Giro d'Italia, History 0

Not a betrayal, just business: Roberto Visentini and Stephen Roche

Most people remember the 1987 Giro for the “polemica” between defending champion Roberto Visentini and his teammate (and eventual winner) Stephen Roche of Ireland. After the Italian won the prologue, and Dutchman Eric Breukink took stage 1a, Roche won stage 1b: a unique time trial DOWN the famous Poggio descent into San Remo.

The two later took the stage 3 team time trial with the Carrera squad with Roche claiming the pink jersey. He suffered a bad fall at the end of stage 10 and was frustrated as teammate Visentini rode past and offered no assistance.


Bruised and battered, but still in the Maglia Rosa, he faced 46 kilometers, mainly uphill, on the Stage 13 time trial to San Marino in the Emilia-Romagna wine region. Visentini, reputed to be a bit of a playboy with suspect motivation, was nevertheless immensely talented.


On this day he was brilliant, and absolutely turned the race upside down, winning by over a minute and putting nearly three into the injured 12th place Roche, handily reclaiming pink in the process. He would not keep it, however (see post 108) as Roche (with some mountain assistance from Scot Robert Millar of the Panasonic team) would recover, but that my friends, is a story for another day!


The Giro returns to this region in 2019 on May 19th, again for a time trial and again one that climbs: from sea level to over 600 meters at the finish. This stage (9), as in 1987, could also have a huge impact on the race. The 34.7 kilometer test, from Riccione to San Marino, is being hailed as the Sangiovese Wine TT and commemorated by a gorgeous deep red Castelli jersey.


Photo: Castelli Archive, Roberto Bettini.

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