Let It Snow

In the year 1965, the 48th edition of the Giro d’Italia took place. At the start in San Marino a total of 100 riders took off. The race was soon dominated by the Italian rider Vittorio Adorni. He won stage six and was leading the general classification. He lost the pink jersey after two stages. Stage thirteen was a individual time trial. Adorni won the trial, also taking over the first place in the general classification again. In the next mountain stages, he built up his lead to more than 11 minutes. This was quite impressive. On the 4th of June, the final mountain stage was on the programme. The famous Passo di Stelvio had to be climbed. This mountain is 2758 metres high and is always a risk to include, because there is still a chance of bad weather on this mountain in May and June. Two days before the stage, the organisation already announced that the finish would be on the Stelvio itself, therefore excluding the descent. It was too dangerous for the riders to go downhill on the slippery road. On the day itself it was snowing and very cold. People on the mountain brought snow shovels with them to shove the snow off the road. Through walls of snow, the riders had to find their way up to the top of the mountain.

Graziano Battistini and Ugo Colombo were leading the race, three minutes ahead of the group with the favorites. At a certain moment, Battistini left Colombo behind. It was snowing heavily and he could not see much. Colombo was just ten seconds behind him, so he knew that he had to keep on moving.

Just three hundred metres before the finish, snow was sliding all over the road and Battistini was pushed forward by people on the road. He tried to ride his bike, but on a certain moment he had to stop. He walked with his bike to the finish and won the heroic stage. He is also the first winner of the Cima Coppi, a prize for the first rider to cross the highest point of the Giro.

The group behind Battistini and Colombo finished – walking – after more than three minutes. Snow was blocking the roads and riders had to climb over them to get to the finish. In this group was also Adorni. He knew that with only two flat stages to go, it was almost impossible to not win this Giro. And so he did. Adorni won the Giro d’Italia in 1965. With the memory of one snowy day on the Passo di Stelvio.

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