. The event links him and every cittadino Italiano to his country.

“It’s the only event in our country to unite people, and it’s free too, the Italians have a great relationship with the Giro for this. A free event, a festival outside your front door. It’s part of Italy and the Italians’ lives,” Scognamiglio added.

Scognamiglio bought the Corriere della Sera newspaper growing up in Naples to follow his football team. Thanks to his first memories of seeing the Giro on television, when his hero Roberto Visentini won the race in 1986, he began buying La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It was always my dream to work for La Gazzetta dello Sport, but I wanted to write about football. Writing about cycling came by chance, and in 2002, this journey began.

Scognamiglio covered his first bicycle race when Michele Bartoli won the Giro di Lombardia in 2003 and started full time with the sport in 2006.

“Something’s different this year, there’s more publicity this year, more references to the past, on Rai, our public channel, you see it too. In the past, it was always on Rai 3, this year it’s more on Rai 2, this means it has more significance. In general, I see more fans on the side of the road,” Scognamiglio.

“The professional cyclists in the Giro are embracing this too. Just consider the fact that those Panini sticker books are going mad in the peloton and cyclists are collecting stickers like little boys. It’s respectful, it shows that cyclists have passion for their sport, and that’s different than other sports.”

The only catch is that Italian cycling is at its lowest point ever. The country has no WorldTour teams and only two of its four professional continental teams – Bardiani-CSF and Wilier-Selle Italia – received an invitation. Only 44 Italian cyclists began and none has been able to win a stage yet in this race.

“And then Fabio Aru had his problem, and unfortunately the death of Michele Scarponi,” added Scognamiglio. “Sonny Colbrelli, Elia Viviani, Fabio Felline and many other big names are not here at the start. And Giacomo Nizzolo is not in form. Another reason is that many strong Italians are helpers. Like Diego Rosa for Sky, Manuele Quinziato for BMC, and Daniele Bennati for Movistar.

“This 100th edition is special, but how it will be remembered depends very much on what happens in the race with the stars. In 2009, the 100th anniversary of the race that finished in Rome, Denis Menchov won and the Italians remembered it less than the 2016 edition when Vincenzo Nibali seemed to have lost the race, but came back. It depends on what happens in the race as to whether the 100th edition will be remembered more than the others.”

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