Grand Tour season is upon us once again and all eyes will be on Italy for the centenary edition of the Giro d?Italia (May 9-31).
Despite the presence of a certain Lance Armstrong, the race looks wide open with any number of potential contenders.
Last year?s winner, Alberto Contador, will not be there but 2006 winner Ivan Basso will be one of the favourites after winning the Giro del Trentino recently.
From the start in Venice ? a 21.5km team time trial – the mountains come thick and fast, with the first summit finish on only the fourth stage to San Martino di Castrozza.
From there on in, there is very little respite from the Dolomites, through the Alps and further south into the Appenninno mountain ranges.
All the original stage towns from 1909 are visited along the way, including Venice, Trieste, Bergamo, Rome, Florence and Milan.
Stage 17 is where we are expecting the real fireworks, though; at just 79km, the profile for the stage from Chieti to Blockhaus will have the pure climbers licking their lips in anticipation: it could well decide the race overall.
If the race is still in the balance after Blockhaus, then expect a showdown on stage 19, a summit finish on Mount Vesuvius, the only European volcano to have erupted in the past 100 years.
The Giro is a race that every Italian dreams of winning; Damiano Cunego won the event in 2004, but has since struggled to make an impression in his home tour. Gilberto Simoni is also a former winner, but at the same age as Lance Armstrong (38), will he still be able to cut it in the mountains?
Watch out for our tips for the top in a forthcoming 2009 Giro d’Italia prediction article here on www.cyclingweekly.com.
|Giro d’Italia 2009: The stages|
|Saturday, May 9||1||Lido de Venezia TTT||20.5km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Sunday, May 10||2||Jesolo-Trieste||156km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Monday, May 11||3||Grado-Valdobbiadene||198km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Tuesday, May 12||4||Padova-San Martino di Castrozza||162km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Wednesday, May 13||5||San Martino di Castrozza-Alpe di Siusu||125km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Thursday, May 14||6||Bressanone/Brixen-Mayrhofen (Aut)||248km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Friday, May 15||7||Innsbruck (Aut)-Chiavenna||244km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Saturday, May 16||8||Morbegno-Bergamo||209km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Sunday, May 17||9||Milano Show 100||163km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Monday, May 18||–||Rest day||–||–||–|
|Tuesday, May 19||10||Cuneo-Pinerolo||262km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Wednesday, May 20||11||Torino-Arenzano (Genova)||214km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Thursday, May 21||12||Sestri Levante-Riomaggiore ITT||60.6km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Friday, May 22||13||Lido di Camaiore-Firenze||176km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Saturday, May 23||14||Campi Bisenzio-Bologna||172km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Sunday, May 24||15||Forli-Faenza||161km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Monday, May 25||16||Pergola-Monte Petrano||237km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Tuesday, May 26||–||Rest day||–||–||–|
|Wednesday, May 27||17||Chieti-Blockhaus||83km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Thursday, May 28||18||Sulmona-Benevento||182km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Friday, May 29||19||Avellino-Vesuvio||164km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Saturday, May 30||20||Napoli-Anagni||203km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Sunday, May 31||21||Roma ITT||14.4km||Report>>||Photos>>|
|Giro d’Italia 2009: The British|
We list the eight British riders taking part in this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Throughout this year’s race we’ll be following the progress of the Brits very closely, and bringing you exclusive coverage and interviews with our home stars in Italy.
Click on a rider’s name to find out more about them.
Mark Cavendish (Columbia-High Road)
David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream)
Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream)
Charly Wegelius (Silence-Lotto)
Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo Test Team)
Ben Swift (Katusha)
Ian Stannard (ISD)
Chris Froome (Barloworld)
|Giro d’Italia 2009: The teams|
1. Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
2. Ag2r La Mondiale
5. Bbox Bouygues Telecom
6. Caisse d’Epargne
7. Cervelo Test Team
12. LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini
13. Quick Step
16. Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni?Androni Giocattoli
17. Team Columbia?High Road
18. Team Katusha
19. Team Milram
20. Team Saxo Bank
21. Xacobeo Galicia
|Giro d’Italia 2009: Recent winners|
2008 winner Alberto Contador in the pink leader’s jersey
2008 Alberto Contador (Spain)
2007 Danilo Di Luca (Italy)
2006 Ivan Basso (Italy)
2005 Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
2004 Damiano Cunego (Italy)
2003 Gilberto Simoni (Italy)
2002 Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
2001 Gilberto Simoni (Italy)
2000 Stefano Garzelli (Italy)
1999 Ivan Gotti (Italy)
1998 Marco Pantani (Italy)
|Giro d’Italia 2009: TV schedule|
British Eurosport – times may be subject to change. David Harmon and Sean Kelly will provide commentary.
Saturday, May 9: 2.45-430pm, Stage one, LIVE
Sunday, May 10: 2-4.30pm, Stage two, LIVE
Monday, May 11: 2-4.30pm, Stage three, LIVE
Tuesday, May 12: 2-4.30pm, Stage four, LIVE
Wednesday, May 13: 2-4.30pm, Stage five, LIVE
Thursday, May 14: 2-4.30pm, Stage six, LIVE
Friday, May 15: 2-4.30pm, Stage seven, LIVE
Remaining schedule to be confirmed
|Giro d’Italia 2009: The jerseys|
Quick guide to the Giro’s jerseys.
Maglia rosa (pink jersey) – Overall classification leader
Maglia verde (green jersey) – King of the mountains
Maglia ciclamino (mauve jersey) – Points classification leader
Maglia bianca (white jersey) – Best young rider
|Giro d’Italia 2009 links|
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia
2008 Giro d’Italia archive
Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Follow Cycling Weekly on Twitter>>