2013 Giro d'Italia route revealed
The 2013 Giro d'Italia begins in Naples on May 4 and ends in Brescia on May 26 and the Giro organizers hope to attract top riders Alberto Contador and Bradley Wiggins.
Stage 2 is a 17.4 kilometer (10.8-mile) team time trial on the island of Ischia, off Naples. Stage 8 is a 55.5-kilometer (34.5-mile) individual time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara, while stage 18 is a 19.4-kilometer (12-mile) 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 2011 but was stripped of the 2011 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 of 55 kilometers which they haven't had for a long time," said Contador, who attended the presentation.
Wiggins, who won this year's Tour de France and took gold in the time trial at the London Olympics, did not attend today's Giro d'Italia route presentation.
"It's a route that can adapt pretty well to me, but I still don't know the schedule," Contador said of his 2013 plans and added "In a few weeks we will begin to study the schedule for next season. I'll wait for the presentation of the other big tours to see their routes and decide based on that."
Canada's Ryder Hesjedal of the Garmin-Sharp team won this year's Giro d'Italia 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 2011 Giro and third in this year's Tour de France - after winning the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 - is also expected to be a top contender.
"There's everything in this Giro," said two-time winner Ivan Basso. "It's going to be spectacular in the mountains, because the time trial in the first week will create big gaps that will force the climbers to attack."
The 2013 Giro opens with a flat 156-kilometer (97-mile) stage in Naples. After the team time trial and a few mildly hilly legs, the tough stage 9 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 present at the presentation and gave his approval.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for video highlights and full coverage from the 2013 Giro d'Italia.