Defending champion Alberto Contador has called next year’s Giro d’Italia “more human” after the 2012 route was unveiled in Milan.
Previous editions of the Giro have been labelled inhuman and a freak show by riders, with the 2011 edition dominated by mountain stages and long transfers.
But under the leadership of new race director Michele Acquarone, the 2012 parcours features a sprinter-friendly first week, with Team Sky’s Mark Cavendish, who wore the pink leader’s jersey and won two individual stages of this year’s race, likely to be please with the route, which starts with an individual time trial and two road stages in Denmark.
The third stage is to be dedicated to Wouter Weylandt, who died after a crash on the same stage of this year’s race. Weylandt’s jersey, number 108, has also been retired.
The overall race lead unlikely to be decided until the final week, with Queen Stage the penultimate day’s 218-km mountain route ending with the Stelvio climb.
“This Giro will be more human,” said Contador, who revealed he will not ride the race in order to concentrate on the Tour de France.
“There are more recovery stages and, although I don’t think I’ll take part, it seems to be a very interesting route.”
Contador dominated the 2011 race, winning his second Giro title by more than six minutes from Italian Michele Scarponi, but faded at the Tour de France, where he could only finish fifth in search of a fourth victory.
He added: “It’s a nice course, a bit different to last year and maybe a bit more even. For me the Giro is the best race in the world. It has a particular fascination for me. And if it was only up to my heart, I would race it. But next year I will think of other objectives, such as the Tour de France.”
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Giro d’Italia route
May 5, Stage 1: Herning-Herning, 8.7km (individual time trial)
May 6, Stage 2: Herning–Herning, 206km
May 7, Stage 3: Horsens-Horsens, 190km
May 8, Rest day
May 9, Stage 4: Verona–Verona, 32.2km (team time trial)
May 10, Stage 5: Modena–Fano, 199km
May 11, Stage 6: Urbino–Porto Sant’Elpidio, 207km
May 12, Stage 7: Recanati–Rocca di Cambio, 202km
May 13, Stage 8: Sulmona–Lago Laceno, 229km
May 14, Stage 9: San Giorgio nel Sannio–Frosinone, 171km
May 15, Stage 10: Civitavecchia–Assisi, 187km
May 16, Stage 11: Assisi–Montecatini Terme, 243km
May 17, Stage 12: Seravezza–Sestri Levante, 157km
May 18, Stage 13: Savona–Cervere, 121km
May 19, Stage 14: Cherasco–Cervinia, 205km
May 20, Stage 15: Busto Arsizio–Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli, 172km
May 21, Rest Day
May 22, Stage 16: Limone sul Garda–Falzes/Pfalzen, 174km
May 23, Stage 17: Falzes/Pfalzen–Cortina d’Ampezzo, 187km
May 24, Stage 18: San Vito di Cadore–Vedelago, 139km
May 25, Stage 19: Treviso–Alpe di Pampeago, 197km
May 26, Stage 20: Caldes/Val di Sole–Passo dello Stelvio, 218km
May 27, Stage 21: Milan–Milan, 31.5km (individual time trial)