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1911 Giro d'Italia

3rd edition: May 15 - June 6

Results, stages with running GC, photos and history

1910 Giro | 1912 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | 1911 Giro Quick Facts | 1911 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | Teams | The Story of the 1911 Giro d'Italia|


1911 Giro Quick Facts:

3,530 km raced at an average speed of 26.22 km/hr

86 starters and 24 classified finishers

The General Classification of the 1911 Giro was calculated using points rather than accumulated time.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Italy's unification, the Giro started and ended in Rome.

Winning Team: Bianchi

Highest placed independent rider: Ezio Corlaita

If the 1911 Giro had been run on an elapsed time basis, this is how it would have come out:

  1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 132hr 24min
  2. Carlo Galetti @ 34min
  3. Giovanni Gerbi @ 3hr
  4. Giuseppe Santhià @ 3hr 28min
  5. Everardo Pavesi @ 3hr 37min

The 1911 Giro had a climb higher than 2,000 meters for the first time when it went to Sestriere in stage 5.


1911 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification:

The team affiliations listed are my best shot at resolving conflicting sources.

  1. Carlo Galetti (Bianchi): 50 points
  2. Giovanni Rossignoli (Bianchi): 58
  3. Giovanni Gerbi (Gerbi): 84
  4. Giuseppe Santhià (Fiat): 86
  5. Ezio Corlaita (independent): 89
  6. Dario Beni (Fiat): 93
  7. Alfredo Sivocci (Senior-Polack): 95
  8. Eberardo Pavesi (Bianchi): 96
  9. Giuseppe Contesini (independent): 111
  10. Gino Brizzi (independent): 112
  11. Carlo Oriani (Bianchi)
  12. Enrico Sala (Senior-Polack)
  13. Giuseppe Dilda
  14. Cesare Osnaghi
  15. Ildebrando Gamberini
  16. Galeazzo Bolzoni
  17. Lauro Bordin (Senior-Pollack)
  18. Attilio Zavatti
  19. Carlo Vertua
  20. Ottavio Pratesi
  21. Andrea Massironi
  22. Mario Gaioni
  23. Appolinare Foglio
  24. Antonio Rontondi

1911 Giro stage results with running GC:

Stage 1: Monday, May 15, Roma - Perugia - Firenze, 359.1 km

100 starters, 76 finishers

climbsAscents: Osteria Cappanaccia, La Somma

  1. Carlo Galetti: 13hr 17min 9sec. 26.28 km/hr
  2. Giovanni Rossignoli
  3. Dario Beni
  4. Carlo Durando
  5. Lucien Petit-Breton
  6. Ezio Coralita
  7. Eberardo Pavesi
  8. Gino Brizzi
  9. Ernesto Azzini
  10. Giuseppe Dilda

GC after Stage 1:

  1. Carlo Galetti: 1 point
  2. Giovanni Rossignoli: 2
  3. Dario Beni: 3
  4. Carlo Durando: 4
  5. Lucien Petit-Breton: 5
  6. Ezio Corlaita: 6
  7. Eberardo Pavesi: 7
  8. Gino Brizzi: 8
  9. Ernesto Azzini: 9
  10. Giuseppe Dilda: 10

Stage 2: Wednesday, May 17, Firenze - Genoa, 261.5 km

74 starters, 60 finishers

climbsAscent: Bracco

  1. Vincenzo Borgarello: 10hr 58min. 23.8 km/hr
  2. Giuseppe Santhià
  3. Giuseppe Contesini
  4. Giovanni Gerbi
  5. Lucien Petit-Breton
  6. Giovanni Rossignoli
  7. Luigi Ganna
  8. Carlo Galetti
  9. Luigi Azzini
  10. Eberardo Pavesi

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 8 points
  2. Carlo Galetti: 9
  3. Lucien Petit-Breton: 10
  4. Eberardo Pavesi: 17
  5. Giovanni Gerbi: 18
  6. Giuseppi Santhià: 18
  7. Carlo Durando: 18
  8. Luigi Ganna: 19
  9. Gino Brizzi: 19
  10. Ezio Corlaita: 22

Stage 3: Friday, May 19, Genova - Oneglia, 274.9 km

55 starters, 49 finishers

climbsAscents: La Bocchetta, Giovi, Colle San Bartolomeo

  1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 10hr 16min. 26.78 km/hr
  2. Giovanni Gerbi
  3. Carlo Durando
  4. Lucien Petit-Breton
  5. Giuseppe Santhià
  6. Carlo Galetti
  7. Michele Robotti
  8. Giuseppe Contesini
  9. Eberardo Pavesi
  10. Alfredo Sivocci

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 9 points
  2. Lucien Petit-Breton: 14
  3. Carlo Galetti: 15
  4. Giovanni Gerbi: 20
  5. Carlo Durando: 21
  6. Giuseppe Santhià: 23
  7. Eberardo Pavesi: 26
  8. Gino Brizzi: 32
  9. Giuseppe Contesini: 33
  10. Alfredo Sivocci: 36

Stage 4: Sunday, May 21, Oneglia - Mondovì, 190.3 km

49 starters, 41 finishers

climbAscent: Colle di Tenda

  1. Carlo Galetti: 7hr 21min. 26.93 km/hr
  2. Ezio Corlaita
  3. Ernesto Azzini
  4. Giovanni Gerbi
  5. Giovanni Rossignoli
  6. Lucien Petit-Breton
  7. Giuseppe Contesini
  8. Carlo Durando
  9. Vincenzo Borgarello
  10. Alfredo Sivocci

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 14 points
  2. Carlo Galetti: 16
  3. Lucien Petit-Breton: 20
  4. Giovanni Gerbi: 24
  5. Carlo Durando: 29
  6. Eberardo Pavesi: 37
  7. Giuseppe Santhià: 37
  8. Giuseppe Contesini: 40
  9. Ezio Corlaita: 40
  10. Ernesto Azzini: 41

Stage 5: Wednesday, May 24, Mondovì - Torino, 302.9 km

41 starters, 37 finishers

Ascent: Sestriere

  1. Lucien Petit-Breton: 11hr 23min. 26.38 km/hr
  2. Carlo Galetti
  3. Ezio Corlaita
  4. Giovanni Rossignoli
  5. Carlo Durando
  6. Carlo Oriani
  7. Dario Beni
  8. Alfredo Sivocci
  9. Galeazzo Bolzoni
  10. Giuseppe Santhià

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 18 points
  2. Carlo Galetti: 18
  3. Lucien Petit-Breton: 21
  4. Carlo Durando: 34
  5. Giovanni Gerbi: 34
  6. Ezio Corlaita: 43
  7. Giuseppe Santhià: 47
  8. Eberardo Pavesi: 48
  9. Giuseppe Contesini: 50
  10. Alfredo Sivocci: 54

Stage 6: Thursday, May 25, Torino - Milano, 286.2 km

37 starters, 35 finishers

  1. Giuseppe Santhià: 10hr 24min 30sec. 27.52 km/hr
  2. Carlo Oriani
  3. Lucien Petit-Breton
  4. Carlo Galetti
  5. Eberardo Pavesi
  6. Dario Beni
  7. Ezio Corlaita
  8. Giuseppe Contesini
  9. Galeazzo Bolzoni
  10. Giovanni Rossignoli

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Carlo Galetti: 22 points
  2. Lucien Petit-Breton: 24
  3. Giovanni Rossignoli: 25
  4. Giovanni Gerbi: 45
  5. Carlo Durando: 46
  6. Giuseppe Santhià: 48
  7. Ezio Corlaita: 50
  8. Eberardo Pavesi: 53
  9. Giuseppe Contesini: 57
  10. Alfredo Sivocci: 61

Stage 7: Saturday, May 27, Milano - Bologna, 394 km

35 starters, 33 finishers

  1. Dario Beni: 13hr 15min. 29.785 km/hr
  2. Giuseppe Santhià
  3. Carlo Galetti
  4. Giovanni Rossignoli
  5. Lauro Bordin
  6. Giovanni Gerbi
  7. Carlo Oriani
  8. Henri Lignon
  9. Eberardo Pavesi
  10. Giuseppe Dilda

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Carlo Galetti: 25 points
  2. Giovanni Rossignoli: 29
  3. Lucien Petit-Breton: 33
  4. Giuseppe Santhià: 50
  5. Giovanni Gerbi:51
  6. Carlo Durando: 56
  7. Ezio Corlaita: 60
  8. Eberardo Pavesi: 62
  9. Dario Beni: 64
  10. Giuseppe Contesini: 69

Stage 8: Monday, May 29, Bologna - Ancona, 263.4 km

33 starters, 31 finishers

  1. Lauro Bordin: 9hr 51min. 28.78 km/hr
  2. Lucien Petit-Breton
  3. Ildebrando Gamberini
  4. Attilio Zavatti
  5. Alfredo Sivocci
  6. Giuseppe Contesini
  7. Giovanni Gerbi
  8. Cesare Osnaghi
  9. Carlo Oriani
  10. Cino Fattori

GC after Stage 8:

  1. Carlo Galetti: 31 points
  2. Giovanni Rossignoli: 35
  3. Lucien Petit-Breton: 35
  4. Giuseppe Santhià: 56
  5. Giovanni Gerbi: 57
  6. Ezio Corlaita: 71
  7. Eberardo Pavesi: 73
  8. Dario Beni: 74
  9. Giuseppe Contesini: 75
  10. Alfredo Sivocci: 76

Stage 9: Wednesday, May 31, Ancona - Sulmona, 218.7 km

31 starters, 31 finishers

  1. Ezio Corlaita: 6hr 52min. 31.85 km/hr
  2. Lucien Petit-Breton
  3. Giovanni Gerbi
  4. Galeazzo Bolzoni
  5. Gino Brizzi
  6. Ildebrando Gamberini
  7. Giuseppe Santhià
  8. Giovanni Rossignoli
  9. Attilio Zavatti
  10. Dario Beni

GC after Stage 9:

  1. Lucien Petit-Breton: 37 points
  2. Carlo Galetti: 40
  3. Giovanni Rossignoli: 43
  4. Giovanni Gerbi: 60
  5. Giuseppe Santhià: 63
  6. Ezio Corlaita: 71
  7. Dario Beni: 81
  8. Eberardo Pavesi: 82
  9. Giuseppe Contesini: 84
  10. Alfredo Sivocci: 84
  11. Gino Brizzi: 90

Stage 10: Friday, June 2, Sulmona - Bari, 363.1 km

31 starters, 25 finishers

Ascents: Cinquemiglia, Roccaraso, Rionero Sannitico, Macerone

  1. Carlo Galetti: 11hr 32min 32sec. 24.98 km/hr
  2. Dario Beni
  3. Eberardo Pavesi
  4. Giovanni Rossignoli
  5. Carlo Oriani
  6. Lucien Petit-Breton
  7. Ezio Corlaita
  8. Giuseppe Dilda
  9. Gino Brizzi
  10. Giovanni Gerbi

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Carlo Galetti: 41 points
  2. Lucien Petit-Breton: 43
  3. Giovanni Rossignoli: 47
  4. Giovanni Gerbi: 68
  5. Giuseppe Santhià: 73
  6. Ezio Corlaita: 78
  7. Dario Beni: 83
  8. Eberardo Pavesi: 85
  9. Alfredo Sivocci: 92
  10. Giuseppe Contesini: 95

Stage 11: Sunday, June 4, Bari - Napoli, 335.2 km

25 starters, 23 finishers

Ascent: Tricarico

  1. Alfredo Sivocci: 14hr 15min. 23.51 km/hr
  2. Enrico Sala
  3. Carlo Galetti
  4. Giovanni Rossignoli
  5. Ildebrando Gamberini
  6. Giuseppe Santhià
  7. Gino Brizzi
  8. Giuseppe Contesini
  9. Cesare Osnaghi
  10. Dario Beni

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Carlo Galetti: 44 points
  2. Giovanni Rossignoli: 51
  3. Giovanni Gerbi: 76
  4. Giuseppe Santhià: 79
  5. Ezio Corlaita: 87
  6. Dario Beni: 90
  7. Eberardo Pavesi: 92
  8. Alfredo Sivocci: 93
  9. Giuseppe Contesini: 102
  10. Gino Brizzi: 105

12th and Final Stage: Tuesday, June 6, Napoli - Roma, 213.7 km

26 starters, 24 finishers

  1. Ezio Corlaita: 8hr. 26.7 km/hr
  2. Alfredo Sivocci
  3. Dario Beni
  4. Eberardo Pavesi
  5. Enrico Sala
  6. Carlo Galetti
  7. Ildebrando Gamberini
  8. Attilio Zavatti
  9. Giuseppe Dilda
  10. Giovanni Rossignoli

Final 1911 Giro d'Italia General Classification


Teams:

Atala-Dunlop
Bianchi-Pirelli
Fiat-Pirelli
Legnano-Dunlop
Senior-Polack


The Story of the 1911 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 or electronic. The Amazon link here will make either purchase easy.

Armando Cougnet acquired sole ownership of La Gazzetta dello Sport from Emilio Costamagna. He would own it until 1922 when a group of investors purchased the paper.


This would be a good time to describe the bikes used by the top professionals of the era. They were generally single-speed, fixed-gear machines. The frames were lugged and made from mild steel tubing. Cranksets were steel and secured to the bottom bracket axle with a tapered steel cotter, a design that survived into the late 1970s on European consumer bikes.


As mountains were added to race routes, fast descending was as important as speedy climbing. A fixed gear was a real impediment because it forced the riders’ legs to spin as the rear wheel turned the cranks. Early riders either removed their feet from the pedals or limited their downhill speed to what their legs could handle. Freewheels, which had been available since 1898, began to appear on racers’ bikes after 1906. It was felt, quite correctly, that a fixed gear was the most efficient setup and early riders preferred to use one instead of freewheels whenever possible.


Around 1910 riders started using bikes with dual-sided hubs with two different sized cogs. A rider could change gears by dismounting and flipping the rear wheel around. Eventually the rear hub would have four cogs, two on each side. Now a rider could climb a mountain in a lower gear, stop at the top, flip the wheel to a smaller cog or freewheel and descend with a higher gear ratio. Deciding when to stop to change gears became an important part of the era’s tactics.


A common gearing of the time was an inch-pitch 22-tooth front ring with an 11-tooth rear cog. This would translate in the current half-inch system to a 44 x 22. The ratio seems low for a professional but as Peter Joffre Nye showed in Hearts of Lions, early riders could ride with a very high pedaling cadence.
Toe clips were used early on, but toe straps locking the rider’s feet to the pedals began to show up only around 1907.


Wheel rims were made of wood with tubular tires glued to them. Brakes were terrible. At first they were pads that rubbed the top of the tires. Caliper brakes made of stamped steel actuated by a lever pulling a cable eventually became common. Rough, muddy roads necessitated large clearances between the tires and the frame and fork. The long-reach calipers required by these frames meant that brakes had little mechanical advantage compared to today’s brakes. Brakes on a 1911 bike just didn’t work very well.


Modern bikes have a wheelbase of about 1 meter. Early bikes had wheelbases of about 1.2 meters with lots of fork rake, or forward bend to the fork blades. The fork rake was generous for two reasons. First, the roads were usually unpaved and the spring of the extra rake was needed to soften the impact of the appalling roads. Also, with the laid back angles of the early bikes, more rake was needed to keep the trail—caster, or force keeping the bike going straight—correct for good handling.


It is a commonly repeated error that early twentieth century professional racing bikes weighed 20 kilograms (42 pounds). The eminent British cycle historian Derek Roberts told me that that at the turn of the century bikes were available to the public that weighed about 28 pounds. Reynolds of England had patented the process of butting steel bicycle tubes (thinning the tubes away from the joints) in 1898.


When French historian Jacques Seray writes that the top pros of the pioneer era rode bikes that weighed 11.5 kilograms (25.5 pounds) it makes sense. That’s exactly what one would expect a mild-steel, lugged track bike with steel cranks and sew-up tires to weigh.


We have a good picture of Dario Beni, winner of the first stage of the 1909 Giro, riding in the 1910 Giro. His front brake is a friction pad that rubs on top of the tire and his rear brake is a then-modern side-pull caliper. He is using both toe clips and straps. Beni wears wool shorts that reach almost to his knees as well as a long-sleeve wool jersey. Cycling caps hadn’t become standardized and Beni wore a double-brim cap that protected his neck from the Italian sun. He had a bag mounted on his handlebars to carry food. A tire pump was mounted on the seat tube and he carried a spare sew-up tire looped over his shoulders.
The roads were usually unpaved. Dust, mud, potholes, cobbles, rocks, chickens, cattle and sheep were regular obstacles. This is why you nearly always see pictures of early racers with protective goggles. In the mountains and in southern Italy conditions were especially primitive. Mountain passes were often tracks that were little more than footpaths.

The Giro was maturing quickly. The 1911 edition had twelve stages totaling 3,358 kilometers. Race organizers were getting a better feel for the sort of demands they could make on the racers. For the first time the Giro would climb higher than 2,000 meters by sending the racers through Sestriere in the Alps in stage five.


In 1905 the Tour had begun to include serious ascents, but nothing like the giant climbs of the Alps and the Pyrenees. It would not be until 1910 that the high Pyrenees would be part of that race. Although mountain stages are now the highlight of a stage race, back then they were considered a daring experiment, one the organizers were not sure the riders could handle. The high climbs dramatically improved the racing and fans went wild over the new challenge. Given the relentlessly hilly nature of the Italian peninsula, keeping climbing out of the Giro would have been nearly impossible anyway.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Italy, the race started and finished in Italy’s capital, Rome. The 1911 edition was more of a real tour of Italy because for the first time it went all the way down to Bari in southern Italy.


The peloton was overwhelmingly Italian. Italy’s best stage racers were on the line in Rome: Galetti, Gerbi, Rossignoli, Ganna, Pavesi, and Corlaita and were divided among five teams: Atala, Bianchi (to which Galetti had transferred), Fiat, Legnano and Senior. There were just three French riders: Petit-Breton, Maurice Brocco and Omer Beaugendre. Beaugendre may be forgotten today, but in his day he was considered a fine rider, having won Paris–Tours in 1908 and getting second in the Tour of Lombardy in 1909. Sports writers felt that Petit-Breton was the class of the field and the favorite to win this third edition of the Giro.


1911’s first Giro stage headed north from Rome through Umbria, finishing in Florence. Galetti made it clear that he hadn’t lost his touch by winning the stage with Rossignoli second. Through the next three stages Galetti and Rossignoli fought a hard duel for leadership. Meanwhile Petit-Breton had been riding unspectacularly but consistently.

At Mondovì, before the start of stage five, the first great Giro mountain stage, the General Classification stood thus:
1. Giovanni Rossignoli: 14 points
2. Carlo Galetti: 16
3. Lucien Petit-Breton: 20
4. Giovanni Gerbi: 24
Of the 100 starters, there were now only 41 riders left in the race. Galetti had won two stages and Rossignoli one.

Carlo Galetti

Carlo Galetti in an undated photo


As the riders entered the Chisone Valley they encountered a narrow road of horrible mud. Petit-Breton began the ascent at the front of the broken peloton. Already some of the riders had decided to walk their bikes. Well into the climb near the town of Fenestrelle, the riders ascending the east-facing slope, the Frenchman suffered an inexplicable loss of strength and was barely able to pedal his bike. First Ezio Corlaita and then others passed him as he struggled over the snow-covered summit. Most of the racers were by now walking their bikes.


Recovering from his sudden weakness, and descending at an extraordinary speed with little regard for his skin, Petit-Breton caught the leaders. He was able to beat Galetti, Corlaita and Rossignoli (in that order) in the sprint in Turin. The final rush was really only between Galetti and Petit-Breton; the others were distanced by several bike lengths. Rossignoli remained the leader, but now tied at eighteen points with Galetti.


The Giro then headed south. After the ninth stage, even without winning any more stages, Petit-Breton was in first place, the first foreigner to lead the Giro.
Rossignoli was tiring from fighting his relentless duel with Galetti. Arriving in Bari in stage ten, Petit-Breton found himself in the winning break, but of the six, the other five were Bianchi riders and dealing with that kind of opposition was beyond a rider of even Petit-Breton’s gifts and Galetti won the stage. Galetti’s win allowed him to once again retake the lead, and now Petit-Breton, having come in sixth, found himself in second place.


Petit-Breton crashed in stage eleven while still in second place. Again he was unable to finish the Giro. Nor did he ever finish the Tour de France again, despite having been first to win it twice. In 1911 he abandoned the Tour after the first stage. In 1912 he made it to only the second stage. In the 1913 Tour, after a string of high placings and in second place, he left after the fourteenth stage. In 1914, he failed to finish the Giro’s first stage, and quit the Tour after stage nine.


While Galetti was admired as the strongest Italian in the Giro, Petit-Breton won unstinting admiration from Italian sportswriters. Emilio Colombo wrote this after the second stage (Florence–Genoa): “We stopped at Ostadia, a little distance before Arezzo, to have a drink. When we resumed we noticed a man who pedaled with a wonderful speed and suppleness. He was riding in a striking way. It was Petit-Breton who had left behind, bit by bit, every one of his companions.”


Costamagna, writing under the pseudonym “Magno”, wrote this about Petit-Breton after his stage eleven abandon:
“The best of the class. A superior man, of great class, a courageous and fair athlete; a perfect gentleman; a genial and kind man had won. After four hard-fought battles [the previous stages] he had proven that he was a strong man who could fight them all. This magnificent champion, truly an expression of the Latin race, had taken a triumph worthy of a hero.
“The judgment of most is inadequate. The race route had long, hard climbs and difficult descents. In the Mondovì–Turin stage he learned he was up against a coalition of the best Italian climbers. In one stage he also knew that his best defenses had come undone, going from first to last and had then in the final moment triumphed with a sprint worthy of a track champion.
“His elegant silhouette, an attractive figure of a lord competing with dignity on the field of professional glory and money was saluted everywhere with true sporting enthusiasm.
“The knight without blemish and without fear is fallen, gloriously fallen while battling.” (The last sentence is a reference to the great medieval French hero, Chevalier Bayard)


The eleventh stage, going from Bari in southeastern Italy to Naples in the west, was run over a course that could only be described as appalling. The atrocious roads often crossed streams that had to be forded. When the roads were dry, the dust was awful. The final indignity came when the peloton was chased by a herd of angry water buffalo, which in southern Italy are the source of milk for mozzarella cheese.


Tired, dirty and miserable, the riders decided to end the stage at Pompei, a few kilometers before the finish in Naples. The riders then made their way to the official finish line in Naples where thousands of fans celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Italy’s unification were waiting for a brilliant sprint finish. Disappointed at being deprived of the spectacle, they threw tomatoes at the riders.


After that small riot, it was determined that Galetti was still leading the General Classification and with Petit-Breton’s withdrawal, Rossignoli was now sitting in second place.


Ezio Corlaita won the final stage into Rome, but Galetti, who came in sixth that day, became the Giro’s first two-time winner. His Bianchi teammate Rossignoli would again have won if the standings had been calculated using time instead of points. This time Rossignoli’s elapsed time was 34 minutes better than Galetti’s.

Team Bianchi

Bianchi was the winning team


Final 1911 Giro d’Italia General Classification:
1. Carlo Galetti (Bianchi): 50 points, 132 hours 24 minutes
2. Giovanni Rossignoli (Bianchi): 58
3. Giovanni Gerbi (independent): 84
4. Giuseppe Santhià (Fiat): 86
5. Ezio Corlaita (Peugeot): 89