|Competition||Professional and Annual|
|First winner||Luigi Ganna|
|Most wins||Alfredo Binda (6 times)|
The Giro d'Italia (Italian pronunciation: ˈdʒiːro diˈtaːlja; English: Tour of Italy) is an annual stage race bicycle race primarily held in Italy, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. The race was first organised in 1909 to increase sales of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport and is still the current runner of this race. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1909, except when it was stopped for the two world wars.
The idea of a cycling race was inspired by the Tour de France after gaining the automobile race. After creating the Milan-San Remo and Giro di Lombardia which still runs to this day. The race was held on May 1909 with eight stages in Northern Italy with 127 riders starting at Milan. A total of 49 riders finished the first edition with Luigi Ganna taking the first Giro d'Italia by only one point from Carlo Galetti. 1912 saw the only one to have a team classification as the general with Team Atala taking the win. The 1914 Giro saw the biggest margin in Grand Tour history with Alfonso Calzolari dominated the eight that made it to the finish line of the 1914 edition with a two-hour gap between him and the second place rider.
After the first world war was done, the Giro d'Italia came back in 1919 and it wasn't long before Italians started to dominate once again. After a brief trip over to Switzerland in 1920, Italians were on the podium for eight years until Victor Fontan finished in 3rd place in the 1928 edition of the tour. Ottavio Bottecchia entered the 1923 edition to finish in fourth place as an independent racer before being seen by Henri Pélissier which would see him win three Tour de Frances in a row including the 1923 edition. The 1923 edition also saw the closest race between two riders when Costante Girardengo won the race by only twenty-five seconds from Giovanni Brunero.
The next year saw a massive strike with Gazzetta dello Sport supporting the independent riders. It also saw the first female rider to compete in a major cycling event with Alfonsina Strada being the first lady to enter. It wasn't until after the event, that she admitted that she entered as a man to compete in the event. In the 1925 edition, Alfredo Binda came to the tour and took out the 1925 edition, the first of six titles that he would win during the late 20s and early 30s. 1927 saw a complete dominance of the Giro by Alfreo Binda with him winning 13 of the fifteen stages before coming back and winning six the next year. After he won the 1929 edition, the team was paid 22,500 lire to keep him off the list in the 1930 edition. Luigi Giacobbe would take the victory on the last day of competition.
The pink jersey for the winner came in 1931 with Luigi Giacobbe once again winning the Giro as he took the lead on stage 10 before finishing out with a three-minute victory. The next year saw the first foreign rider to take the general classification lead with Hermann Buse winning the second stage to take the overall lead which he held until stage seven. After Alfredo Binda won his last Giro d'Italia it was an open field for the 1934 edition and it came down to the last day with Francesco Camusso taking home the pink jersey.
With war starting to creep up, the 1936 edition had only Italians on the entry list. This edition had the first individual time trial but that didn't stop Gino Bartali from winning his second in a row for the 1937 edition. The war would soon stop the Giro as it wasn't run for six years as Giovanni Valetti won the final edition before the Second World War.
After the war, the Giro d'Italia restarted with 17 stages which did include three split stages on the tour. In an all-Italian field, it was Gino Bartali who would only just scrape through with the tour victory by only eight seconds from his nearest rival. Heading into the next year, the sport was starting to calm down to normal standards before the war. Sylvère Maes was the only non-Italian rider in the field of 84 riders that did finish the race as he came in seventh place overall with Bartali defending his title which saw the brief introduction of the black jersey for the last place rider. That classification only took place for one year when riders at the second half of that edition starting to slow down to get the slowest time without going over. After 1948 saw Fiorenzo Magni claim his only Giro win. The 1949 edition saw a memorable event that happened in the 17th stage when Fausto Coppi broke away from the pack to win the stage by over fifteen minutes to turn a two-minute deficit to what would later become a twenty three minute victory which is the biggest winning margin after World War II.