This year’s Giro d’Italia is set to be one of the best ever editions of this Grand Tour. The 96th edition of the “Corsa Rosa” will cover 3405k over three weeks of racing, beginning Saturday May 4th in Naples with a 156k road race stage and ending on Sunday May 26th in Brescia with a final road stage.
The average stage distance has been decreased from lat year, a notoriously grueling year, to 162.2k a day.
Race organizers balanced the traditionally mountainous route with 88.9k of time trials, in a clear attempt to attract big-name stage racers such as Bradley Wiggins, Ryder Hesjedal and Vincenzo Nibali.
The route includes seven mountain finishes but also a 17.4k team time trial (Stage 2), a 55.5k individual time trial (Stage 8) and a 19.4k mountain time trial (Stage 18).
Race organizers have managed to attract one of the best ever fields ever for this year’s Giro. The star-studded start list includes overall contenders, many of the world’s best sprinters and a host of riders chasing stage victories and glory during the three weeks of racing.
Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) rarely named the Giro d’Italia as his first objective of 2013. He will be challenged by home favorite Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The two are evenly matched, as they showed at the recent Giro del Trentino. The differences in their riding styles – Wiggins being calm and controlled whereas Nibali races with heart – should make for a fascinating battle through the stunning backdrop of the Italian countryside.
Other contenders include last year’s winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Robert Gesink (Blanco Team), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team).
In the U.S., those with cable sports packages that include beINSport TV can watch broadcast coverage of the Giro beginning Saturday at 8:45am. Programming continues Sunday at 10:30am and resumes during the week at 8:30am. (All times are CDT.) Sites like CyclingNews.com will text live updates.