Tue, Oct 02, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Organizers seek to woo top talent with Giro d’Italia route

AP, MILAN, ITALY

Giro d’Italia officials have unveiled a route for next year’s race that features three time trials along with the usual array of difficult mountain stages, as organizers hope to attract top riders Alberto Contador and Bradley Wiggins.

The race begins in Naples on May 4 and ends in Brescia on May 26.

Stage two is a 17.4km team time trial on the island of Ischia, off Naples. Stage eight is a 55.5km individual time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara, while stage 18 is a 19.4km mountain time trial.

There are seven uphill finishes and the three stages before the flat ending in Brescia are key. After the mountain time trial, stage 19 goes over the Gavia and Stelvio passes before ending with an uphill finish at Val Martello, and stage 20 features five climbs, including the finish at Tre Cime de Lavaredo.

Contador won the Giro in 2008 and last year, but was stripped of last year’s victory for doping at the Tour de France the year before.

“It’s a balanced route, with the novelty of a long, flat time trial,” said Contador, who attended the presentation.

Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal of the Garmin team won this year’s Giro by 16 seconds ahead of Spanish rider Joaquin Rodriguez, who captured Saturday’s Giro di Lombardia to clinch No. 1 in the year-end UCI rankings.

Vincenzo Nibali, the Italian who finished second in the last year’s Giro and third in this year’s Tour — after winning the Spanish Vuelta in 2010 — is also expected to be a top contender.

The 2013 Giro opens with a flat 156km stage in Naples. After the team time trial and a few mildly hilly legs, the tough stage nine ends in Florence and is dedicated to legendary Florentine rider Gino Bartali, followed by the first rest day.

Stage 12 begins in Longarone, 50 years after a landslide destroyed the town by breaking a dam and causing some 2,000 deaths.

The serious mountains begin with stage 14 ending in Bardonecchia, then the race passes into France the next day and climbs the renowned Telegraphe and Galibier mountains, where Marco Pantani set up his 1998 Tour de France win with an attack on Jan Ullrich.

The second rest day comes after stage 15.

The race ends with a flat stage to Brescia, which was selected as the finish host instead of the normal ending in Milan. Including the final stage, there are seven sprinting legs, appealing to the likes of Mark Cavendish, who was also at the presentation and gave his approval.

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