One hundred years ago today, Gazzetta announced the first running of the Giro d'Italia. The first edition of the race took place the following May, in 1909.
In August 1908, the directors of Gazzetta dello Sport decided they wanted to promote a race like the Tour de France, which by then had run since 1903. They envisioned a bicycle tour that would cover as much as possible of Italian territory. This was, after all, an era of mass nationalism. Together with the Touring Club of Italy and the first bicycle manufacturer in Italy, Bianchi, the directors of Gazzetta decided to begin their project on 5 August 1908 at a meeting in Venezia.
At the time of its public announcement, the race had as yet no funding. Always, there was the risk that it would not actually occur. The first race had 8 stages and covered 3000 kilometers. It included the city of Napoli in the South and Milano in the North. Of the 127 starters on the 13 May, only 49 made it to the finish in Milano on 30 May. The winner, Luigi Ganna of Varese, took home 3000 lire for his effort. The entire budget for that first race totalled 25,000 lire.
This year's Giro will depart on 9 May, and will mark the 100th anniversary of its origin. It is, however, only the 92nd running, as two World Wars erupted to interrupt the festivities.