Champion Style

Stage 20; Saronni in control.
via Roberto Bettini

The door was knocking on Giuseppe Saronni to win the 1983 Giro d'ltalia.

He was the odds on favorite to win a Giro tailored made for him. Easy on the climbing with only one hard day in the mountains, that's stage 20. Thanks to Guy for the two fine in-depth books, The Story of the Giro d'ltalia, Volumes 1-2 by Bill & Carol McGann. My favorite cycling period has to be the eighties. It had everything and more. The colorfully crafted wool jerseys, steel Italian bikes and heroic riders that suffered and sometimes won and drama. 

One rider was Beppe Saronni. I like the nickname. The feisty rider that wore the yellow Del Tongo jersey riding his trademark candy apple red Colnago was synonymous with Italian style. Notably, he won the world championship road race in Goodwood, England in late 1982. Afterwards, he won the Tour of Lombardy, Milan-San Remo and second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Italians love a show and it looked like one between two arch enemies; Moser vs Saronni. It wasn't to be. Moser abandoned. On the penultimate stage, Roberto Visentini won the TT but could not take enough time to wrestle the pink jersey off Saronni. 

Stylishly winning 1983 MSR.

The story gets more interesting as Bill McGann tells of his visit to the Milan bike show and the unbelievable but true story to sabotage Saronni's TT ride. Visentini rode Battaglin bikes equipped with FIR rims owned by Giovanni Arrigoni who wanted a Giro win on his equipment. Here's the weird part. Arrigoni traveled to the hotel Saronni was staying before the TT stage and tried to bribe two of the staff to put Guttalax, a powerful laxative in Saronni's food. He tried with two million lire but the hotel staff called the police and press and Arrigoni was arrested.

Beppe Saronni was safe and won his second Giro brushing away Visentini, but in the eyes of the tifosi won in world champion style.


golden boy said…
Saronni win helped by the bonus wins stage about 30 second each! the real time without bonus was for VISENTINI!
strange rules at that one could be between moser-saronni