Re: [CR]New Bicycling Issue NOW Women in a Grand Tour

(Example: Framebuilders:Chris Pauley)

To: "Angel Garcia" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]New Bicycling Issue NOW Women in a Grand Tour
References: <> <01e601c4dcdd$4eb626e0$0b00a8c0@DXROOM>
From: "Morgan Fletcher" <>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 11:15:34 -0800
In-Reply-To: <01e601c4dcdd$4eb626e0$0b00a8c0@DXROOM> (Angel Garcia's message of "Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:20:53 -0500")

"Angel Garcia" <> writes:
> Jan, did you cover the woman that rode in the Giro d' Italia? 1910s or
> 20s. The details are buried somewhere in my PC. Have any other women
> participated in a grand tour?
> Angel Garcia
> Long Valley, NJ

I asked my friend Owen Mullholland about this, and he asked his brother John, and this is what John had to say, with permission to repost:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Yes! Her name was Alfonsina Strada (Her real name was Alfonsa Rosa Maria Morini.  "Stada" came from her first husband. Strada later died and she married Carlo Messori, a sprinter.) and it was in the 1924 Giro. She was from Castelfranco Emilia, a town near Modena in 1891.  

She won most of the girls' races she entered and even some with the boys. In 1909 she was invited to the Gran Prix of St. Petersburg where she apparently "gave spectacle" to the point that the Zar Nicholas II and his wife wanted to give her a Gold Medal. In 1911 she set the hour record at 37kph (I presume only for women) and was commonly referred to as the strongest (female) bike rider in Italy. In 1917 she was allowed into the Giro di Lombardia. There were 54 starters, Philippe Thys won. Alfonsina finished last, 32nd . . . having complete the complete 240K course. In 1918 she got much better finishing 21st of 36.

In 1924 the Giro was a mess with Giardengo and all the other "bigs" refusing to ride. Alfonsina took advantge of this low point and contacted the new director of the Gazzetta della Sport and get herself entered (along with a bunch of 2nd class riders and amateurs) as "Strada, Alfonsin." Some writers referred, in the their ignorance, to her as "Alfonsino." They soon learned their error. The first stage she was 74th of 77 at 2 and a half hours. She hung on for 7 stages including the very difficult climb of the Macerone Pass in the Foggia-l'Aquilla stage. During the l'Aquilla-Perugia stage her bike literally fell apart. She finished the stage, 4 hours down, with a broom handle to replace her broken handlebar. The jury said she was outside the time limit and won't let her continue. Her backers from the Gazzetta then intervened. She was allowed to continue on an unofficial basis and completed the 3613 kilometers in 12 stages, 28 hours down. She was given her own "lap of honor" at the finish. It was a historical first . . . never to be repeated.

The Giro appearance gave her extreme popularity and she was invited to race all over Europe. She retired to open a bike shop in Milano. She died trying to kick start her Motto-Guzzi in 1959 at 68 years of age.

Sounds like a heluva a gal!

Ahem, anything else you want to know?  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Morgan -- Morgan Fletcher, Oakland, CA