By Gregor Brown
The Giro d'Italia's history is long and rich thanks to its 99 editions spanning 107 years since it first rolled out of Piazza Loreto in 1909. This year, May 6 to 29 2016, the race celebrates even more milestones on its way from Apeldoorn in The Netherlands to Turin in Italy's northwest.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) winner of all three grand tours, including the 2013 Giro d'Italia, goes in as the favourite ahead of Sky's Mikel Landa.
Odds Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali will win his second title this year, according to SportingBet. Landa is listed at 5/2, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 5/1, Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale) 9/1 and Vuelta a España surprise riders Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 18/1 and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) 28/1.
The number of euros the classification winner will take home from the 2016 edition. For each day a rider spends in the famed pink jersey, he earns €1000. Each stage winner takes €11,010. When Luigi Ganna won the first edition in 1909, he pocketed 5325 lira or €2.75 or £2.
Cyclists, including favourite Nibali, to start the Giro. Organiser RCS Sport welcomes 18 WorldTeam teams, including Sky, and four Professional Continental teams. Every team will bring nine men.
Starts in the Netherlands out of the Giro d'Italia's 12 foreign starts, keeping in mind that number includes a start in the Vatican City and San Marino. In 2002, the Giro celebrated its first Dutch start in Groningen. It returned the cycling-mad country in 2010. That year, Bradley Wiggins won the pink jersey in the opening time trial through Amsterdam.
The amount of time trial kilometres in the 2016 edition, which includes a 9.8-kilometre individual time trial on day one and a rolling 40.5-kilometre one through Chianti on stage nine. Stage 15 climbs 10.8 kilometres up Alpe di Suisi.
The highest point in metres in the Giro this year, which will be win the race passes from France to Italy in the 19th stage over the Colle dell'Agnello. The highest point in any Giro has been called the Cima Coppi since 1965 in honour of five-time winner Italian Fausto Coppi.
Past winners racing in 2016: Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), winner in 2013, Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo), 2012, and Italian Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini), 2004.
Age of oldest rider Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff) due to race the 2016 edition.
Giovanni Gerbi or the 'Diavolo Rosso' was the oldest to compete in 1932. The oldest overall winner was Fiorenzo Magni in 1955 at 34 years, 5 months, 29 days.
The 99th edition of the 2016 Giro d'Italia that kicks off with a time trial in Apeldoorn on Friday, May 6. The organiser added in an extra third rest day like it did when it began in Belfast two years ago to accommodate the travel back to Italy. The race ran annually, some times in June, since its first edition, only stopping nine times due to the world wars. Race Director Mauro Vegni said that he will not move it from its May date to avoid bad weather, but if he did, he said with a laugh that he would put it in July.
Year the first edition pushed off from Milan's Piazzale Loreto with 127 cyclists. After eight stages, 49 finished in Parco Sempione with Italian Luigi Ganna, cyclist and mason, the overall winner.
Distance of the shortest Giro in 1912. The year also marked the only edition when there was a team instead of an individual classification. Team Atala won the overall.
Kilometres covered so far by the Giro d'Italia in its 98 editions. It is just shy of the distance to the moon, which is around 370,300 kilometres.
Foreign winners over the years, the last being Alberto Contador in 2015. Contador this year is aiming for the Tour de France and will not start the Giro. Swiss Hugo Koblet was the first foreigner to win in 1950.
Number of kings. Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx won the Giro five times each. Only Bernard Hinault won every Giro he participated in: three.
Father and son combinations who won stages: Pierino and Adriano Baffi, and Eddy and Axel Merckx.
The organisers were apparently inspired by the Tour de France and selected the maglia rosa or pink jersey as the symbol for its overall leader. The Tour de France had already adopted the yellow jersey in 1920. As with the Tour, the Giro was inspired by the colour of the newspaper of its principle sponsor: pink. However, what is unusual is that a fasces, the symbol of Fascism, adorned the jersey on the chest.
Merckx's days leading the Giro. Francesco Moser did 57 days, Gino Bartali 50, Giuseppe Saronni 49, Jacques Anquetil 42, Fausto Coppi and Bernhard Hinault 31.
The stages were long in the pre-World War I years, but nothing topped the 430-kilometre stage from Lucca to Rome on May 28, 1914. Costante Girardengo won in 17 hours, 28 minutes while Lauro Bordin set another record, that of the longest escape. He broke free at a closed railway crossing and survived 350 kilometres.
Kilometres from Montecatini to Prato, the shortest road stage of the Giro d'Italia in 1946. Italian Antonio Bevilacqua won.
Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini holds the most number of stage wins. His last was in 2003 in Montecatini, near his home in Lucca.
Stage wins by British riders. Mark Cavendish won 15. Vin Denson, Alex Dowsett, David Millar, Robert Millar and Bradley Wiggins count one each.
No British riders on the Giro d'Italia start list for the second year running. Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was the only British rider on the provisional start list released two weeks prior to the race start, but has since undergone surgery on a collarbone injury and will not take part.
Fast average stage speed in kilometres in 1985, when Italian Stefano Allocchio won the 45-kilometre morning stage in Foggia. The 11th stage from Fiume to Verona in 1924 was the slowest. Italian Arturo Ferrario won with an average of 20.473.
Giro d'Italia's followers on Twitter. It joined the social media website in August, 2010 and has written 12,780 messages since. Perhaps the most controversial one was in 2014, when it read the Stelvio climb had been neutralised. Race director Mauro Vegni said later that was not the case, but some considered Twitter the official mouthpiece.
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