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2015 Giro to start along the Italian Riviera

The Giro d’Italia returns to Italy for 2015, with a three-day “Big Depart” along the Italian Riviera for early May next year.

After a highly successful start in Belfast, Northern Ireland this year, the Giro returns to home roads for the start of the 2015 edition.

Giro officials confirmed Tuesday that three stages will roll along the spectacular Ligurian coast, marking the fifth time in Giro history the race will start in the region known for its hilltop towns and sparkling beaches.

The Giro will open on May 9 with an 18-kilometer team time trial along a bike path built over an old railroad right-of-way along the Italian Riviera. The route will start near the base of the Cipressa climb, and hug the coast all the way to Sanremo. The pathway, which was recently inaugurated, is more than two meters wide, offering a narrow raceway for the technical, high-speed team race against the clock.

Stage 2 will run along roads, from Albenga to Genoa in a sprint-friendly stage. The stage will conclude with four laps on a 7.5km urban circuit.

The following day pedals further south, straddling the spectacular Cinque Terre coastline, hitting the Biassi climb before the finale that should test the GC riders right from the start. The race will conclude on May 31.

Recently crowned Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has hinted he would return to the Giro next year, setting the stage for a run at the Giro-Tour double, a feat not equaled since Marco Pantani won both in 1998.

Defending Giro champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who returns to competition next week at the Vuelta a Burgos, has suggested he will not return to defend his pink jersey next season, focusing instead on the Tour.

Complete Giro route details will be released later this year.

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