Giro d’Italia 2016 preview (video)

We look ahead to the year's first Grand Tour
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The Giro d’Italia kicks off on Friday May 6 with three stages in the Netherlands, which include an individual time trial and two sprint stages.

The race then returns to home soil for the remainder of the race, where the favourites will battle it out for the final pink jersey.

>>> Who are the Giro d’Italia favourites? (video)

Here some CW experts and some well known faces, including 1987 winner Stephen Roche, talk about what makes the Giro d’Italia such a special race and why we should all be looking forward to the 2016 edition.

>>> Giro d’Italia 2016 route

There are many factors that can decide a Grand Tour, with the weather playing a big part in many past Giros. Another deciding factor this year will be the number of kilometres against the clock, with two more time trials in addition to the opening day.

Stage nine’s time trial takes riders from Radda in Chianti to Greve in Chianti; 40 km of rolling roads that could start to open up or consolidate time gaps on the GC.

The next TT, which comes on stage 15, is the hardest as riders take on a 10km slope with an average gradient of 8.3% and a maximum of 11%. This stage follows 210km in the mountains the day before, so expect to see some riders tumble out of contention for the overall win.

The final week contains some opportunities for the sprinters, but there might not be many of them left to contest the wins thanks to the attritional nature of the mountain stages.