The organisers of the Giro d'Italia have revealed details of a key stage in the 2016 race that will also host the official Gran Fondo ride of the Italian stage race.
Stage 13 will start and finish in the northeastern Friuli Venezia Giulia region on May 20, with the riders facing five tough climbs in just 161km. The stage will start in Palmanova and finish in Cividale del Friuli east of Udine. The Gran Fondo event will cover most of the same route for a distance of 133km, avoiding only the flat roads at the start of the stage. It is possible to enter the Gran Fondo via the official website (granfondogiroditalia.com), with an initial promotional fee of €30.
The Giro d'Italia has often visited the little-known Friuli region, with stages ending atop the steep Zoncolan climb and the race ending in Trieste in 2014. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of a major earthquake that hit the area. The 2016 Giro d'Italia peloton and sportif riders will face five climbs during the stage, with the finish just six kilometres after a technical descent to Campeglio.
"The relationship that exists between the Giro and this Region is truly special. I remember the spectacle of the Giro stages ending in the top of Zoncolan and the emotions of the final stage of Giro d'Italia 2014 in Trieste," Giro d'Italia Director, Mauro Vegni, said at the presentation of the stage.
"I'm sure that the stage that we presented today is going to be beautiful, spectacular and decisive for the Maglia Rosa winner; all the world will have the chance to see it in over 170 countries across the five continent."
Three time trials in 2016
The full route of the 2016 Giro d'Italia will be revealed on Monday, October 3, the day after the Il Lombardia race. RCS Sport has already revealed that the Giro d’Italia will begin with a time trial and two road stages in the Netherlands before a transfer to southern Italy. The route of a key hilly 40km time trial stage in the Chianti vineyards has also been revealed with other stages expected to cover the dirt roads of central Tuscany before heading into the Dolomites and Alps.
Vegni recently revealed to Cyclingnews that the 2016 Giro d'Italia would include three time trials but no team time trial. The third time trial is expected to be a 20km mountain time trial giving a total of 70km of individual time trialing in the 2016 race.
According to a report in the Turin-based La Stampa newspaper, the 2016 Giro d'Italia will finish in Turin after a series of spectacular mountain stages in the Dolomites and Alps.
The second rest day is set to be near Imola and Bologna before a second week in the mountains of northeast Italy after a sprint finish in Jesolo. According to La Stampa, stage 12 finishes in Sappada, near the Sorgenti del Piave mountain refuge, with the mountain time trial to Alpe di Siusi. The race then heads west to Livigno via Andalo for the third and final rest day on Monday, May 23.
La Stampa claims that the three decisive mountain stages in the Alps have been funded and supported by cycling fan and businessman, Elvio Chiatellino, who played a key role in bringing the Tour de France to the region in the past. The trio of mountain stages will end in Pinerolo, Risoul in France and then Sant'Anna di Vinadio. Stage 18 includes the little known La Colletta and the Colle di Pra Martino as it circles Pinerolo. Stage 19 includes the massive Colle dell'Agnello before the finish in Risoul, while stage 20 will return to Italy via the Colle di Vars, the Colle Fauniera and end with the climb to Sant'Anna di Vinadio. The final road race stage on Sunday, May 29 will start in Cuneo and end in Turin.
Alberto Contador won the 2015 Giro d'Italia after a race-long battle with Astana riders Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa. The Spaniard has already announced he focus on the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in his final season in 2016. However, RCS Sport is hoping to attract Vincenzo Nibali and Vuelta a Espana winner Aru (both Astana).