Alfredo Binda

Alfredo Binda
Personal information
Born (1902-08-11)11 August 1902
Cittiglio, Italy
Died 19 July 1986(1986-07-19) (aged 83)
Cittiglio, Italy
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Climber, classics specialist
Professional team(s)
1922 Nice Sport
1923–1924 La Française
1925–1927 Legnano
1928 Legnano/Mifa
1929–1936 Legnano
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
2 individual stages (1930)
Giro d'Italia
General Classification
(1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1933)
Mountains Classification (1933)
41 individual stages (19251933)

One-day races and Classics

World Road Race Championship
(1927, 1930, 1932)
National Road Race Championship
(1926, 1927, 1928, 1929)
Milan–San Remo (1929, 1931)
Giro di Lombardia
(1925, 1926, 1927, 1931)
Giro del Piemonte (1926, 1927)

Alfredo Binda (11 August 1902 – 19 July 1986)[1][2] was an Italian cyclist of the 1920s and 1930s. He was the first to win five editions of the Giro d'Italia, and a three-time world champion. In addition he won Milan–San Remo twice, and the Tour of Lombardy four times.

Later he would manage the Italian National team. Under him, Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali and Gastone Nencini all triumphed at the Tour de France.

Early life

Binda was born in Cittiglio near Varese but moved to Nice, in southern France as a teenager. He found work with his uncle as an apprentice plasterer, but he and brother Primo spent their free time cycling. He began racing in September 1921, aged 19. He won his first race (though he was subsequently disqualified) and it was clear from the outset that he was immensely gifted as both time trialist and climber.

Binda was a trained trumpet player, and was nicknamed "Trombettiere di Cittiglio" ("The Trumpeter of Cittiglio").[3]

Cycling career

Enticed by a 500 lire King of the Mountains prize on the Ghisallo climb, Binda rode from Nice to Milan in order to compete in the 1924 Tour of Lombardy. He won the prize, finished fourth in the race, and was immediately offered a contract with the Legnano professional team.

The 1925 Giro d'Italia was to be the last of the legendary campionissimo Costante Girardengo. All of Italy hoped he would prevail, and his defeat at the hands of Binda, a 23-year-old Giro debutant, was deeply unpopular. In the event Girardengo resolved to continue racing, and the two of them developed a caustic, deeply personal rivalry. As Girardengo's powers waned, Italians looked to Domenico Piemontesi to usurp Binda but, much like everyone else, he was hopelessly out of his depth against the fuoriclasse.

In 1929 Girardengo "discovered" a prodigiously strong track rider from Veneto, Learco Guerra. He famously anointed him as his heir apparent, a new "anti-Binda". Guerra closely resembled Girardengo as a cyclist, and was hugely popular. He enjoyed the support of the Italian Fascist Party, and by extension the press and wider sporting public. Binda, on the other hand, famously declared that he'd no interest in producing spettacolo. Rather he was simply in the business of winning bike races, and each time he defeated Guerra the Italian public's antipathy grew. Whilst Guerra was homespun, expansive and open, Binda was perceived as cold and detached, pompous even.

So dominant was he that the Gazzetta dello Sport offered him 22,500 lire to miss the Giro of 1930. Instead, he took part in that year's Tour de France, winning two stages. Not until 1932, when he won a third Cycling World Championship in Rome, did the public start to warm to him. By then he had redefined both training and racing methodology, and was inarguably the greatest cyclist ever to have lived.

All told he won the Giro a record five times in 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1933 (1933 was also the first year the Giro held a "King of the Mountains" competition, which Binda won too). Besides the overall victories he won 41 stages (a record only broken in 2003 by Mario Cipollini). In 1927, he won 12 out of 15 stages, and in 1929 he won 8 consecutive stages.

In the World Championships, Binda was also very successful. He won the title three times in 1927, 1930 and 1932 (a record later equalled by Rik Van Steenbergen, Eddy Merckx and Óscar Freire). In addition, he placed third in 1929. By the time he retired he had won over 120 races, including the Italian Championships four times.

Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda is named in his honor.[4]

Binda at the 1927 Giro d'Italia

Major results


Giro d'Italia:
Winner overall classification
Winner stage 6
Giro di Lombardia
Giro di Lombardia
Giro del Piemonte
Giro d'Italia:
Winner stages 3, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 12
Italy Italian National Road Race Championship
Giro d'Italia:
Winner overall classification
Winner stages 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 and 15 (12 stages, record for the Giro d'Italia)
World Road Cycling Championships
Giro di Lombardia
Giro del Piemonte
Italy Italian National Road Race Championship
Giro d'Italia:
Winner overall classification
Winner stages 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11
Giro del Veneto
Italy Italian National Road Race Championship
Giro d'Italia:
Winner overall classification
Winner stages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
Milan–San Remo
Italy Italian National Road Race Championship
World Road Cycling Championships
Tour de France:
Winner stages 8 and 9
Milan–San Remo
Giro di Lombardia
Giro d'Italia:
Winner stages 3 and 4
World Road Cycling Championships
Giro d'Italia:
Winner overall classification
Winner King of the Mountains classification
Winner stages 2, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17


  1. l'Unita. 20 July 1986. p. 22
  2. l'Unita. 22 July 1986. p. 18
  3. Alfredo Binda Photo Gallery.
  4. "Tre Valli Varesine". Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda Varese.
  5. Alfredo Binda profile at Cycling Archives

External links

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