Giro del Trentino: 40 years of history, champions and prestige

In April 2016, the Giro del Trentino Melinda turns 40. It’s an important anniversary, that testifies the historical depth, the maturity and the prestige of one of the most fascinating races on the Italian and international cycling calendar. A 2.HC race, which will take place between 19 and 22 April, the Giro del Trentino Melinda is expected to deliver a spectacular edition, that’s going to use the same well-known format (one team time trial stage, one medium mountain day and two stages in the high mountains), which basically reflects the philosophy of the event: looking forward to the future with great respect for tradition.

It is not difficult to identify the reasons that are behind the growing success of the Giro del Trentino Melinda. The most important one is the passion of the GS Alto Garda organizers, animated by unforgettable figures like those of Guido Amistadi (the founder of the race) and Nerino Ioppi, who passed away recently, but was able to leave his strong heritage in terms of skills and human relations. Next Giro del Trentino Melinda will be dedicated to him.

What made the event successful and highly appreciated by riders and fans were the perfect schedule in the international calendar as well as the race format, with its balanced and tough courses, which are a great springboard for the Giro d’Italia, that follows shortly. Then is the technical value of the race, which brings to the forefront that special charm of the historical climbs and other ascents which are lesser known, but immediately found their way to the list of those most popular among climbers: Passo Santa Barbara, Punta Veleno, Passo Redebus, Sega di Ala. Finally, there is the magic that comes with the stunning scenery of a region abounding of mountains and roads well-suited to cycling.

Giro del Trentino also boasts an incomparable gallery of names who have left an important mark in each one of the previous editions: champions, “lieutenants” and teams who have their place in the history of the race. A Trentino native, Enzo Moser was the winner of the first edition, in 1962, when the event was a one-day race. Following that year, many other great names made their way on to the winner’s list: Francesco Moser, who was two victories to his name, just as Paolo Savoldelli, Francesco Casagrande and Vincenzo Nibali. The wins standings is topped by Damiano Cunego, the only rider to finish first on three occasions. Other important Italian cyclists to triumph were Roberto Visentini, Giuseppe Saronni, Franco Chioccioli,Claudio Corti, Gianni Bugno, Claudio Chiappucci, Maurizio Fondriest, Moreno Argentin, Gilberto Simoni, Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi and Domenico Pozzovivo.

The Giro del Trentino has always enjoyed a resounding international line. Just about the winners, the first success of a foreign cyclist goes back to 1979, when the Norwegian Knut Knudsen took the final victory. Then it was the turn of the Austrian Maier (1985), of the Swiss Zimmermann (1988), the French Leblanc(1997), the Mexican Perez Cuapio (2005), the Kazakh Vinokourov (2010) and the Australians Cadel Evans(2014) and Richie Porte (2015), who have won the previous two editions.

There’s also the fact that five riders have been able to win the Giro del Trentino Melinda and the Giro d’Italia in the same season: Gianni Bugno in 1990, Gilberto Simoni in 2003, Damiano Cunego in 2004, Michele Scarponi in 2011 (after the disqualification of Alberto Contador from the latter) and Vincenzo Nibali in 2013.

With this background and the organizers already in full swing, there is no doubt that the 40th anniversary of the Giro del Trentino Melinda will be a memorable one for the entire cycling world.