Giro d'Italia 2011 route launched

Historic Giro celebrates 150th anniversary of Italian unification

Next year's Tour of Italy cycling race will have a historic tone to it as it celebrates the 150th anniversary of the unification of the country when the stages were revealed by the organisers on Saturday.

The race - which begins in Turin on May 7 and ends in Milan on May 29 - will travel through places that featured prominently in the events surrounding the unification of the country, and will also visit other legendary Italian spots such as Sicilian volcano Mount Etna.

But three stages celebrate the route taken by Italian legend Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Red Shirt freedom fighters: the fourth stage begins in the Quarto district of Genoa from where Garibaldi and his men departed for Sicily on the beginning of their historic adventure.

The seventh stage passes by Teano (now Vairano Patenora) where Garibaldi met with the future first king of Italy Victor Emmanuel II and the 11th stage climaxes at Castelfidardo the site of the Red Shirts' decisive victory over the Papal troops.

Etna - still very much an active volcano - will have to be climbed twice during the ninth stage before the riders confront what could prove to be the decisive moment of the race at the end of the second week when they take on the Alps.

They have to climb the famed Zoncolan by its toughest route, the Austrian side on the 13th and 14th stages with the Grossglockner, the Passo di Giau (2236m) and the Marmolada, followed by an individual time-trial (16th stages) from Belluno to Nevegal following a much-deserved rest day.

The final two stages are fairly intimidating with the climb of Finestra and riding on its clay surfaced roads before the final stage, an individual time-trial round the Milan cathedral and its square.

It will be the first time in three years that the race finishes in Milan after climaxing in Rome - for its 100th edition - and then Verona and the organisers will be hoping for a similarly cliffhanger of a finish as the last time.

Then Russian Denis Menchov led into it by 20 seconds over Danilo Di Luca and ended up winning by 41 seconds.

The stages

  • Stage 1 - May 7: team time-trial Turin 21.5km
  • Stage 2 - May 8: Alba - Parma 242 km
  • Stage 3 - May 9: Reggio-Emilia - Rapallo 178 km
  • Stage 4 - May 10: Quarto - Livorno 208 km
  • Stage 5 - May 11: Piombino - Orvieto 201 km
  • Stage 6 - May 12: Orvieto - Fiuggi 195 km
  • Stage 7 - May 13: Maddaloni - Montevergine di Mercogliano 100 km
  • Stage 8 - May 14: Sapri - Tropea 214 km
  • Stage 9 - May 15: Messina - Etna 159 km
  • May 16: rest day
  • Stage 10 - May 17: Termoli - Teramo 156 km
  • Stage 11 - May 18: Tortoreto Lido - Castelfidardo 160 km
  • Stage 12 - May 19: Castelfidardo - Ravenna 171 km
  • Stage 13 - May 20: Spilimbergo - Grossglockner (Austria) 159 km
  • Stage 14 - May 21: Lienz (Austria) - Monte Zoncolan 210 km
  • Stage 15 - May 22: Conegliano - Gardeccia Val di Fassa 230 km
  • May 23: rest day
  • Stage 16 - May 24: Belluno - Nevegal, individual time-trial 12.7 km
  • Stage 17 - May 25: Feltre - Sondrio 246 km
  • Stage 18 - May 26: Morbegno - San Pellegrino Terme 147 km
  • Stage 19 - May 27: Bergamo - Macugnaga 211 km
  • Stage 20 - May 28: Verbania - Sestriere 242 km
  • Stage 21 - May 29: individual time-trial in Milan 32.8km

© AFP 2010

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