As widely predicted, the 2009 Giro d?Italia will start in Venice and end in Rome, with an unconventional but demanding route.

Race director Angelo Zomegnan boasted the centenary edition of the Giro would be a special route for a special race and lay the foundations for another 100 years of the Giro d?Italia.

The Giro starts in Venice on May 9 with a 20.5km team time trial up and down the Venice Lido and ends in Rome on May 31 with a 15.3km individual time trial. The total race distance is 3395.5 km.

In between the race heads north into Austria for a finish in Innsbruck and then west to the Alps for a 250km mountain stage between Cuneo and Pinerolo.

The 61.7km individual time trial through the spectacular Cinque Terre coastal region is expected to a be key stage where strong time trialists like Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso could gain vital time on their rivals.

The little known central Apennine mountains will test the riders in the final week of the race and probably decide who wears the maglia rosa. Stage 17 to the summit of the Block Haus climb is only 79km long but finishes at an altitude of 2064 metres. The final mountain stage is on the slopes of the Mount Vesuvius volcano overlooking Naples.

The final time trial stage starts and finishes in the shadow of the Colosseum, ending a Giro that will highlight the beauty of Italy and create a great race.

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RELATED LINKS

2009 Giro route unveiled in Venice

Cycling Weekly’s 2008 Giro coverage

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