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With a population of 850,000, the historic city of Turin (Torino) in northwest Italy is a fitting place for the Grande Partenza of the 104th Giro d’Italia. But this is only its third time in race history as the starting host. The first time was 60 years ago, when Spanish sprinter Miguel Poblet out-sped three Italians in a breakaway at the end of a brief 115-kilometer stage around the city. Then, 10 years ago, U.S.-based HTC-High Road won a 19.3-kilometer team time trial, putting its Italian rider Marco Pinotti in the leader’s first pink jersey.
This year, another Italian TT specialist, world champion Filippo Ganna of INEOS Grenadiers is the hot favorite to take the opening stage—just as he did last year in Sicily. Also look for strong performances by a few GC favorites, including Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s João Almeida and Remco Evenepoel (if he’s sufficiently prepared for his debut grand tour), Trek-Segafredo’s Vincenzo Nibali and UAE Emirates’ Brandon McNulty. The 8.6-kilometer course starts with half a lap of the palace-lined Piazza Castello, drops 50 feet (16 meters) to the left bank of the Po River and passes through the Valentino Park before looping over the river on the Isabella di Savo bridge and heading back along the right bank to the finish.