Giro d'Italia organizer RCS Sport has announced that the 2015 edition of the Italian Grand Tour will begin with an 18-kilometre team time trial to Sanremo on a special cycle path along the Ligurian coast.
The 2015 Giro d'Italia will stay in the Liguria region for two other road stages, with a day for the sprinters on stage two to Genoa followed by a hilly stage on the spectacular Cinque Terre coastal roads and a finish above La Spezia.
The 2015 Giro d'Italia will begin on Saturday May 9 and end on Sunday May 31st.
This year the Giro d'Italia started in Northern Ireland and visited Dublin before travelling to Italy and finishing in Trieste. In 2015, the Corsa Rosa is likely to finish in either Milan or Turin, however RCS Sport has yet to confirm the finish location.
It is the fifth time the Giro d'Italia has started in the Liguria region and the second time the Giro starts in the Sanremo area. In 1987 the city hosted a prologue time trial and then a split second stage, with Stephen Roche winning the novel 8km afternoon descent stage of the Poggio climb that often decides the winner of Milan-San Remo one-day Classic.
A Ligurian triptych
The opening 18-kilometre team time trial of the 2015 Giro d'Italia will be held on the Riviera dei Fiori cycle path, built on a former coastal rail track between San Lorenzo al Mare and Sanremo. The stage starts near the foot of the Cipressa climb covered during Milan-Sanremo and ends in the centre of Sanremo, on the Lungomare Italo Calvino. The cycle path avoids the Poggio but the stage not flat as the cycle path hugs the stunning coastline.
Stage two on Sunday May 10 will be approximately 150km long between Albenga and Genoa and end with four circuits of 7.5km loop in the city centre. It will suit the sprinters.
Stage three on Monday May 11 continues along the Ligurian coast. It starts in Chiavari and ends in La Spezia after approximately 185km of racing. The stage passes through the Cinque Terre coastal region famous for it steep hills, historic villages and vineyards, and will be a first test for the overall contenders fighting for the leader's pink jersey. The stage ends above La Spezia with the short Biassa climb.
The Giro d'Italia has often visited the Cinque Terre and the area hosted a testing time trial stage in 2009. A landslide forced RCS Sport to avoid the area during the 2012 Giro d'Italia but the roads have now been repaired.
Nibali hints he could ride the Giro d'Italia
Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali won the 2013 Giro d'Italia. He was unable to attend the presentation in Milan today because he is riding a series of post-Tour criteriums in Belgium and the Netherlands but sent a video message hinting he could ride the 2015 Giro d'Italia as part of a possible Giro-Tour double.
“The Giro d’Italia is very important for me and I would like to send my best regards to everyone. I have a very special bond with the Giro because it’s the race that launched me onto the Grand Tour scene. I can say I wish to come back in 2015,” Nibali said in Italian.
Speaking about what RCS Sport calls the Giro d'Italia 'Big Start' race director Mauro Vegni recalled Liguria's historic links with cycling. Fausto Coppi and other greats of Italian cycling used to train on the Ligurian coast during the winter to avoid the cold weather of northern Italy.
“We are sure the three stages in Liguria will be a great success," Vegni said.
"This area is closely tied to cycling and its passion has never ceased. Next year will be the fifth Giro Big Start from Liguria, and countless towns and villages have hosted the Giro’s stages throughout its history, either as stage starts or finishes. And this is on top of prestigious events such as the Milan-Sanremo. We therefore expect a lot of people and a lot of love.”
Cyclingnews will have further news and interviews from the Giro d'Italia Big Start presentation later today.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.