The 2016 Giro d’Italia will start in the Netherlands, with the central province of Gelderland hosting the Grande Partenza and the three opening stages of the Italian Grand Tour.
Race organiser RCS Sport revealed the location of the start of the Italian Grand Tour at a special event in Milan on Friday. It will be the twelfth time that the Giro d’Italia starts outside of Italy and the third time the Giro d’Italia starts in the Netherlands. The 2002 Giro d’Italia started in Groeningen, while the 2010 Giro d’Italia started in Amsterdam.
The full race route of what will be the 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia, will be revealed in early October. The Grand Partenza presentation was attended by Italian riders Damiano Cunego, points jersey winner Giacomo Nizzolo and Daniele Colli, who was injured during this year's race when a spectator leaned out into the road during the sprint to Castiglione della Pescaia.
The 2016 Giro d’Italia will begin on Friday May 6 with an 8.1km time trial in Apeldoorn, possibly starting near the recently built velodrome and ending in the city centre. Stage two will be an 180km road race stage from Arnhem to Nijmegen which is expected to suit the sprinters. The third and final stage in the Netherlands is over 190km from Nijmegen to Arnhem.
Thanks to special permission from the UCI, the Giro d’Italia riders will transfer to southern Italy on Monday May 9 during an early rest day and the race will continue on Tuesday May 10, somewhere in the south of Italy.
“We are really happy to start the Giro d’Italia from the Netherlands for the third time in the race’s history,” Mauro Vegni, the Giro d’Italia race director, said, confirming that the 2016 Giro d’Italia would visit the south of Italy before heading north to the mountains.
“The Province of Gelderland showed how intensely it wanted the Corsa Rosa and beat the competition of other important candidates. There couldn’t be a better way of proceeding in the internationalisation process of the Giro, that, in the last few years, has seen the Big Start alternating between Italy and abroad, all without overlooking the south of Italy.”
Jan Markink, member of the board of the Provincial executives of Gelderland, said: “I am very proud and excited to host the Big Start of the Giro d’Italia in 2016. The Giro in Gelderland will give us the opportunity to show the world how beautiful and unique Gelderland is with its diverse scenery and its magnificent cities.”
“I believe that an international event like the Giro d’Italia will boost our economy, the sport and the promotion of Gelderland. Gelderland has a lot to offer, not only because of its rich cultural history and splendid museums but also when it comes to nature with excellent paths for cyclists and hikers. Finally I would like to welcome our friends of the Giro to Gelderland. We will offer you a great experience in a fantastic surrounding, and make the Big Start of the Giro d’Italia 2016 a start to remember!”
The Giro d’Italia has alternated the Grand Partenza between Italy and international locations in recent years, with reports that RCS Sport is interested in starting the Corsa Rosa as faraway as North America or the United Arab Emirates.
The Giro d’Italia first started outside of Italy in 1965 when it started in the tiny state of San Marino within Italy. It has started in a total of 11 international locations: 1965 San Marino (General Classification winner: Vittorio Adorni); 1966 Monte Carlo – Monaco (Gianni Motta); 1973 Verviers – Belgium (Eddy Merckx); 1974 Vatican City (Eddy Merckx); 1996 Athens – Greece (Pavel Tonkov); 1998 Nice – France (Marco Pantani); 2002 Groeningen – The Netherlands (Paolo Savoldelli); 2006 Seraing – Belgium (Ivan Basso); 2010 Amsterdam – The Netherlands (Ivan Basso); 2012 Herning – Denmark (Ryder Hesjedal); 2014 Belfast – Northern Ireland (Nairo Quintana).
The 2015 Giro d’Italia started in San Remo with a team time trial and ended in Milan. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the pink jersey as he targets a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double in 2015.