The Giro d’Italia, or the Tour of Italy, is the second biggest stage race in the world after the Tour de France. The race first took place in 1909 as a method of promoting the daily sports paper Gazetta dello Sport which saw how successful its French counterpart was with its promotion of the Tour de France.
As the pages of Gazetta are pink, the leader’s jersey is also pink and the colour has become synonymous with the race. It’s a race full of passionate riders and even more passionate fans with any town where the race passes through really getting behind the event and partying all day, just watch the TV coverage to see how much the Italians love it.
This year 207 riders will start the race including last year’s winner Ryder Hesjedal, the first Canadian to win the event. Among the favourites to win in 2013 is our very own Sir Bradley Wiggins who wants to add a Tour of Italy to his Tour de France win.
The course seems tailor made for him with two individual time trials, especially as one of them is nearly 55kms long. The Manx Missile Mark Cavendish is also riding and will be looking to add to his tally of stage wins in the flatter stages.
He may even take the leader’s jersey for a few days at the start as the first stage is custom made for the sprinters and his team Omega Pharma – Quickstep are World Team Time Trial Champions.
Other Brits on the race are David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Alex Dowsett (Movistar), and for BMC Racing Team there’s Adam Blythe and Steve Cummings.
Stage 1 (May 4): Naples 130km
Stage 2 (May 5): Ischia – Forio (team time trial) 17.4km
Stage 3 (May 6): Sorrento – Marina di Ascea 222km
Stage 4 (May 7): Policastro – Serra San Bruno 246km
Stage 5 (May 8): Cosenza – Matera 203km
Stage 6 (May 9): Mola di Bari – Margherita di Savoia 169km
Stage 7 (May 10): San Salvo – Pescara 177km
Stage 8 (May 11): Gabicce Mare – Saltara (individual time trial) 54.8km
Stage 9 (May 12): Sansepolcro – Firenze 170km
May 13 – Rest day
Stage 10 (May 14): Cordenons – Montasio 167km
Stage 11 (May 15): Tarvisio – Vajont (Erto e Casso) 182km
Stage 12 (May 16): Longarone – Treviso 134km
Stage 13 (May 17): Busseto – Cherasco 254km
Stage 14 (May 18): Cervere – Bardonecchia 168km
Stage 15 (May 19): Cesana Torinese – Col du Galibier 149km
May 20 – Rest day
Stage 16 (May 21): Valloire – Ivrea 238km
Stage 17 (May 22): Caravaggio – Vicenza 214km
Stage 18 (May 23): Mori – Polsa (individual time trial) 20.6km
Stage 19 (May 24): Ponte di Legno – Val Martello 139km
Stage 20 (May 25): Silandro – Tre Cime di Lavaredo 203km
Stage 21 (May 26): Riese Pio X – Brescia 197km
There are four jerseys for classification leaders at the Giro.
Pink jersey (maglia rosa) – Leaders jersey
Given out each day to the general classification leader, ie the rider who has the lowest aggregate time.
Blue jersey (maglia azzurra) – King of the Mountains jersey
The best climber, with points awarded at the top of each classified climb.
Red jersey (maglia rossa) – Points (sprints) jersey
The best sprinter, the rider with the most points earned at stage finishes and at intermediate sprints.
White jersey (maglia bianca) – Young rider jersey
The best placed under 25 year old rider in the race.
2012 Jersey Winners
Pink – Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) Garmin Sharp
Blue – Matteo Rabottini (Italy) Farnese Vini
Red – Joachim Rodriguez (Spain) Katusha
White – Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) SKY
Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
BMC Racing Team – Adam Blythe (Great Britain) Steve Cummings (GB)
Garmin-Sharp – David Millar (GB)
Movistar – Alex Dowsett (GB)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep – Mark Cavendish (GB)
Sky – Sir Bradley Wiggins (GB)
Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
Good luck to the 207 riders!