The 91st Tour of Italy will begin in Palermo and end in Milan, covering 3,423.8km over 23 days.
The details of next year's Giro, which begins on May 10, were presented to the press on Saturday at a ceremony in Milan's Arcimboldi Theatre. The event will begin with a team time-trial and end with a 23.5km race against the clock. It will feature a further two time-trials, one of which will be a 13.8km mountain stage, finishing atop the famous Plan de Corones.
The race will pay visits to both San Marino and Switzerland while its literal high point will be the 2,618m Passo Gavia, part of a punishing penultimate stage that will also take in the climbs of Mortirolo and Aprica.
Italian Olympic Committee president Gianni Petrucci said the course would be the ideal preparation for Italy's national riders, prior to the Beijing summer games.
"It will be an exciting Giro that will help (Italy's Olympic cycling coach) Franco Ballerini to prepare the squad for the Olympics in Beijing," said Petrucci who was also questioned about the issue of doping in the sport.
"How do we fight it? By continuing to do what we are already doing," he said. "We hope that after the Giro d'Italia the Italian squad, among the strongest in the world, will reaffirm its strength."
Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco said he hoped it would be a clean race and gave his backing to the biological passport, introduced this year to professional cycling in a bid to monitor cyclists' metabolisms to better detect changes that demonstrate doping.He also dismissed suggestions that the doping scandals over the last two years will have affected public interest in the Tour of Italy.
"The biological passport is a great opportunity to be more careful. We have already adopted it with 80 young cyclists.
"Such is the huge affection towards the Giro that it will (still) command a lot of attention."
©AFP and BikeRadar