The Giro d’Italia begins on Friday in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands and finishes on May 29 in Turin. The three-week race will take place over 21 stages and 3,383 kilometres, with 198 riders due to set off from Apeldoorn.
With just two days to go until the circus rolls into town, Cyclingnews has put together some vital numbers and statistics from the Giro d’Italia through the years.
99 – This year will mark the 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia. After creating the Giro di Lombardia and Milan-San Remo, Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport decided they wanted to host a race around the whole of Italy. Influenced by the success of the Tour de France and keen to get one over on their newspaper rivals Corriere della Sera, the paper announced the race on August 7, 1908. The race has been suspended twice during the two World Wars.
5 – The most overall victories by any rider. Three riders are part of this exclusive circle: Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx. A total of 49 years separate the first of Binda’s titles in 1925 and the last of Merckx’s in 1974.
144 – The amount of hours it took Alfredo Binda to win the second of his Giro d’Italia titles. Second placed Giovanni Brunero finished almost half an hour behind Binda while last placed Riccardo Gagliardi had to suffer an extra four hours and 53 minutes of racing.
8 – The number of stages that featured in the 1909 edition of the race. Despite the dearth of stages in comparison to modern day Grand Tours, it still packed in 2,447.9 kilometres.
16 – Ryder Hesjedal beat Joaquim Rodriguez by a mere 16 seconds at the 2012 Giro d’Italia. Rodriguez went into the final-day time trial with a 31-second gap over Hesjedal following a summit finish on the Stelvio the day before. It proved not to be enough to keep Hesjedal at bay on the 28.2km test against the clock.
127 – The number of riders that left from Milan on May 13 to begin the first edition of the Giro d’Italia. There would be far few riders when the race returned to Milan on May 30 with only 30 finishing the race.
108 – Wouter Weylandts race number, which has since been retired after he was fatally injured during the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Race numbers rarely end in 0 but the Giro d’Italia have since allocated the number 100 to avoid using the number 108. This year it is Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi who is set to ride with the number.
40 – The first rider over the top of the Cima Coppi is awarded 40 points for the mountains classification. The 2016 Cima Coppi is the Colle dell'Agnello, which at 2,744 metres is the second highest mountain featured in the Giro d’Italia. It was first ridden in 1994 but with the Stelvio also in the route it was not the highest mountain of the race. It was set to make its debut as the Cima Coppi in 1995 but avalanches forced the organisers to change the route. It was eventually ridden in 2000 and again in 2007.
1946 – The year that the maglia nera was introduced into the Giro d’Italia. The black jersey denoted the rider who was last in the overall classification. It didn’t last very long and was awarded for the final time in 1951.
41 – The number of Italian riders that have won the overall classification -the country with the most overall wins. Belgium, France, Russia and Switzerland are all equal second but still along way behind the home nation with only three riders apiece. Riders from 12 different countries have won the Giro d’Italia title.
11 – The number of Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza that have been held outside of Italy. The first came in 1965 when the race began in San Marino. This year’s start in the Netherlands is the 12th foreign Grande Partenza.
430 – Is the kilometres ridden during the longest ever Giro d’Italia stage. That was in 1914 in a stage from Lucca to Rome. Costante Girardengo won the stage in a time of 17 hours 28 minutes and 55 seconds.
77 – That is the number of days that Eddy Merckx has spent riding in the pink jersey, the most by any rider. Fellow five-time winner Fausto Coppi is not too far behind with 65, while Francesco Moser has spent 50 days in pink but has only one Giro title to his name.
39.7 – The average speed of the fastest Giro d’Italia, the 2010 edition which was won by Ivan Basso. The 2015 was the next quickest race with an average speed of 39.3kph with 2013 rounding out the podium at an average speed of 39.2kph. It is a stark contrast to the average speed of the early editions, which was just 27.2kph in 1909.
4,337 – The length in kilometres of the longest ever Giro d’Italia in 1954, which was won by Swiss rider Carlo Clerici. He beat fellow Swiss and teammate Hugo Koblet by 24:16 with Italy's Nino Assirelli taking third.
15 – Is the most amount of days that a rider has spent in the pink jersey without winning the Giro d’Italia. Giordano Cottur spent 15 days in pink in 1946, 1948 and 1949, but his best finish is third place – something he did on three separate occasions.
11 – The smallest gap in seconds between the winner and the second placed rider. It happened in 1948 when Fiorenzo Magni beat Ezio Cecchi to take the first of his three titles. Eddy Merckx edged out Giambattista Baronchelli by 12 seconds in 1974 to win his final Giro d'Italia. Fiorenzo Magni had another close call in 1955, beating Fausto Coppi by just 13 seconds.