TRE VALLI VARESINE. UN SECOLO DI STORIA DEL CICLISMO
On the occasion of the 102nd edition of the historic race, the Ghisallo Cycling Museum will once again bring to life the exhibition designed for the centenary of the well-known competition. The grand opening on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 11 a.m.
The exhibition dedicated to the history of the Tre Valli Varesine opens on Saturday September 16th at 11 a.m. at the Madonna del Ghisallo Cycling Museum in Magreglio.
On display are a selection of historical images, reproductions and vintage newspapers from some of the 101 editions of the Tre Valli Varesine. From pictures of the first editions won by Libero Ferrario and Severino Canavesi to the victories of champions such as Fausto Coppi, Gianni Motta, Giuseppe Saronni and Eddy Merckx. And again from the more recent ones of Primož Roglič, winner of the last Giro d’Italia who triumphed on the Via Sacco straight in Varese in 2019, and Tadej Pogačar, winner with a great sprint last year, to pages of Cronaca Prealpina and Gazzetta dello Sport. The materials come from the archives of the Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda (Alfredo Binda Cycling Society) and by cycling enthusiasts who reported or lent what they had in their possession.
The exhibition, promoted by the Ghisallo Cycling Museum, will be enhanced by some memorabilia from the museum’s permanent collection. Organised in collaboration with the Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda (Alfredo Binda Cycling Society) and the Tre Valli Varesine Association, it is part of the calendar of events for the next Tre Valli Varesine, which will take place on Tuesday October 3rd, starting in Busto Arsizio and finishing in Varese.
The exhibition will be open until November 1st during museum opening hours.
THE MADONNA DEL GHISALLO CYCLING MUSEUM
The Ghisallo Cycling Museum, which will celebrate its 17th year of opening this year in October, stands next to the homonymous Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo, proclaimed patron saint of cyclists since 1949 by Pope Pius XII.
It has always been one of the most popular places for cyclists of all ages and competitive categories. Once again this year, the influx of visitors was international.
The museum, whose collection has grown over time thanks to collaboration with the cycling world, now holds almost 2,000 items of memorabilia, including bicycles, jerseys, and various racing items.
Of great pride is the collection of jerseys, more than two hundred, from numerous national and international competitions.
After a very busy first part of the season, full of events and important guests, the Ghisallo Cycling Museum will host the second temporary exhibition of the year dedicated to the historic Tre Valli Varesine race, which will be open until November 1st, the last day of the season’s opening before the usual winter break.
LA TRE VALLI VARESINE
The Tre Valli Varesine is a men’s road cycling race that has been held in the province of Varese since 1919.
The Three Valleys that give the competition its name are Valcuvia, Valganna and Valceresio.
Since 1929 it has been organised by the Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda, which takes over from the Club Sportivo Varesino, its predecessor in organising the competition.
The Tre Valli Varesine is an international event of the highest competitive level which, in its 101 editions, has seen the participation of the strongest riders ever, from Domenico Piemontesi and Gino Bartali to Fausto Coppi, Gianni Motta, Felice Gimondi, Giuseppe Saronni, Francesco Moser, Eddy Merckx and more recently Vincenzo Nibali, Philippe Gilbert, Sonny Colbrelli, Thibaut Pinot, Alejandro Valverde and Tadej Pogačar.
There are five Varese riders in the roll of honour of the Tre Valli Varesine:
Battista Visconti (1928), Albino Binda (1930), Severino Canavesi (1934), Giuseppe Fezzardi (1962) e Stefano Garzelli (2005 – 2006).
The record for victories is held by Gianni Motta with four wins (1965-1966-1967-1970), a record equalled by Beppe Saronni (1977-1979-1980-1988).
The 102nd edition of the Tre Valli Varesine, scheduled for Tuesday October 3rd, 2023, is reserved for professional cyclists and is part of the prestigious ProSeries category of the UCI calendar.
The organisers boast a multi-year contract for live television coverage by RAI and deferred coverage by Eurosport, which broadcast images of the race to five continents, bringing the beauty of the province of Varese to the world. The Tre Valli Varesine is thus a powerful economic-tourist promotion tool for Varese and the surrounding area. The competition also enjoys significant media coverage: national and international print media as well as extensive online information.
To make the organisation of this great event possible, the most important sporting event in the entire Varese area, public institutions such as, first and foremost, the Region of Lombardy, the Municipality of Varese and the Varese Chamber of Commerce with the ‘Varese Do You Bike? They are joined by organisations and companies in the area that work alongside the Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda to make this great sporting moment better every year.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ON THE TRE VALLI VARESINE
The vernissage took place on Sunday 22 June 1919 where the formidable actors of that ‘premiere’ were the Club Sportivo Varesino, the organiser, and Pietro Bestetti, the indomitable warrior who won that first edition. The history of the Tre Valli Varesine begins in this way, in the aftermath of the Belle Époque and the Great War, where the needs of cultural and social reconstruction dictate and marry new sporting adventures.
At first it was the amateurs who explored and travelled through the valleys of Varese. In 1924, Libero Ferrario, the reigning world champion of the ‘pure’ left his mark, not without controversy, accused of having received innumerable pushes from friendly hands.
Then the doors open to the extraordinary world of the professionals: the 1930s come into the picture, which will give so much to our cycling. In 1930, Albino Binda, Alfredo’s brother, won the Tre Valli Varesine despite being ‘enfant du pays’.
In 1931, the longest course ever with its 303 kilometres (which also passes Ghisallo) was victoriously completed by Jacob. The year 1932 saw Alfredo Bovet, born in Lausanne and in fact the first foreigner to enter the race’s roll of honour, even though he is actually naturally Italian. In those years it was a fight to the finish so much so that Gino Bartali in 1938 burnt the Masnago finish line with only one pedal, the left, as the right one broke just before the finish.
Thus we enter the symphonic period of the great battles between Tuscany and Piedmont where two sons of these lands, Gino and Fausto, conducted the orchestra of world cycling in the 1940s and 1950s. Coppi came first three times (he was also first among the independents in 1939), Bartali responded with two second places, with victories among others by Magni, Bevilacqua and Nencini. In 1955, the only time trial edition over a distance of 100 kilometres was held, which crowned the Heron of Castellania as Italian champion. A total of 14 people entered the race: the lowest number ever.
The 1960s, watching from the porthole, are landing with a load of champions: Motta and Merckx above all. Merckx won in 1968 in the rainbow jersey, Motta dropped a memorable poker of victories and inaugurated the 1970s with his fourth and final victory. It is the phantasmagorical ten of Moser and Saronni. Fighting in and out of competition, a dualism also fuelled by the press and television not seen since the 1950s. Saronni, responding to Gianni Motta with four victories, thus dropping another beautiful poker.
Moser won twice, the second of the two in 1978 in the world champion’s jersey. Then came the years of ‘cyclone’ Bontempi, of Gianni Bugno, of Ghirotto and Chiappucci. The Tre Valli is launched into the new millennium. Bikes change, you go from steel to aluminium then from aluminium to carbon. The Varese race crosses the customs of the new millennium, the tough Rebellin is the only rider to have won it in two different millennia, while Garzelli is the only Varese rider to have given himself an encore.
Italians from 1991 to 2003 dominated the winners’ list, then in 2004, Wegmann, brought the victor back to foreign soil.
Finally, we come to recent history, the one we remember most because it is still painted fresh and in colour, stuck inside our album of cycling stories. Nibali in the tricolour jersey in 2015, Roglič in the bumblebee-coloured jersey in 2019. The 100th edition was won by the Rosso di Buja, born Alessandro De Marchi, who escorts the race of the Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda into its second century.
In 2022, Tadej Pogačar won in a thrilling sprint of twenty, in one of the most prestigious editions in the history of the Tre Valli Varesine.
From 2021, the Tre Valli Varesine reserved for professionals will be joined by the Tre Valli Varesine Women’s Race, reserved for women cyclists in the elite category. In its very short roll of honour there are already outstanding names such as the Cuban Arlenis Sierra Cañadilla and our own Elisa Longo Borghini.