The route for the 2016 Giro d’Italia has been confirmed, with three time trials and a mountainous detour into the French Alps both on the cards.
Rolling out of the Netherlands on Friday May 6, the route totals 3,383km, with plenty of opportunities for sprinters, breakaway riders and climbers alike to make their mark.
Alberto Contador, 2015 champion, has already confirmed he won’t be defending his title, leaving the race for the pink jersey open.
But where will those riders bidding to win the first Grand Tour of the 2016 season look to strike, and where could the race be won or lost? Following the announcement of the route, we’ve picked out five eye-catching and potentially decisive stages.
Stage six – Ponte to Roccaraso
Although the major mountain tests are still more than a week away when the peloton races from Ponte to Roccaraso, stage six will be an early test of form for the general classification men.
An uphill start to Torrecuso is followed by the Bocca di Selva before the run-in to the Aremogna, where the stage winner will be crowned.
The final climb, with an average gradient of 4.4 per cent, shouldn’t be enough to cause the GC contenders any significant worries, but the 9.25km ascent could show up anyone who’s arrived at the Giro not in form – especially if the heat has been on over the stage’s earlier climbs.
Add to that the 233km stage which precedes stage six and, after a relatively flat opening to the race, the climbs here could serve up a nasty early sting, with the maglia rosa likely to change hands.