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1954 Giro d'Italia

1954 Giro d'Italia
Race details
Dates21 May - 13 June 1954
Distance4,337 km (2,695 mi)
Winning time129h 13' 07"
Winner  Carlo Clerici (SUI) (Guerra)
  Second  Hugo Koblet (SUI) (Guerra)
  Third  Nino Assirelli (ITA) (Arbos)

  Mountains  Fausto Coppi (ITA) (Bianchi)
  Sprints  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL) (Girardengo)
  Team Girardengo
← 1953
1955 →

The 1954 Giro d'Italia was the 37th edition of the Giro d'Italia, one of cycling's Grand Tours. The Giro started off in Palermo on 21 May with a 36 km (22.4 mi) team time trial and concluded in Milan with a 222 km (137.9 mi) relatively flat mass-start stage on 13 June. Fifteen teams entered the race, which was won by Swiss Carlo Clerici of the Welter team. Second and third respectively were Swiss rider Hugo Koblet and Italian Nino Assirelli.[1][2]

1954 Giro d'Italia promotional postcard


Fifteen teams were invited by the race organizers to participate in the 1954 edition of the Giro d'Italia.[3] The organizers invited neighboring countries to gather a squad of riders to send to compete in the race.[4] Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland all entered a team, while France was offered a spot in the race and accepted, but could not form a team in time.[4] Each team sent a squad of seven riders,[5] which meant that the race started with a peloton of 105 cyclists.[3] From the riders that began the race, 67 made it to the finish in Milan.[6]

The teams entering the race were:[3][6][7][8]

Pre-race favorites

Fausto Coppi (Bianchi) was seen as the clear–cut favorite, because of the strength of his supporting team.[9][4][10] Coppi's greatest challenger was thought to be Hugo Koblet (Cilo).[4][9] Koblet entered the race in what was regarded as not great form, but if he were to gain his form in the race, then his chances of victory would be large.[4] A La Sentinelle writer felt that Koblet's presence made the competition interesting as it felt no other rider could challenge Coppi.[9] Koblet was thought to have a better support from his team relative to the past couple of years and was expected to contend for the general classification.[11]

Outside candidates included Fiorenzo Magni (Nivea) who would normally be considered a more legitimate contender; however, he was recovering from a fall in the one–day race Roma–Napoli–Roma.[9] Roma-Napoli-Roma winner Bruno Monti (Arbos) and Pasquale Fornara (Bottecchia) were seen as other challengers.[4] "Old" three–time champion Gino Bartali (Bartali) lined up to race while being supported by his usual domestiques Corrieri and Bresci.[9]

While noting that the Giro had been primarily won by Italian riders, Feuille d'Avis Valaisan felt the teams with Belgians, Spanish, and Swiss teams would have a good chance to rival the Italian squads.[5] Nouvelliste Valasain writer even commented that a coalition of some sort exists between Italian riders against the foreign riders.[4] Girardengo-Eldorado riders Stan Ockers and Rik Van Steenbergen were seen as the best Belgian entrants.[4] Their Raymond Impanis was seen a potential threat, but due to disputes with their team director, his participation was questionable.[4] Heinz Müller was the German Clement team's best chance.[4] The Dutch team Locomotief was thought to be filled with good climbers and rouleurs with the likes of Wim Van Est, Wout Wagtmans, and the Voorting brothers Adrie and Gerrit.[4] The team was expected to do well in the opening team time trial.[4] Spanish Climber Jesus Loroño (Ideor) was seen as a contender in the mountains after his performance at the 1953 Tour de France, where he won as a stage and the Mountains classification.[4] Bernard Ruiz and Francisco Masip were two other Spanish riders to watch.[4] Fritz Schär (Guerra) was seen as a rider who would favor the intermediate sprints classification despite his recent poor performance at the Tour de Romandie.[4] Carlo Clerici (Welter) was thought to have "class and will."[4]

Notable absences included Ferdinand Kübler (Fiorelli) who had an ongoing dispute with the race organizers following his abandonment of the Giro the year before.[9] Louison Bobet (Mercier) was seen as a rider who could pose a threat to Coppi, but due to previous incidents of giving him up, he was not seen as a strong contender.[9]

Route and stages

The route's first fourteen stages were revealed on 25 February 1954,[12][13] amid speculation that Rome was not going to be included.[14][15] The rest was revealed on 6 May 1954.[16][17] The route included two time trials, one team and one individual,[9] and was the longest Giro as of 2023.[18] The inclusion of the team time trial was criticized as it was thought to give too much of an advantage to the wealthier teams.[4][9] In addition, the team time trial that year was held midway through the race and several teams were down men through disease or abandonment, which only further hindered teams.[4][10] To assuage this complaint of the teams, the team time trial stage was made first.[4][10] Critics felt that the route would be similar to year's past, where all the action would be in the closing days, citing the 20th and 21st stages as being the most difficult.[9][10] The press felt that the increased number of intermediate sprints would lead to more attacks throughout the stage ad help animate the race.[4] The race started in Palermo for the first time since 1949.[10]

Stage characteristics and results[6]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
1 21 May Palermo 36 km (22 mi) Team time trial Bianchi
2 22 May Palermo to Taormina 280 km (174 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Giuseppe Minardi (ITA)
3 23 May Reggio Calabria to Catanzaro 172 km (107 mi) Plain stage  Nino Defilippis (ITA)
4 24 May Catanzaro to Bari 352 km (219 mi) Plain stage  Angelo Conterno (ITA)
25 May Rest day
5 26 May Bari to Naples 279 km (173 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
6 27 May Naples to L'Aquila 252 km (157 mi) Plain stage  Carlo Clerici (SUI)
7 28 May L'Aquila to Rome 150 km (93 mi) Plain stage  Giorgio Albani (ITA)
8 29 May Rome to Chianciano Terme 195 km (121 mi) Plain stage  Giovanni Pettinati (ITA)
9 30 May Chianciano Terme to Florence 180 km (112 mi) Plain stage  Giovanni Corrieri (ITA)
10 31 May Florence to Cesenatico 211 km (131 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Pietro Giudici (ITA)
11 1 June Cesenatico to Abetone 230 km (143 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Mauro Gianneschi (ITA)
12 2 June Abetone to Genoa 251 km (156 mi) Plain stage  Hilaire Couvreur (BEL)
13 3 June Genoa to Turin 211 km (131 mi) Plain stage  Wout Wagtmans (NED)
14 4 June Turin to Brescia 240 km (149 mi) Plain stage  Annibale Brasola (ITA)
5 June Rest day
15 6 June Gardone Riviera to Riva del Garda 42 km (26 mi) Individual time trial  Hugo Koblet (SUI)
16 7 June Riva del Garda to Abano Terme 131 km (81 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
17 8 June Abano Terme to Padua 105 km (65 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
18 9 June Padua to Grado 177 km (110 mi) Plain stage  Adolfo Grosso (ITA)
19 10 June Grado to San Martino di Castrozza 247 km (153 mi) Plain stage  Wout Wagtmans (NED)
20 11 June San Martino di Castrozza to Bolzano 152 km (94 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Fausto Coppi (ITA)
21 12 June Bolzano to Saint Moritz (Switzerland) 222 km (138 mi) Stage with mountain(s)  Hugo Koblet (SUI)
22 13 June Saint Moritz (Switzerland) to Milan 222 km (138 mi) Plain stage  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL)
Total 4,337 km (2,695 mi)

Race overview

In the sixth stage, Carlo Clerici escaped and took the lead with a big margin.[19]

In the twentieth stage, Fausto Coppi won and took some time back. His fans were hoping that he would show more action on the twenty-first stage which included the Bernina Pass, but cyclists rode slowly as a form of protest against the racing conditions, taking almost ten hours to cover the 222 km stage; this event became known as the Bernina strike.[19] When the race ended in Milan the next day, angry supporters whistled at the cyclists. For his leading role in the strike, Coppi was given a two-months suspension, although this was later revoked.[20]

Classification leadership

One jersey was worn during the 1954 Giro d'Italia. The leader of the general classification – calculated by adding the stage finish times of each rider – wore a pink jersey. This classification is the most important of the race, and its winner is considered as the winner of the Giro.[21] The winner of the general classification received 72,000 francs.[9] In total 32,555,000 lire (then roughly 227,000 Swiss francs) was awarded.[9] Each day a rider wore the pink jersey, he would win 15,000 francs.[9] Each stage winner received 49,000 francs.[9] A green jersey was awarded to the best ranked foreign rider in the general classification, who also received a sum of money each day the jersey was awarded.[4]

The mountains classification awarded all awarded three points to the first rider and one point to the second rider to cross the summit of a categorized climb.[22] There was no leader's jersey awarded for this classification. The winner received 10,000 francs.[9] Although no jersey was awarded, there was also a classification for the teams, in which the teams were awarded points for their rider's performance during the stages in the intermediate sprints.

In the gran premio traguardi volanti or intermediate sprint classification points were awarded at designated sprint locations throughout each stage's route and at the stage finishes.[23] In total there were 64 designated sprint points throughout the race.[4] Points were awarded to the first three riders to pass through the assigned point: first received five points, second received three points, and third received one point.[4][23] The winner of each sprint will receive 650 francs,[4] while the overall classification winner received 81,000 francs.[9] The leader of this classification wore a white jersey.[4]

Classification leadership by stage
Stage Winner General classification
A pink jersey
Mountains classification Team classification
1 Bianchi Fausto Coppi not awarded Bianchi
2 Giuseppe Minardi Giuseppe Minardi Giuseppe Minardi Legnano
3 Nino Defilippis Guerra
4 Angelo Conterno Girardengo
5 Rik Van Steenbergen Gerrit Voorting
6 Carlo Clerici Carlo Clerici
7 Giorgio Albani
8 Giovanni Pettinati
9 Giovanni Corrieri
10 Pietro Giudici Giuseppe Minardi & Primo Volpi
11 Mauro Gianneschi Mauro Gianneschi, Giuseppe Minardi & Primo Volpi
12 Hilaire Couvreur
13 Wout Wagtmans
14 Annibale Brasola
15 Hugo Koblet
16 Rik Van Steenbergen
17 Rik Van Steenbergen
18 Adolfo Grosso
19 Wout Wagtmans
20 Fausto Coppi Fausto Coppi
21 Hugo Koblet
22 Rik Van Steenbergen
Final Carlo Clerici Fausto Coppi Girardengo

Final standings

  Pink jersey   Denotes the winner of the General classification

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)[6][23][24]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Carlo Clerici (SUI) Pink jersey Guerra 129h 13' 7"
2  Hugo Koblet (SUI) Guerra + 24' 16"
3  Nino Assirelli (ITA) Arbos + 26' 28"
4  Fausto Coppi (ITA) Bianchi + 31' 17"
5  Giancarlo Astrua (ITA) Atala + 33' 09"
6  Fiorenzo Magni (ITA) Nivea + 34' 01"
7  Gerrit Voorting (NED) Locomotief + 35' 05"
8  Pasquale Fornara (ITA) Bottecchia + 36' 21"
9  Fritz Schär (SUI) Guerra + 40' 51"
10  Angelo Conterno (ITA) Fréjus + 41' 07"

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–8)[6][22]
Name Team Points
1  Fausto Coppi (ITA) Bianchi 6
2  Giancarlo Astrua (ITA) Atala 5
3  Primo Volpi (ITA) Arbos 3
 Mauro Gianneschi (ITA) Arbos
 Vincenzo Rossello (ITA) Nivea
 Angelo Conterno (ITA) Fréjus
7  Pasquale Fornara (ITA) Bottecchia 2
8  Gerrit Voorting (NED) Locomotief 1
 Adolfo Grosso (ITA) Atala
 Nino Defilippis (ITA) Torpado
 Jesus Loroño (ESP) Ideor

Intermediate sprints classification[edit]

Final intermediate sprints classification (1–8)[23][24][25]
Name Team Points
1  Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL) Girardengo 113
2  Rino Benedetti (ITA) Legnano 45
3  Giorgio Albani (ITA) Legnano 42
4  Guido De Santi (ITA) Bottecchia 29
5  Adolfo Grosso (ITA) Atala 25
6  Giovanni Pettinati (ITA) Torpado 20
7  Giovanni Corrieri (ITA) Bartali 19
8  Renzo Soldani (ITA) Doniselli 18
 Hilaire Couvreur (BEL) Girardengo
 Renato Ponzini (ITA) Arbos

Team classification

Final team classification (1–10)[24][26]
Team Points
1 Girardengo 152
2 Legnano 101
3 Bottecchia 71
4 Arbos 61
5 Torpado 47
6 Bianchi 45
7 Atala 43
8 Locomotif 40
9 Doniselli-Lansetina 34
10 Nivea-Fuchs 30


Following the race, a Nouvelliste Valaisan writer described how non-Italian riders dominated the race by winning 11 of the 22 stage, while having 35 foreigners riding to 75 Italians starting the race.[27] The writer acknowledged that some critics felt Italian cycling was beginning to decline as the "Big Three" Bartali, Coppi, and Magni would be soon exiting the sport;[27][28] however, the writer noted that Giancarlo Astrua, Nino Defilippis, Pasquale Fornara, among others would help maintain Italian cycling's presence.[27] In particular, the writer felt the younger riders attacked more and forced the older riders out of their reserves quicker than expected.[27] The writer concluded that the Swiss riders have earned respect from their peers and become favorites entering races now, while stating that the Swiss riders that will contest the upcoming Tour de France will have a lengthy time off to rest before its start because of the 1954 FIFA World Cup.[27] A Nouvelliste Valaisan writer wrote that large attacks were expected on the 21st stage which featured the Bernina pass; however, the attacks did not come, which at the time they speculated it was due to fatigue of the riders.[29] Due to the low effort by the riders and slow stage speed, race organizers cut the prize money on the stage by half.[30] Later this inaction by the peloton on the 21st stage became known as the "Bernina strike."[19] Another Nouvelliste Valaisan writer described the collective performance by the Swiss riders as the best in the nation's history at the Giro, as three finished in the top 12 of the general classification.[29]



  1. ^ "Dos suizos y un belga" [Two Swiss and a Belgian] (PDF) (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 14 June 1954. p. 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Dos suizos y un belga" [Two Swiss and a Belgian] (PDF) (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 14 June 1954. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "I partecipanti" [Participants]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 21 May 1954. p. 8. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y E.U. (20 May 1954). "le Tour d'Italie cycliste" [The Cycling Tour of Italy] (PDF). Nouvelliste Valaisan (in French). p. 7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2019 – via RERO.
  5. ^ a b "Aujourd'hui débute le Tour d'Italie" [Today begins the Tour of Italy] (PDF). Feuille d'Avis du Valais (in French). 21 May 1954. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2019 – via RERO.
  6. ^ a b c d e Bill and Carol McGann. "1954 Giro d'Italia". Bike Race Info. Dog Ear Publishing. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  7. ^ "Fausto Coppi al comando della classifica dopo la prima tappa del Giro d'Italia" [Fausto Coppi leading the standings after the first stage of the Tour of Italy] (PDF). La Stampa (in Italian). Editrice La Stampa. 22 May 1954. p. 4. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  8. ^ Attilio Camoriano (22 May 1954). "La Bianchi vince la tappa a cronometro e il "campionissimo,, si veste già di rosa" [The Bianchi won the time trial stage and the "champion" is already pink dress] (PDF). l'Unità (in Italian). PCI. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Dès vendredi, Koblet et Coppi s'affronteront dans le Giro" [From Friday, Koblet and Coppi will compete in the Giro] (PDF). La Sentinelle (in French). 20 May 1954. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2019 – via RERO.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Les plus grands noms du cyclisme au départ du Tour d'Italie" [The biggest names in cycling at the start of the Giro d'Italia] (PDF). L'Impartial (in French). 21 May 1954. p. 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2019 – via RERO.
  11. ^ "L'équipe suisse au Tour d'Italie" [The Swiss team in the Tour of Italy] (PDF). Confédéré (in French). 21 May 1954. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2019 – via RERO.
  12. ^ "Roma esclusa dal Giro d'Italia" [Rome excluded from the Tour of Italy]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 26 February 1954. p. 1 & 6. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Le prime 14 tappe del Giro d'Italia" [The first fourteen stages of the Tour of Italy] (PDF). l'Unità (in Italian). PCI. 26 February 1954. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  14. ^ Ennio Mantella (23 February 1954). "Roma senza "Giro"?" [Rome without "Giro"?]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). p. 1 & 6. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  15. ^ "A Roma i "Mondiali" di ciclismo il "Giro" saltera invece l'Urbe?" [In Rome the "World Cup" of cycling the "Giro" will jump instead Urbe?]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 24 February 1954. p. 1 & 5. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Il completo percorso del Giro d'Italia verra reso noto domani" [The complete course of the Giro d'Italia will be announced tomorrow]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 5 May 1954. p. 1 & 4. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Il Giro d'Italia sviluppera 4329 chilometria" [The Giro d'Italia will develop 4329 kilometers]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 7 May 1954. p. 6. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  18. ^ van den Akker, Pieter (2023). Giro d'Italia rules and statistics. p. 6. ISBN 979-8863173719.
  19. ^ a b c "1954 Giro d'Italia". McGann publishing. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  20. ^ Maloney, Tim (8 January 2004). "Tales from the classic peloton, January 8, 2004". Cyclingnews. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  21. ^ Laura Weislo (13 May 2008). "Giro d'Italia classifications demystified". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Koblet 1 a Saint Moritz" [Koblet 1st in Saint Moritz] (PDF). Stampa Sera (in Italian). Editrice La Stampa. 12 June 1954. p. 9. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  23. ^ a b c d Attilio Camoriano (14 June 1954). "A Carlo Clerici il 37 Giro ciclistico d'Italia" [A Carlo Clerici 37th Cycling Tour of Italy] (PDF). l'Unità (in Italian). PCI. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  24. ^ a b c "I distacchi dalla maglia rosa" [The distances from the pink jersey] (PDF). Stampa Sera (in Italian). Editrice La Stampa. 14 June 1954. p. 5. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Classifica generale individuale T. V." [Individual T.V. classification]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 14 June 1954. p. 11. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Classifica a squadre dei traguardi volanti" [Ranked teams of sprints]. Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 14 June 1954. p. 11. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  27. ^ a b c d e E.U. (14 June 1954). "Apres le Tour d'Italie cycliste" [After the cycling Tour of Italy] (PDF). Nouvelliste Valaisan (in French). p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2019 – via RERO.
  28. ^ "Le Giro a pris fin sur un double succes suisse" [The Giro ended on a Swiss double success] (PDF). Le Rhône (in French). 15 June 1954. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2019 – via RERO.
  29. ^ a b "Le Tour d'Italie cycliste Triomphe final de Clerici" [The Cycling Tour of Italy Clerici's final triumph] (PDF). Nouvelliste Valaisan (in French). 15 June 1950. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2019 – via RERO.
  30. ^ "Carlo Clerici remporte le Tour d'Italie devant Hugo Koblet" [Carlo Clerici wins the Giro d'Italia ahead of Hugo Koblet] (PDF). La Sentinelle (in French). 14 June 1950. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2019 – via RERO.


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1954 Giro d'Italia
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