1940 : The first Giro

The 28th Giro d'Italia starts on the 19 May from Milan.

Coppi, completely unknown at that time, is part of the Legnano team - Bartali's team - and he's supposed to be one of Bartali's support riders.
In the fifth stage, Bartali finds himself in troubles because of a fall occurred three days earlier.
During this stage some riders fall and Coppi asks and obtains from the team manager the permission to start an attack.

He catches up with the racers who started the sprint but, unluckly, he falls and breaks the bicycle, losing a lot of time. The most important stage is going to be the eleventh one, with the climbing of Mount Abetone. It is in this occasion that Coppi attacks the group and sprints ahead; in spite of the rain and the hail, he leads the sprint until Modena.

Thanks to this victory he can wear the Maglia Rosa for the first time.
Yet badly placed in the chart, Bartali is very upset. Feeling his support rider betrayed him, Bartali threatens to leave the race. The Legnano team manager persuades him to go on and help Fausto Coppi.

During a stage in the mountains, Gino Bartali helps Coppi overcoming a crisis and behaves as a perfect support rider. The big stage on the Dolomites represents the next big obstacle, with the climbing of Falzarego, Pordoi and Sella.

Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali ride together sprinting ahead up to Ortisei, where Bartali wins the stage. At this point, the Giro is virtually finished. Coppi ends the giro in Milan and keeps the Maglia Rosa totalling an advance of 2'40" over the second and 45'09" over Bartali.