The 101st edition of the Giro d'Italia starts in Israel on Friday, May 4 and ends three weeks later in Rome on Sunday, May 27. It is the 13th time the Giro d'Italia will start outside of Italy and the first time for the Grande Partenza outside of Europe.
The race consists of 21 stages and three rest days on the three Mondays; with three stages in Israel, three on the island of Sicily on the return to Italy. The remaining 15 stages taking the riders north to the Carnic Alps to climb Monte Zoncolan and then west to the Alps near the French border for the final mountain stages to Prato Nevoso, Jafferau and Cervinia. The riders will transfer from Israel to Italy and to the final stage in Rome by plane.
Rome will host the final stage for only the fourth time. It previously hosted the concluding stage in 1911, 1950 and 2009.
Longest stage: Stage 10 from Penne to Gualdo Tadino will be the longest stage of the 2018 Giro d'Italia at 239km. The longest-ever stage was from Lucca to Rome in 1914 over a distance of 430km.
Shortest stage: The stage 1 time trial is the shortest at 9.7km.
The stages are officially classified depending on the degree of difficulty to decide the official time cut and other organisational aspects.
Time trial stages: 2
Low difficulty stages: 7
Medium difficulty stages: 6
High difficulty stages: 6
Leaders jerseys and teams
There are again expected to be four leader's jersey awarded to the leaders of the special classification.
The race leadership is based on the lowest overall time and that rider wears the iconic pink jersey or maglia rosa. It is pink because the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that created the race in 1909 is printed on pink paper. The pink jersey was first introduced in 1931. Tom Dumoulin last wore it as winner of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.
The cyclamen-coloured jersey is award to the rider who scores the most points scored on stages, rewarding success and consistency. Fernando Gaviria won four stages and the cyclamen jersey in 2017.
The blue or azzurra jersey is awarded to the best climber, with points award on the classified climbs that feature on some stages. Mikel Landa won the blue jersey in 2017.
The white jersey is award to the best young rider under the age of 25 and, like the pink jersey, it is calculated on overall time. Bob Jungels won the white jersey in 2017.
Peloton size: The 2018 Giro d'Italia will consist of 176 riders, down from 198, following the introduction of the new UCI rule for team sizes. A record 298 riders started the 1928 Giro d'Italia.
Teams: 22 teams of eight riders will make up the peloton. The 18 WorldTour teams have an automatic invitation, with race organisers RCS Sport awarding four so-called wildcard invitations. One invitation is widely expected to go the Israel Cycling Academy. The four wild cards are expected to be named in early January.
The 2018 Giro d'Italia will again remember several historic moments in the history of the race and of Italy.
The opening time trial will be the 'Gino Bartali stage' in recognition of him being included in the 682 "Righteous among the Nations" heroes. Bartali – a three-time Giro d'Italia winner – smuggled information in the handlebars of his bike in Nazi-occupied Italy to help protect Jewish refugees during WWII.
Stage 9 to Campo Imperatore in the shadows of the Gran Sasso the 'Pantani stage' will remember the Italian climber Marco Pantani, who died tragically in 2004. He won at Campo Imperatore in 1999 before disqualified from the race in Madonna di Campiglio for a high haematocrit.
Stage 11 to Osimo will pass through Filottrano to remember Michele Scarponi after he was killed training near home just a days before the 2017 Giro d'Italia. Scarponi won the 2011 Giro d'Italia after the disqualification of Alberto Contador.
Several stages in the northeast of Italy will remember the victims of WWI on the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
WWI will be remembered on several stages in northeast of Italy
The Cima Coppi prize, named after five-time winner Fausto Coppi, is awarded to the first rider to reach the summit of the highest climb of each Giro d'Italia. The Colle delle Finestre dirt-road climb during stage 19 is the highest point of the 2018 Giro d'Italia at 2,178m.
Froome, the Giro and the double
Victory at the Giro d'Italia would put him with Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. It would also be his third consecutive victory in a Grand Tour after winning the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.
Clean sweeps: 4 riders have led the Giro d'Italia from start to finish: Costante Girardengo (in 1919), Alfredo Binda (1927), Eddy Merckx (1973) and Gianni Bugno (1990)
Giro wins without stage victories: 14 times, a rider won no stages en route to overall victory.
Italian winners: 69 Italian riders have won the Giro d'Italia,
Foreign winners: 31 riders from other nations
Youngest winner: Fausto Coppi, in 1940 he was 20 years, 158 days old when he won the Giro.
Oldest winner: Fiorenzo Magni is the oldest winner of the Giro d'Italia. He was 34 and 180 days old when he won the 1955 Giro d'Italia. Froome will turn 33 on May 20, while riding stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia from Tolmezzo to Sappada.
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