The Great Britain Under-23 Academy team begins the Girobio stage race on Friday morning, the new innovative version of the amateur Giro d’Italia.

A total of 168 riders will leave Florence on Friday for nine days of racing that includes mountain stages in the Dolomites and a 25.4km time trial. The race ends next Sunday with a final stage in Tuscany on some of the dirt roads used in the Eroica sportive and professional race.

The Girobio has been created by the organisers of the Eroica sportive Giancarlo Brocci and marks a new way of organising races aimed at fighting doping in the Italian amateur ranks.

The riders will all stay together in huge hostels, eat together and socialize together in an attempt to reduce the risks of riders doping. As well as the usual anti-doping tests, a team of doctors and sports scientists will follow the riders closely and detailed blood tests will be carried out on every rider before and after the race.

The organisers hope that the riders will embrace the spirit of the new Giro: “We’re not asking for the moon, but we hope that everyone on the race has the right attitude so that we can all play a part in what is the best sport there is,” Giancarlo Brocci said on the eve of the race.

GREAT BRITAIN TARGET STAGE VICTORIES
The Great Britain team will be directed by Academy manager Max Sciandri, with Friday’s first stage from Florence to Modena passing through their home town of Quarrata.

“It’s a very new format, with lots of things being done very differently to other races but I think it’s a good thing,” Sciandri told Cycling Weekly.

Sciandri has selected a young Great Britain team of six riders that includes Pete Kennaugh, Jonny McAvoy, Andy Fenn, Mark Christian, Luke Rowe and Erick Rowsell. The goal is to go for stage and learn from the experience of racing for nine days, rather than a good overall result.

“It’ll be the longest race the lads have ever done and so I really want them to learn from it. I’ve told them that the first objective is to finish the race. That may not seem a big goal but I want them to understand what it’s like to race hard day after day. I’m sure they’ll all come out of it as better riders,” Sciandri said.

The nine-days of racing cover a total of 1294km with each stage named after a legendary Italian rider. The best 20 Italian teams have been selected, plus teams from Great Britain, Argentina, Columbia, Germany, Russia, Poland and Switzerland. Each of the leader’s jersey is sponsored by different regions of Italy with a special Ethics jersey sponsored by the Gino Bartali Museum.

There will be regular updates on the race here at www.cyclingweekly.com

Girobio stages

12 June: Firenze – Modena km 174 – tappa COPPI
13 June: Modena – Lonato del Garda km 161,2 – tappa BOTTECCHIA
14 June: Lonato del Garda – Asiago km 166,6 – tappa MARTINI
15 June: crono Pozzoleone – 22,5 – tappa MOSER
16 June:Paderno del Grappa – Feltre km 155,5 – tappa NENCINI
17 June: Rest day
18 June: Ferrara – Cesenatico km 146 – tappa MAGNI
19 June: Cesenatico – Cippo Carpegna km 160,1 – tappa PANTANI
20 June: Pennabilli – Bucine km 168,3 – tappa CHIOCCIOLI
21 June: Cavriglia – Gaiole in Chianti km 159 – tappa BARTALI