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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
See how nearly every bicycle saddle is made
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Classic Colnago steel frame with gorgeous pantographed Campagnolo components
In honour of Coppi
Having paid tribute to the 60th anniversary of Fausto Coppi's famous 1949 stage win in Pinerolo last year, this season a more sobering Coppi anniversary is remembered. It is 50 years since the premature death of the Italian legend. There is a mountains prize in his home village of Castellania. Tribute is also paid to another Italian great, Costante Girardengo, who was from Novi Ligure. Neither of these climbers would have fancied today's route that should suit the sprinters perfectly.
The Giro looks set to be a sprinters' summit. Oscar Freire, Alessandro Petacchi and André Greipel have it in their sights and Garmin's Tyler Farrar will be revved up to improve on the two second-place finishes he had last year. The in-form Daniele Bennati will also add considerably to this battle if Liquigas decide they can accommodate a sprinter as well as their maglia rosa contenders.
"Stage 5 is obviously intended to pay homage to Fausto Coppi, finishing in Novi Ligure, where he started his working life in a butcher's shop, and passing through his home village of Castellania on the way. On paper, it looks like a stage for attacks but it could also be one for the sprinters.
"This year is the fiftieth anniversary of Coppi's death but also of a remarkable exploit by Jacques Anquetil in Carrara, which is where stage 6 finishes the next day. "
As part of a tribute to some of the Giro and cycling's greats, this stage visits Fausto Coppi's birth place of Castellania and finishes in Costante Girardengo's home-town of Novi Ligure.
It is 50 years since Coppi died at the age of just 40. Stricken with a raging fever following his return from a racing and hunting trip, the five-time Giro winner was misdiagnosed with flu. In fact, he had malaria. His outstanding feats are now remembered in a museum at the house where he and brother Serse were born.
Costante Girardengo was the first major star of Italian racing. Twice winner of the Giro, six times victor at Milan-San Remo, he was the first rider to be dubbed campionissimo, the champion of champions, a title that Coppi made his own. Like Coppi, Girardengo lost many of his best years to war, in his case the World War One.
Vertical climb: 850m
Highest point: 409m
Terrain: Mostly flat
Category: Road Stage