Italian Racers Abroad
Italians whose families emigrated to other countries also feature prominently in the list of motor racing champions:
2. Motorcycle Racing
Motorcycle racing is another Italian sport that attracts legions of fans both on the field and on television. Italy takes pride in producing some of the best racing motorcycles in the world. Top manufacturers include Aprilia, Benelli, Bimota, Cagiva, Ducati, Ghezzi & Brian, Gilera, Laverda, Magni, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta and NCR. Of these, Ducati is arguably the most recognizable brand, having amassed more Superbike World Championship wins than any other manufacturer.
The world championship motorcycle racing Grand Prix began in 1949 in France. Top riders from every country compete in the annual FIM World Championship series. Italy and Spain boast the largest number of motorcycle racing fans, perhaps because of their dominance of the sport in recent years.
The Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix is part of the Grand Prix motorcycle-racing season. The race was initially held at Monza, but from 1972 rotated through a number of circuits until finding a permanent home at Mugello in 1994.
The all-time best performer in the motorcycle Grand Prix is an Italian named Giacomo Agostini, with 15 titles and 122 wins to his name. Number two is Valentino Rossi, currently regarded as the undisputed champion of the motorcycling world. Rossi has won six Moto GP titles and has a total of 105 wins. Other winners include: Max Biaggi (42 wins), Carlo Ubbiali (39), Luca Cadalora (34), Loris Capirossi (29), Eugenio Lazzarini (27), Pier Paolo Bianchi (27), Walter Villa (24) and Marco Melandri (22).
3. Bicycle Racing
Italy's premier cycling competition is the Giro d'Italia. The race is held in May each year and constitutes one of the three Grand Tours of cycling, along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. Established in the 1930s, this long distance cycling competition is held in stages over a three-week time frame. Professional cyclists from all over the world compete, but the Italian team has historically outperformed most of their competitors.
Italians have won more World Cycling Championships than any other country except Belgium. To date, Belgium has 25 gold medals, with a total of 47 medals in all three categories. Italy has 19 gold medals, with a total of 55 in all categories. One of the greatest Italian teams was Mapei, which ranked as the strongest UCI team in 1994-2000 and 2002. They won Paris-Roubaix five times, and in 1996, 1998 and 1999, claimed the first three places in that competition.
Italians have also won the Tour De France nine times. First staged in 1903, the Tour covers more than 3,600 kilometres (2,200 miles) and is the most prestigious of cycling's three Grand Tours. Ottavio Bottecchia was the first Italian to win the Tour in 1924, and again in 1925. Gino Bartali's victories were 10 years apart – in 1938 and 1948. Fausto Coppi won twice, in 1949 and 1952; in both years he also won the Giro d'Italia. Marco Contani also won the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in the same year, 1998.
Coppi - The Champion of Champions
Fausto Coppi's successes earned him the title Il Campionissimo, or champion of champions. He was an all-round racing cyclist: he excelled in both climbing and time trialing, and was also a great sprinter. He won the Giro d'Italia five times (in 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953), the Tour de France twice (1949 and 1952), and the World Road Championship in 1953. In 1942 he set a world hour record that was unbeaten for 14 years.
Coppi also won the Giro di Lombardia a record five times (1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1954), and the Milan-San Remo three times (1946, 1948 and 1949). In the 1946 Milan-San Remo he won by 14 minutes. He also won Paris-Roubaix and Belgium's La Flèche Wallonne in 1950. When Coppi won, the cyclist in second place was usually 10-15 minutes behind him. He remains Italy's greatest cyclist.
To learn more about Italian racing sports, you'll find a wealth of articles on Wikipedia.
Italy Travel Italy Trips Holidays to Italy Hotels in Italy Luxury Hotels Couch Surfing Walking Tour Bardolino Puglia Holidays Italy Photos Valley of the Temples 2 Valley of the Temples Holidays in Florence Tuscany Bicycle Tours Florence Photos Venice Tourist Attractions