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A book launch for Giro d’Italia: Fight for Pink, what is arguably the definitive data and historical guide to cycling’s second biggest stage race, was held on Wednesday at the Giro d’Italia press room in Verona.
Giro d’Italia: Fight For Pink is written, in English and Italian, by former race director Carmine Castellano, who ran the race for 14 years from 1992 to 2005, and it contains everything from the first time an Australian or Norwegian took part in the race to the history of the pink jersey itself.
Although Castellano has based his work on well-known data books on the Vuelta a España and Tour de France, this one goes one better on them in some areas - such as the section on the first ever rider from each nation to win a stage. (For Great Britain, for example it was Vin Denson in 1966 at Campobasso, whilst Knut Knudsen was the first Norwegian in 1975 at Fiorano.) There is also a special section on all the wins taken a tavolino - by commissaires’ arbitration - and another on all the cancelled stages, and even one on how many kilometres the Giro has raced in total - up to 2011, 333,950 kilometres. In short, all the minor details and footnotes have been included.
“It’s a labour of love, because there is no other book out there which contains so many statistics,” Castellano told Cyclingnews.
“It’s not that I’m a big fan of statistics, but I’m fascinated by the data that a major Tour can produce, just like the Tour has all of [Jacques] Augendre’s books, then there’s the Guida Estadistica in the Vuelta a España.
“I had a lot of information and material from my time as a director in any case, and when my friends at La Gazzetta dello Sport found out what was happening they rang up and offered their support, too.”
Apart from the statistical data, Castellano has also looked out and written up little-known stories of the Giro, such as the origins of the pink jersey - created in 1931, well after the race had started.
There’s also a section on the people who have sacrificed their lives for cycling, not just the riders who died, but also journalists, race officials and spectators who died in accidents during the race. It’s important to remember them, too.