Giro goes one up on Tour with spectacular 2011 route

giro d'italia 2011

RCS Sport went one up on the Tour de France when it unveiled next year's Giro d'Italia route this afternoon in Turin. As early leaks promised, the route delivers its punch in the way of mountain stages in spectacular locations.

"This Giro," said race director, Angelo Zomegnan, "has dirt and gravel roads, new mountaintop finishes and time trials up mountains."

The Giro starts in Turin on May 7 with a team time trial to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Italy's unification. It ends three weeks later in Milan on May 29 with an individual time trial. However, it is the stages in between that raised eyebrows today at Turin's Teatro Carignano.

The Giro d'Italia's mountain stages will do more than sort the classification, they will attract television viewers and draw fans to the roadside. The race climbs one of the world's most active volcanoes twice, weaves through Monte Zoncolan's natural stadium, evokes cycling's golden age with gravel roads.

Felice Gimondi, three-time race winner, explained, "It's not going to be a walk in the park,"

Giro's mountain days

- Montevergine: A short stage that will offer the first major differences in the classification. The    race's     fifth visit and first since 2007 when Danilo Di Luca won.

- Mount Etna: The Mont Ventoux of the south is used twice on the race's third visit, once to Lenza and    the finish to Rifugio Sapienza at 1904 metres.

- Grossglockner: The Giro d'Italia visits Austria, going up to 1908 metres

- Monte Zoncolan: Sight of a spectacular duel this year between Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans. It's the    fourth visit and the third time from Ovaro, 10.1km and with gradients up to 22%.

- Val di Fassa: Stage passes over its highest point, the 'Cima Coppi', the Giau climb at 2236 meters.

- Macugnaga: The 28.2-kilometre climb makes its debut as a stage finish.

- Colle delle Finestre: 18.5 kilometres and the last half on gravel roads. Its first and only appearance    was in 2005 when Paolo Savoldelli nearly lost the race.

"It was one of the most beautiful stages, even though I almost lost the Giro d'Italia there," said Savoldelli of the Giro's 2005 visit to Finestre. "Cycling needs stages like this."

Between the summits and descents, the 2011 Giro d'Italia is balanced with plenty of medium-mountain, flat and time trial stages.

The team time trial returns for the first time in two years, since Mark Cavendish took the leader's pink jersey after his Columbia-Highroad team win in Venice. The 21.5-kilometre stage will open the race in Turin and mark the first of three timed events, the last a 32.8-kilometre time trial in Milan and the second a 12.7-kilometre mountain time trial to Nevegal in Veneto.

Cavendish, if his team allows him to race, will have around seven opportunities to win from sprint finishes.

"This Giro," said Cavendish's rival, Alessandro Petacchi, "is also for sprinters."

It's those sprint stage finishes in the city centres and the other medium mountain stages that help give the Giro d'Italia an edge over the Tour de France. The white gravel Croce di Fighine climb from Tuscany to Orvieto in Umbria on stage five and the following day's stage through Lazio to the spa town of Fuggi, the up-and-down stage to Castelfidardo and a cliffhanger stage finish down from the Ganda climb to San Pellegrino.

Giro d'Italia 2011 

Stage 1:  Sat 7 May   21,5 Km   Venaria Reale - Turin (Team Time Trial)     

Stage 2:  Sun 8 May   242 Km   Alba - Parma     

Stage 3:  Mon 9 May   178 Km   Reggio Emilia - Rapallo     

Stage 4:  Tue 10 May   208 Km   Quarto dei Mille - Livorno     

Stage 5:  Wed 11 May   201 Km   Piombino - Orvieto     

Stage 6:  Thu 12 May   195 Km   Orvieto - Fiuggi Terme     

Stage 7:  Fri 13 May   100 Km   Maddaloni - Montevergine di Mercogliano     

Stage 8:  Sat 14 May  214 Km   Sarpi - Tropea     

Stage 9:  Sun 15 May   159 Km   Messina - Etna    

             Mon 16 May  Rest Day    

Stage 10:  Tue 17 May   156 Km   Termoli - Teramo     

Stage 11:  Wed 18 May   160 Km   Tortoreto Lido - Castefidardo     

Stage 12:  Thu 19 May   171 Km   Castefidardo - Ravenna     

Stage 13:  Fri 20 May   159 Km   Spilimbergo - Grossglockner     

Stage 14:  Sat 21 May  210 Km   Lienz - Monte Zoncolan     

Stage 15:  Sun 22 May   230 Km   Conegliano - Gardeccia/Val di Fassa     

              Mon 23 May  Rest Day   

Stage 16:  Tue 24 May   12.7 Km  Belluno - Nevegal (Individual Time Trial)     

Stage 17:  Wed 25 May   246 Km   Feltre - Sondrio     

Stage 18:  Thu 26 May   147 Km   Morbegno - San Pellegrino Terme     

Stage 19:  Fri 27 May   211 Km   Bergamo - Macugnaga     

Stage 20:  Sat 28 May   242 Km   Verbania - Sestriere     

Stage 21:  Sun 29 May   32.8 Km   Milan - Milan (Individual Time Trial)

Related links:

Nygaard, Sciandri and Lloyd comment on 2011 Giro route

Nibali's Giro d'Italia?


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