Giovanni Battaglin

Giovanni Battaglin

Giovanni Battaglin (born 22 July 1951) is a former Italian professional road racing cyclist.He won both Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in 1981. This achievement is notable, because the Vuelta was running before Giro in those years, not in late August like today.

The 1973 Giro d’Italia that began in Verviers in Belgium and was Battaglin’s debut in a grand tour. Battaglin immediately showed promise when he finished third on stage four ahead of Eddy Merckx and José Manuel Fuente. By halfway through the race, Battaglin was sitting in second place overall behind Merckx but lost that placing to Felice Gimondi. Still at the age of 21, the neo-pro astonished the cycling world by finishing third in the race. Battaglin would wear the maglia rosa for five days in the 1975 Giro d’Italia as well as several stage wins and wins in smaller stage races. He also won the King of the Mountains jersey in the 1979 Tour de France, even after he received a penalty for testing positive for doping. Battaglin finished third in the 1980 Giro d’Italia.

The following year on the tenth stage mountain time trial of the 1981 Vuelta a España which was on the long climb to Sierra Nevada, Battaglin won the stage and took over the leader’s jersey. The only threat to Battaglin’s lead was Pedro Muñoz. Battaglin and his Inoxpran team withstood the challenge from the Spanish and brought Battaglin to his first grand tour victory. Three days later after Battalin’s triumph in Spain on 13 May 1981, he began the 1981 Giro d’Italia. On the 19th stage toward the end of the race, Battaglin won the stage to Mareo and took the maglia rosa from Silvano Contini. He withstood the final test – the final stage’s individual time trial to win the race in Verona ahead of Tommy Prim. Battaglin was only the second rider after Eddy Merckx to win the Vuelta-Giro double. In the space of one and a half months, Battaglin won two of the grand tours.

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