One of the coolest things about Italy is how fanatic their people are over cycling. Yeah they are not quite as crazy as the French cycling fans but they definitely are more knowledgeable then the average American. Many Americans can name only 1 professional cyclist in the entire World and that would be Lance Armstrong.
There have been countless Italian born cyclists born over the years but one of my favorite Italian cyclists of all-time --Alfredo Binda -- an Italian cyclist who was an active racer in the 1920s and 1930s.
He was the first Italian cyclist to capture the Italian public’s attention with his amazing feats at the Giro D’Italia. Alfredo won the Giro-D’Italia 5 times! No other rider has won more Giro D’Italia titles although one other rider has since tied Alfredo Binda with 5 wins.
He was so dominant in the Giro-D’ Italia that he was paid cash to NOT enter the Giro D'Italia Italia bike race in 1930. Binda accepted the money and raced in the Tour De France in 1930 and won 2 stages.
Binda had won a total of 41 stages at the Giro. The 41 stages won at the biggest bike race in Italy was not surpassed until 2003. Alfredo Binda was one of the greatest cyclists of his time and if he was to have been alive and competed today he would have probably dominated almost every cyclist in the World that is racing today. A man with the cycling talent of Alfredo Binda combined with the modern cycling equipment would make him a definitely force to be contended with.
On Private Italy Tours it is common to have cyclists aboard who are curious about the history of cycling. fortunately the average citizen in Italy has much more knowledge then the layman in the United States.
The one place that Binda would struggle if he was racing today would be with teamwork. Back in the 20’s and 30’s a lot of the racers were pretty much operating on their own program and racers like Lance Armstrong never would have had the chance to win. Today’s cyclists focus their team around a particular racer and then they all world towards having that racer win at all costs.
Alfredo Binda won his last Giro championship in style. Alfredo Binda started off leading the pack of racers and never lost his lead. Alfredo Binda was able to lead the entire Giro D’Italia from start t finish! That is amazing and something that will probably never ever be duplicated again.
If you ever go on a Tuscany Tour of Italy then you will see many of the places that have been made famous by cyclists in the modern day Giro D'Italia.