Two years of research and special donations have lead to the creation of the biggest ever collection of pink jerseys from the Giro d'Italia.
The so-called 'Giro for Ghisallo' collection has now reached 50 and was unveiled at the Ghisallo Museum, overlooking Lake Como in Italy. The maglia rosa is iconic in professional cycling and is awarded to the leader of the Giro d'Italia.
Thanks to support from race organiser RCS Sport, who promised a donation of 500 Euro for every maglia rosa collected, researchers Federico Meda and Davide Secchi were able to gather original pink jerseys worn in the race.
The collection includes pink jerseys worn by Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Francesco Moser, Gianni Motta, Eddy Merckx, Damiano Cunego, Roberto Visentini, Miguel Indurain, Ercole Baldini and Massimo Podenzana. This year's Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) also donated one of the pink jerseys he wore.
The success of the project is tinged with bitterness because of the recent death of Fiorenzo Magni - the former President of the museum and inspiration to the collection. Magni donated the first jersey and convinced fellow champions and friends to follow suit.
Donations came not only from big-name riders and overall winners of the Giro d'Italia but also from riders who wore the maglia rosa for only a single day in their entire career. Even if this was their greatest achievement, they decided to give it away for a good cause.
The first maglia rosa in Giro history was awarded in the 1931 edition of the race and worn by Learco Guerra. The jerseys donated to the Giro for Ghisallo project span every decade in which the maglia rosa was awarded. The hope is to find at least one jersey for each of the 77 editions of the race. So far there are six from the 1930’s and 40’s, 11 from the 1950’s and 60’s, 11 from the 70’s and 80’s and 22 for the last two decades.
The 50th and most recent jersey in the collection came from Pietro Santini who donated a jersey worn by Gilberto Simoni in 2003. Every jersey has a commemorative plaque with the rider who wore it, the year, the person who donated it and a short description of how the jersey was won.
Details of each of the 50 maglia rosa can be seen at the special website: www.giroforghisallo.gazzetta.it and on the Giro for Ghisallo Facebook page.