The Giro d’Italia is the most romantic of the Grand Tours and the 99th edition looks set to please the eye as well as the heart. With stages in beautiful Tuscany and later in the majestic Dolomites, the 2016 race is likely to cement the Corsa Rosa’s status among the cognoscenti.
It is another international affair. After a successful Grande Partenza in Belfast two years ago, the Giro will again begin overseas, this time in the Netherlands, before making deviations into France and Switzerland in week three, as the race reaches its climax among the highest mountain peaks in Europe.
While the withdrawal of Alex Dowsett means there will be no British interest at the Giro this year, the rider roster is a five star affair, headed by 2013 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Dowsett’s Movistar leader, Alejandro Valverde, the world number one.
The eyes of the world will turn to Apeldoorn on Friday (May 6), where the riders will commence battle on a 9.8km prologue time trial course. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), the surprise package of last year’s Vuelta a Espana, will seek to lay an early marker on home soil, riding in his favoured discipline before a passionate home support.