The 2012 Giro d'Italia route was officially unveiled in Milan yesterday and as anticipated, the corsa rosa will be a decidedly more human affair after criticism that its traditional spectacle veered toward excess last May. While a healthy quota of set-piece mountain stages remains a staple of the race, the number of transfers has been cut dramatically
There's a reassuring familiarity about segments of the route, and not just because the map was inadvertently leaked on the internet last week. The final days, in particular, will see a roll call of some of the Giro's most revered climbs: the Passo Giau features on stage 17, while a fearsome summit finish follows at Alpe di Pampeago two days later. The toughest stage of all will come on the penultimate day, as the riders must cross the Mortirolo before finishing atop the mighty Stelvio.
The Tour of Italy will break new ground in 2012 by spending its opening three days in Denmark. An 8.7km prologue time trial in Herning on 5 May will decide the first maglia rosa, while only crosswinds can deny the sprinters two days of glory on the pan flat road stages before an early rest day as the caravan travels south to Italy. In fact, the opening week should offer the likes of Mark Cavendish and Alessandro Petacchi more opportunities than they had in the entirety of last year's race.
After reaching its southernmost point at Lago Laceno, the race will intersperse a pair of sprinters' stages with more rolling days as it heads northwards in week two, culminating with a brace of mountain stages to Cervinia and Pian dei Resinelli. Following the second rest day, the gruppo will face the final phase of the race, but while the climbers will have plenty of opportunities to shine, the parade of mountains is mercifully broken up by a flat run to Vedelago in the middle of the last week. The Giro will conclude with an individual time trial in the centre of Milan on 27 May.
2012 Giro d'Italia, 5-27 May
- May 5, stage 1: Herning - Herning ITT, 8.7km
- May 6, stage 2: Herning - Herning, 206km
- May 7, stage 3: Horsens - Horsens, 190km
- May 8: Rest day
- May 9, stage 4: Verona - Verona TTT, 32.2km
- 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 ITT, 31.5km
A longer version of this article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com. You can read the full article and watch a video interview with Michele Acquarone by following this link.