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The Giro d'Italia is the cooler, tougher brother of the Tour de France. First staged in 1909, and only pausing for two World Wars, its hundredth edition takes place in 2017.
Inspired by L'Auto's improved circulation figures after establishing France's Grand Tour, the Gazzetta dello Sport saw an opportunity to outdo its rival paper, the Corriere della Sera, by organising its own race. From its first years the Giro pushed riders to their limits with brutal climbs, treacherous road conditions, appalling weather and epic distances. Time has changed the Giro to a degree, but it remains as ferociously testing – and as beloved of cycling's romantics – as ever.
All the winners are covered: from the first victors Luigi Ganna and Carlo Galetti, to the likes of Alfredo Binda, Costante Girardengo and Gino Bartali, past the legends of Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx, on to Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani, and then right up to today's champions Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador. The history of the Giro is the history of cycling's superstars.
The battles for supremacy, the controversies and skulduggery, the fame and the glory, and the iconic stages all feature. In Corsa Rosa, Gallagher skillfully combines history, anecdote and analysis to bring this ultimate test of endurance vividly to life.