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The tale of the Gran Piemonte told through the deeds of 5 champions: Gianni Bugno

27/09/2021

“I was not a good climber, I was not a good sprinter, I was not a good time trialist, either. I did what I could. I certainly could not ride a bike. I just tried to do what everybody else did: stay as balanced as possible, so as not to fall.”

This is what Gianni Bugno said of himself in his recent autobiography.

Despite his modesty, Bugno was a top‑notch champion, with a record career achievement that included one Giro d’Italia, one Milano-Sanremo, one Tour of Flanders, four stage wins at the Tour de France, one Milano‑Torino and a legendary double win at the 1991 and 1992 World Championships.

That’s why we felt our tale of the history of the GranPiemonte should rightfully end with him, to remember once again how outstanding the winners of this race have been, from 1906, the first year, to this day.

Admittedly, we forgot to mention something in the prize list above: the 1986 Giro del Piemonte.

As we said, the year was 1986.

Bugno had turned professional in September, one year before, with Atala. In March, already, he masterfully sealed his first Pro victory at the Giro del Friuli. On his maiden Giro, in May, he finished in 41st overall.
In June, he won the Giro dell’Appennino, outsprinting no less than Francesco Moser, who was in the final years of his career.

On October 16, he entered his maiden Giro del Piemonte. It was a route of 206 km, starting and finishing in Novara, with a pan‑flat finale that would come down to a fast finish, if nobody had managed to kick clear before.

Remembering his victory at the Giro dell’Appennino, Bugno held on and managed to stay in the lead group. He knew that, in doing so, he could stand a chance of fighting for victory in the race finale.

And that was it. Sprinting down the home straight, he beat the French Bernard by a bike’s length and Grimani by half a wheel’s length, hence winning his first (and only) Giro del Piemonte.

All the extraordinary achievements that we have mentioned before – the World Championships, the monument classics and much more – would follow. However, it’s also nice remembering one of the first accomplishments of such a great yet modest champion, right here, at the race that now goes under the name of GranPiemonte.

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