The 2011 season is continuing to build up as the peloton returns from Northern Africa to the South of Europe for another demanding stage race, the Giro di Sardegna, scheduled February 22-26. The five-day event on the Italian island of Sardinia will see 13 teams tackle a difficult race profile that includes no less than three mountain summit finishes.
The fun begins on stage two with the final ascent of the Cat. 1 climb of Monte Ortobene and continues the next day with the Cat. 2 climb of Lanusei. The overall winner, however, won't be decided until the very last stage as another Cat. 2 climb has to be mastered at the finish.
The race is thus tailor-made for strong finishers with good climbing abilities. Last year, Roman Kreuziger took the overall honours with Chris Horner and Thomas Voeckler completing the podium.
In 2011, many prestigious names will be testing their form on Sardinian hills, amongst which: Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Danilo di Luca (Katusha), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana), José Serpa (Androni Giocattoli), Stefan Schumacher (Miche), Svein Tuft (Spidertech p/b C10) and Geraint Thomas (British National Team).
The stages of the 2011 Giro di Sardegna:
Stage 1 - February 22: Olbia - Porto Cervo (138 km)
Stage 2 - February 23: Porto Rotondo - Nuoro / Monte Ortobene (197.5 km)
Stage 3 - February 24: Orani - Lanusei (173 km)
Stage 4 - February 25: Lanusei - Oristano (174.2 km)
Stage 5 - February 26: Oristano - Gesturi (174 km)