Biancastella Antonino For decades, women have made a lot of ‘road’ even cycling, as evidenced by the story of Alfonsina Strada, a professional cyclist, the first woman to have participated in the Giro d’Italia in 1924 and even earlier in the Giro di Lombardia in 1917 and 1918. Born in Castelfranco Emilia in 1891 into a very poor family, while still a child she moved to Castenaso where at nine …
For decades, women have made a lot of ‘road’ even pedaling by bicycle, as evidenced by the story of Alfonsina Strada, a professional cyclist, the first woman to have participated in the Giro d’Italia in 1924 and even earlier in the Giro di Lombardia in 1917 and 1918. Born in Castelfranco Emilia in 1891 into a very poor family, she moved to Castenaso when she was still a child where at the age of nine she gets on for the first time an old bicycle bought by her father for little money: it will be love for life. As soon as he reached the age of 14 he began to participate in the first competitions, secretly from his parents who were against this passion of his; Alfonsina, however, does not give up, on the contrary she always wins and is now nicknamed ‘The devil in a skirt’. In 1907 in Turin she earned the title of best Italian cyclist, in 1911 she established the world speed record for women and in 1912 she was invited to Paris for track races. In 1917, having already achieved a certain popularity in competitions, however, for women, she manages to convince the patron of the Tour of Lombardy to let her participate and will be the first woman to challenge male athletes. Now the ‘queen of the crank arm’, this was another of her nicknames, she aims at the Giro d’Italia and in 1924 she gets to register, causing controversy and even defections by some champions, so the news does not appear in the press and only a few hours before the start of the race the Resto del Carlino will be the first to confirm the participation of the cyclist. The sports chronicles of the time are full of anecdotes and comments on this female participation in an all-male competition and Alfonsina, applauded by fans at every stage, thus achieved her goal: to demonstrate that a woman can perform the same feats. of the stronger sex. She was no longer admitted to the Giro d’Italia, but her popularity remained unchallenged. At the age of 68, a heart attack ended his adventurous life and his exploits inspired the famous song Beauties on a bicycle and the homonymous film with Silvana Pampanini.
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