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Italy still searching for individual Giro stage win

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) wins Giro d'Italia stage two ahead of Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad).

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) wins Giro d'Italia stage two ahead of Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad). (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Italy has set a record you probably won’t find it boasting about at this year’s Giro d’Italia: nine stages without a single individual stage win to one of its riders. The new win-less run replaces the previous streak from 1973, when Gianni Motta gave Italians something to cheer about on stage six after Belgians Eddy Merckx, Roger de Vlaeminck, Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck and Dutch rider Gerben Karstens shared the spoils from the first five stages.

The difference in 2010 is that Italian fans have at least already had reason to celebrate, thanks to Liquigas-Doimo’s team time trial victory and Vincenzo Nibali’s time in the maglia rosa. That success would make it unfair – and frankly downright disrespectful – to describe the Italians’ performance as unsuccessful at their home Grand Tour, yet the lack of individual success is no less of a notable turn of events.

A decade ago, as Stefano Garzelli rode towards his overall Giro d’Italia win, he shared with his compatriots 13 of the possible 21 stage victories. It’s ironic that in that edition Dave McKenzie became just the fourth Australian to win a Giro stage behind Phil Anderson, Michael Wilson and Alan Peiper, yet this year alone three Australians have joined the list of Giro stage winners: Cadel Evans, Matthew Lloyd and Matthew Goss.

Victories by riders from Great Britain, Denmark, Australia, Belgium and the United States of America could be attributed to many different factors, including the sport’s globalisation. Whatever the case, Italian fans may have to wait for the return to mountain stages before seeing an individual stage win by one of its riders, with top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi having withdrawn from the event due to bronchitis.

While he’s certainly not the only Italian sprinter in the Giro field, Petacchi is the man who has given the nation its first individual stage win in no fewer than fourth editions of the race. He was the first Italian stage winner in both 2003 and 2004, a feat he repeated again in 2007 and last year’s edition.

Should the race return to the mountain stages before the nation’s riders notch up an individual stage victory, it could be someone like Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego or Michele Scarponi to secure Italy its first individual stage win. Regardless of who gets its first win and when it comes, it will be the one record Italians will hope to never better at the Giro.

Below is a list of the first Italian to win a stage of each Giro d'Italia, with the stage number in brackets after the rider's name.

2009 Alessandro Petacchi (Stage 2)
2008 Riccardo Ricco (Stage 2)
2007 Alessandro Petacchi (Stage 3)
2006 Paolo Savoldelli (Stage 1)
2005 Paolo Bettini (Stage 1)
2004 Alessandro Petacchi (Stage 1)
2003 Alessandro Petacchi (Stage 1)
2002 Mario Cipollini (Stage 1)
2001 Elli Rastelli (Stage 1)
2000 Ivan Quaranta (Stage 1)
1999 Ivan Quaranta (Stage 1)
1998 Mariano Piccoli (Stage 1)
1997 Mario Cipollini (Stage 1)
1996 Silvio Martinello (Stage 1)
1995 Mario Cipollini (Stage 1)
1994 Endrio Leoni (Stage 1a)
1993 Moreno Argentin (Stage 1a)
1992 Endrio Leoni (Stage 1)
1991 Gianni Bugno (Stage 2a)
1990 Gianni Bugno (Prologue)
1989 Stefano Giuliani (Stage 5)
1988 Guido Bontempi (Stage 2)
1987 Roberto Visentini (Prologue)
1986 Sergio Santimaria (Stage 1)
1985 Francesco Moser (Prologue)
1984 Francesco Moser (Prologue)
1983 Guido Bontempi (Stage 2)
1982 Giuseppe Saronni (Stage 1)
1981 Guido Bontempi (Stage 1a)
1980 Francesco Moser (Prologue)
1979 Francesco Moser (Prologue)
1978 Giuseppe Saronni (Stage 2)
1977 Luciano Borgognoni (Stage 2b)
1976 Francesco Moser (Stage 4)
1975 Giovanni Battaglin (Stage 3)
1974 Pierino Gavazzi (Stage 5)
1973 Gianni Motta (Stage 6)
1972 Marino Basso (Stage 1)
1971 Marino Basso (Stage 2)
1970 Franco Bitossi (Stage 1)
1969 Giancarlo Polidori (Stage 1)
1968 Gianni Motta (Stage 2)
1967 Giorgio Zancanaro (Stage 1)
1966 Vito Taccone (Stage 1)
1965 Michele Dancelli (Stage 1)
1964 Vittorio Adorni (Stage 1)
1963 Vittorio Adorni (Stage 1)
1962 Dino Liviero (Stage 1)
1961 Oreste Magni (Stage 4)
1960 Dino Bruni (Stage 1)
1959 Armando Pelegrini (Stage 4)
1958 Ercole Baldini (Stage 2)
1957 Alessandro Fantini (Stage 5)
1956 Pierino Baffi (Stage 1)
1955 Guido Messina (Stage 1)
1954 Fausto Coppi (Stage 1)
1953 Pasquale Fornara (Stage 2)
1952 Giorgio Albani (Stage 1)
1951 Antonio Bevilacqua (Stage 2)
1950 Oreste Conte (Stage 1)
1949 Mario Fazio (Stage 1)
1948 Giordano Cottur (Stage 1)
1947 Renzo Zanazzi (Stage 1)
1946 Giordano Cottur (Stage 1)
1940 Olimpio Bizzi (Stage 1)
1939 Vasco Bergamaschi (Stage 1)
1938 Marco Cimatti (Stage 1)
1937 Nello Troggi (Stage 1)
1936 Giuseppe Olmo (Stage 1)
1935 Vasco Bergamaschi (Stage 1)
1934 Francesco Camusso (Stage 1)
1933 Learco Guerra (Stage 1)
1932 Learco Guerra (Stage 1)
1931 Learco Guerra (Stage 1)
1930 Michele Mara (Stage 1)
1929 Gaetano Belloni (Stage 1)
1928 Domenico Piemontesi (Stage 1)
1927 Alfredo Binda (Stage 1)
1926 Domenico Piemontesi (Stage 1)
1925 Pietro Linari (Stage 1)
1924 Bartolomeo Aimo (Stage 1)
1923 Costante Girardengo (Stage 1)
1922 Gaetano Belloni (Stage 1)
1921 Costante Girardengo (Stage 1)
1920 Giuseppe Olivieri (Stage 1)
1919 Costante Girardengo (Stage 1)
1914 Angelo Gremo (Stage 1)
1913 Giuseppe Santhia (Stage 1)
1912 Giovanni Micheletto (Stage 1)
1911 Carlo Galetti (Stage 1)
1910 Ernesto Azzini (Stage 1)
1909 Dario Beni (Stage 1)

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