The 2008 Giro d?Italia will be a mix of technical time trials and tough mountain stages in 2008, with the final winner likely to be decided on the Mortirolo climb on the final Saturday or even in the final time trial to Milan on the last day.
Unveiled in Milan on Saturday afternoon, race director Angelo Zomegnan described the route as harder than the 2007 Giro won by Danilo Di Luca but called on the riders to make huge changes to help save cycling in 2008.
The 91st edition of the Giro will start in Palermo, Sicily on Saturday May 10 with a fast 28.5km team time trial. This year a similar opening test immediately shook up the overall standings and set up Di Luca after his Liquigas team won the stage.
Following two other stages to Agrigento and Milazzo, the Giro leaves Sicily and heads north via Potenza, Peschici in the heal of the country, Rome and San Vincenzo in Tuscany. The first rest day comes on May 19 in Pesaro before a 36km individual time trial to Urbino.
The Giro heads north into the Dolomites for the final week with mountain top finishes at Alpe di Pampeago, where Marco Pantani dropped Pavel Tonkov to seal victory in 1998, and at the summit of the Passo Marmolada. Stages 16 marks the return of a ?cronoscalata? in the Giro with a 13.8km to the summit of the Plan de Corones ski station. The final mountain stages include a finish at summit of the Presolana and then the Mortirolo on the final Saturday. The Giro ends in Milan with 23.5km individual time trial.