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Beginning in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands next May 6, the route of the 2016 Giro d’Italia was unveiled by organisers RCS Sport in Milan on Monday. The 3,383 kilometre event includes nine summit finishes, as well as three individual time trials plus seven stages for the sprinters.
The race is one for the climbers, but the stages against the clock will also hand something to the all-rounders, even if the third of those time trials is an uphill test.
Defending champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was present, although he has already said that he was pass up the chance to aim for another Maglia Rosa in order to give everything for a final Tour win. Also in attendance were former race winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who will target the event, the new world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), WorldTour champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and double Giro victor Ivan Basso.
The latter announced his retirement at the launch, and will take up a position with the Tinkoff-Saxo team.
The 2016 Giro begins with a 9.8 kilometre time trial in Apeldoorn, handing the general classification riders a chance to assess each others form early on. After that crosswinds could well play a part on stage two, a 190 kilometre race from Arnhem to Nijmegen, and the following day’s 189 kilometre leg from Nijmegen to Arnhem.
The race then returns to Italy where the first of three rest days will take place.
Competition resumes on Tuesday May 10 when the riders race 191 kilometres from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare. The following day they will travel a similarly undulating 233 kilometres from Praia a Mare to Benevento, after which stage six, the first mountain day, looms.
The climbers will push forward on the 165 kilometre race from Ponte to Roccaraso (Aremogna), likely upending the general classification.
Stage seven runs from Sulmona to Foligno (210 km) and stage eight from Foligno to Arezzo (169 km). The time trial specialists have another opportunity on stage nine, with a 40.4 kilometre individual effort awaiting the peloton in Chianti.
After a rest day on May 16, the battle resumes with a very difficult 216 kilometre mountain stage from Campi Bisenzio to Sestola. The sprinters are then thrown a bone on stage 11, a 212 kilometre race from Modena to Asolo, and on stage 12, a 168 kilometre leg from Noale to Bibione.
The mountains return with a vengeance on stage 13, which begins in Palmanova and treks 161 kilometres over very tough terrain to Cividale del Friuli.
The race’s queen stage follows on May 21. This is a 210 kilometre leg from Alpago (Farra) to Corvara (Alta Badia), and is followed by the 10.8 kilometre mountain time trial between Castelrotto to Alpe di Siusi.
A rest day on Monday May 23 gives another respite before difficult transition stages from Bressanone to Andalo (133 km), Molveno to Cassano d’Adda (196 km) and Muggiò to Pinerolo (234 km). These provide a possible chance for breakaway riders before the final two big mountain days.
The first of these, the 161 kilometre race from Pinerolo to Risoul, includes the highest mountain in the 2016 Giro d’Italia. The 2744 metre Colle dell’Agnello will give those attacking the Maglia Rosa a chance to put the rider wearing it under pressure, and will have another shot on the 134 kilometre leg from Guillestre to Sant’Anna di Vinadio.
The 2016 Giro d’Italia then concludes with a flat 150 kilometre leg from Cuneo to Turin.
2016 Giro d’Italia:
Stage 1, Friday May 6: Apeldoorn time trial, 9.8 km
Stage 2, Saturday May 7: Arnhem to Nijmegen, 190 km
Stage 3, Sunday May 8: Nijmegen to Arnhem, 189 km
Rest day, Monday May 9.
Stage 4, Tuesday May 10: Catanzaro to Praia a Mare, 191 km
Stage 5, Wednesday May 11: Praia a Mare to Benevento, 233 km
Stage 6, Thursday May 12: Ponte to Roccaraso (Aremogna), 165 km
Stage 7, Friday May 13: Sulmona to Foligno, 210 km
Stage 8, Saturday May 14: Foligno to Arezzo, 169 km
Stage 9, Sunday May 15: Chianti individual time trial, 40.4 km
Rest day, Monday May 16.
Stage 10, Tuesday May 17: Campi Bisenzio to Sestola, 216 km
Stage 11, Wednesday May 18: Modena to Asolo, 212 km
Stage 12, Thursday May 19: Noale to Bibione, 168 km
Stage 13, Friday May 20: Palmanova to Cividale del Friuli, 161 km
Stage 14, Saturday May 21: Alpago (Farra) to Corvara (Alta Badia), 210
Stage 15, Sunday May 22: Castelrotto to Alpe di Siusi mountain time trial, 10.8 km
Rest day, Monday May 23:
Stage 16, Tuesday May 24: Bressanone to Andalo, 133 km
Stage 17, Wednesday May 25: Molveno to Cassano d’Adda, 196 km
Stage 18, Thursday May 26: Muggiò to Pinerolo, 234 km
Stage 19, Friday May 27: Pinerolo to Risoul, 161 km
Stage 20, Saturday May 28: Guillestre to Sant’Anna di Vinadio, 134 km
Stage 21, Sunday May 29: Cuneo to Torino, 150 km
Total: 3,383 kilometres