Three time trials and six summit finishes – including a detour into the French Alps – await riders at the 2016 Giro d’Italia after the route was officially unveiled in Milan.
The race will start in the Netherlands on Friday May 6 – as had already been confirmed – and end 3, 383km later in Milan on Sunday May 29.
The 2016 Giro will open with a 9.8km time trial in Apeldoorn and two sprint stages, from Arnhem to Nijmegen and then back again on a different route. A rest day to allow the transfer to southern Italy will follow, with the race’s first Italian stage a rolling affair from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare.
The peloton – which will not include 2015 champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in its number as he targets the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in his final season – then races north through the country.
Stage six provides the first summit finish, a 9.25km ascent with a 4.4 per cent average gradient, but the biggest test of the first week in Italy is likely to be the 40.4km individual time trial in the Chianti vineyards on stage nine, before the first rest day.
The real mountainous tests start with South Tyrol’s Alta Badia, in Covara, on stage 14, a resort better known for its winter sports, before the third individual time trial, this time up part of the Alpe di Siusi, on stage 15.
The peloton continue to head west through the Alps, even briefly detouring into France with a stage finish in Risoul – the 12.6km climb, with an average gradient of 6.9 per cent, having featured in the 2014 Tour de France where Rafal Majka was victorious.
That stage, stage 19, also features the highest climb of the race – Colle dell’Agnello, topping out at 2744m above sea level.
A climb which has featured in both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, the ascent from the Italian side is 22.4km in length with a punishing average gradient of 6.5 per cent.
Any riders still in contention for the maglia rosa at that point will then face an undulating stage from Guillestre and back into Italy to the Sant’Anna di Vinadio on the penultimate day.
The Col de Vars, Col de la Bonette and Colle della Lombarda must all be tackled before the summit finish.
The race then finishes in Turin, with a sprinter’s stage – the seventh opportunity for the fast men to rack up stage wins and points towards the red jersey – and the crowning of the overall winner.
Giro d’Italia 2016: route
Friday May 6: stage one – Apeldoorn to Apeldoorn, 8.1km individual time trial
Saturday May 7: stage two – Arnhem to Nijmegen, 180km
Sunday May 8: stage three – Nijmegen to Arnhem 179km
Monday May 9: transfer to Italy, rest day one
Tuesday May 10: stage four – Catanzaro to Praia a Mare, 191km
Wednesday May 11: stage five – Praia a Mare to Benevento, 233km
Thursday May 12: stage six – Ponte to Roccaraso, 165km summit finish
Friday May 13: stage seven – Sulmona to Foligno, 210km
Saturday May 14: stage eight – Foligno to Arezzo, 169km
Sunday May 15: stage nine – Radda in Chianti to Greve in Chianti, 40.4km individual time trial
Monday May 16: rest day two
Tuesday May 17: stage ten – Campi Bisenzio to Sestola, 216km sf
Wednesday May 18: stage 11 – Modena to Asolo, 212km
Thursday May 19: stage 12 – Noale to Bibione, 168km
Friday May 20: stage 13 – Palmanova to Cividale del Friuli, 161km sf
Saturday May 21: stage 14 – Alpago to Corvara, 210km sf
Sunday May 22: stage 15 – Castelrotto to Alpe di Siusi, 10.8km individual time trial
Monday May 23: rest day three
Tuesday May 24: stage 16 – Bressanone Brixen to Andalo, 133km sf
Wednesday May 25: stage 17 – Molveno to Cassano d’Adda, 196km
Thursday May 26: stage 18 – Muggio to Pinerolo, 234km
Friday May 27: stage 19 – Pinerolo to Risoul, 161km sf
Saturday May 28: stage 20 – Guillestre to Sant’Anna di Vinadio, 134km sf
Sunday May 29: stage 21 – Cuneo to Turin, 150km