Zomegnan presents an all-inclusive 2010 Giro d'Italia

Giro d'Italia race director Angelo Zomegnan presented the official 2010 race route today in Milan, Italy. The three-week race, May 8 to 30, will start in the capital of The Netherlands, Amsterdam, and will end in Verona, Italy.

The 2010 Giro will includes six mountain stages – taking in the climbs of the Terminillo, Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Pejo Terme, Mortirolo and Gavia – and seven sprinters' stage. It will begin and end with individual time trials. It also includes a team time trial in Cuneo and a mountain time trial (Plan de Corones).

"The Giro is suited to me: the time trial, the mountain time trial, stages to Plans de Corones, Zoncolan, Gavia and Mortirolo," said 2008 Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador.

Stages of the 2010 Giro d'Italia:

Stage 1 - Saturday, May 8, Amsterdam TT, 8.4km
Stage 2 - Sunday, May 9, Amsterdam - Utrecht, 209km
Stage 3 - Monday, May 10, Amsterdam - Middelburg, 209km
Rest day, Tuesday, May 11, Savigliano
Stage 4 - Wednesday, May 12, Savigliano - Cuneo TTT, 32.5km
Stage 5 - Thursday, May 13, Novara - Novi Ligure, 168km
Stage 6 - Friday, May 14, Fidenza - Marina di Carrara, 166km
Stage 7 - Saturday, May 15, Carrara - Montalcino, 215km
Stage 8 - Sunday, May 16, Chianciano - Monte Terminillo, 189km
Stage 9 - Monday, May 17, Frosinone - Cava de' Tirreni, 188km
Stage 10 - Tuesday, May 18, Avellino - Bitonto, 220km
Stage 11 - Wednesday, May 19, Lucera - L’Aquila, 256km
Stage 12 - Thursday, May 20, Città Sant'Angelo - Porto Recanati, 191km
Stage 13 - Friday, May 21, Porto Recanati - Cesenatico, 222km
Stage 14 - Saturday, May 22, Ferrara - Asolo (Monte Grappa), 201km
Stage 15 - Sunday, May 23, Mestre - Zoncolan, 218km
Rest day, Monday, May 24, Friuli
Stage 16 - Tuesday, May 25, San Vigilio di Marebbe - Plan de Corones TT, 12.9km
Stage 17 - Wednesdday, May 26, Brunico - Pejo Terme, 173km
Stage 18 - Thursday, May 27, Levico Terme - Brescia, 151km
Stage 19 - Friday, May 28, Brescia - Aprica, 195km
Stage 20 -  Saturday, May 29, Bormio - Passo del Tonale, 178km
Stage 21 - Sunday, May 30, Verona - Verona TT, 15.3km

Amsterdam welcomes Giro d'Italia

Giro organisers RCS Sport have chosen to begin the race outside of Italy. 45 years after its first foreign start; San Marino in 1965. It starts with three stages in The Netherlands, all based from Amsterdam: the first, a 8.4-kilometre time trial, is to be followed by two sprint stages to Utrecht and Middelburg, respectively.

Like the Vuelta a España, the Giro d'Italia will take an early rest on day four and travel the 1200 kilometres from The Netherlands to Savigliano, Italy.

The race resumes the next day with a 32.5-kilometre team time trial in Piemonte, from Savigliano to Cuneo. Stage five celebrates 50 years since cycling great Fausto Coppi died with a stage to his hometown of Novi Ligure.

The white, rolling gravel roads RCS Sport uses in its Monte Paschi Eroica one-day race appear in stage seven, from Carrara to Montalcino. The stage will include approximately 15 of its 215 kilometres on gravel roads.

The mountaintop finish to Lazio's Monte Terminillo, stage eight, will cause the first big splits in the overall classification. The 16.1-kilometre climb will see the peloton ascend to 2217 metres.

Building to Zoncolan

The race continues south through the Campania region and then to Puglia. The Giro d'Italia pays respect to victims of this year's earthquake in Abruzzo's L'Aquila, with a stage finish (from Lucera) and a stage start (to Porto Recanati).

The race will travel north toward Emilia-Romagna for a stage to Marco Pantani's town, Cesenatico. The 222-kilometre stage covers the Perticara and Barbotto climbs. The next stage covers the 18.9-kilometre Monte Grappa (1675m) climb, with gravel sections. The summit of the Grappa will leave 41.6 kilometres to race.

Monte Grappa will warm the riders' legs for two stages in the Dolomites. The riders face a 218-kilometre stage from Mestre to the mountaintop Zoncolan finish on the eve of the Giro's second rest day. The 10.1-kilometre Zoncolan climb, along with a long, narrow tunnel, contains sections of 18 to 22 percent gradients, with an average of 11.9 percent.

Plan de Corones to Verona's arena

The Giro d'Italia re-starts with its second visit to Plan de Corones. Like 2008, the organisers planned a mountain time trial up the gravel roads, from San Vigilio a Plan de Corones, a  climb the Giro first attempted to use in 2006, when snow prevented passage.

Plan de Corones will establish a clear idea of the overall classification, but the Alpine mountains of Lombardia could have the last word. Following a mountain stage to Pejo Terme (1393m), the race will travel to Lombardia for a two-stage mountain finale.

Friday's stage from Brescia takes the riders over Passo del Mortirolo (1854m) before its arrival in to Aprica, 32.6 kilometres later. The next day, riders will climb the Passo di Gavia (2618m) and finish up the Passo del Tonale (1883m).

Riders will fight for or defend their final classification places on Sunday. The Giro, as the past two years, ends with a time trial. The 15.3-kilometre stage ends inside Verona's Arena, where in 1984 Italy's Francesco Moser won the stage and took the overall from France's Laurent Fignon.

The 2009 Giro d'Italia, won by Russia's Denis Menchov (Rabobank), finished in the south and lacked the high mountain stages. For 2010, RCS Sport has brought the Giro d'Italia back to its standard format: a final explosive week of mountain stages through the Dolomites and Alps. 

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Mountain stages:

There are six mountain stages scheduled for the 2010 Giro d'Italia route, and they include some of the races's most famous climbs.

Monte Terminillo (1672m): 16.1 kilometres long, 1172 metres of climbing. The Giro passed over the climb - from the other direction - in 2007's stage to Spoleto. Colombian Luis Felipe Laverde won the stage and Italian Marco Pinotti took the maglia rosa.

Monte Zoncolan (1730m): It's Gilberto Simoni's climb. He won both times the Giro used it, 2003 and 2007. Like 2007, it will climb 10.1 kilometres from Ovaro: 1200 metres of climbing and a maximum percent of 22.

Plan de Corones (2273m): In 2008, Franco Pellizotti won at Plan de Corones; its first appearance. The 12.85-kilometre climb will start in San Vigilio di Marebbe and ends with 5.25 kilometres over sterrato ('gravel') roads, including sections of 24 percent gradient.

Pejo Terme (1393m): Dutchman Johan van der Velde won the only time the Giro visited the Pejo climb, in 1986.

Passo di Mortirolo (1854m): Although never a stage finish, Mortirolo has been used nine times since 1990. Venezuela's Leonardo Sierra was first rider over in 1990 and Spaniard Antonio Colom was first in 2008.

The 2010 Giro will climb from Mazzo di Valtellina as it has in every year, except 1990. The Mortirolo rises 1317 metres in 12.8 kilometres, an average of 10.3 percent gradient and maximum of 18 percent after the San Matteo church. It leaves 32.6 kilometres to race to Aprica (1173m).

Passo di Gavia (2618m): The Giro celebrates 50 years since it first used the Gavia climb. Italy's Imerio Massignan passed over first in 1960, but two punctures allowed Luxembourg's Charly Gaul to catch and pass him on the descent. The last time the Giro visited, in 2008, Mexican Julio Pérez Cuapio topped the climb first.

The 2010 stage climbs up the opposite side used in the 1960 and 2008 editions. From Bormio, it climbs 24.9 kilometres with an average percent gradient of 5.6 percent. It leaves 29.2 kilometres to race, to the Passo del Tonale (1883m).

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