A Giro time trial suited for Armstrong

Giro's mid-race time trial favours Lance Armstrong

Giro's mid-race time trial favours Lance Armstrong (Image credit: Mike Gladu)

The 2009 Giro d'Italia could tip in favour of Lance Armstrong, with the inclusion of the longest time trial in the event's recent history. The three-week Italian stage race will feature a 61.5-kilometre time trial on stage 12, according to Tuttosport.

Race organiser RCS Sport will present the official route of the 92nd Giro d'Italia on Saturday, in Venice. In October it announced that the three-week race will begin with a 21-kilometre team time trial in Venice.

The Italian newspaper predicts stage 12 will travel from Sestri Levante to Riomaggiore, in Liguria's Cinque Terre. Its distance will be made more difficult with two climbs, the Passo del Bracco (600 metres of climbing) and Passo del Termine (around 500 metres).

Armstrong, returning to the sport after a three-year retirement, based his seven Tour de France victories on the time trials – he won 11 in total. The Giro's mid-race stage definitely will leave a mark on the race's overall classification. The final stages should feature mountains that will alter the standings before the race's conclusion in Rome.

The last time the Giro d'Italia featured such a long time trial was in 1996. Russian Eugeni Berzin won the 62-kilometre stage over Spaniard Abraham Olano. The longest time trial this year was 36 kilometres, won by Maurizio Bruseghin.

The 2009 route will likely feature three time trials in total, with the first on day one in Venice and the last on the final stage in Rome. The paper expects the final time trial to be 15 kilometres, starting and ending in Imperial Fora, and to pass some of the city's famed sites – Porta Pia, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Venezia and the Coliseum.

The Giro d'Italia held its first time trial in 1933, 62 kilometres, won by Alfredo Binda. The longest time trial was in 1951, 81 kilometres, won by Fausto Coppi.

Armstrong announced in October that he would participate in Giro d'Italia as part of his comeback. It is his first time to race the Grand Tour.

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