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Giro d'Italia

Details of the Giro d’Italia’s centenary edition begin to percolate

The 100th Giro d'Italia will begin in Sardinia and likely include famous climbs such as the Mortirolo, Stelvio, Oropa, and Piancavallo.

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FLORENCE (VN) — The Giro d’Italia next May — the 100th edition — will begin in Sardinia, run completely on Italian roads and likely include famous climbs such as the Mortirolo, Stelvio, Oropa, and Piancavallo.

Organizer RCS Sport has given little away so far. In years past, it announced one or two stages by this point, and already confirmed its grande partenza. This 2015 Giro took off in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and ended in Turin with Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) the winner.

RCS Sport will reveal the first stages on Wednesday at a presentation in Milan, although an insider has already confirmed Sardinia will be the start this May. The presentation will give followers an idea of where on the big island the Italian grand tour will begin. Some say it could kick off in the northwest in Sassari and include three stages, surly one would pass the home of Fabio Aru (Astana), second overall in 2015, in San Gavino Monreale.

The route beyond Sardinia is slowly surfacing via whispers from those on the inside.

The race could make a stop on Nibali’s island of Sicily before heading over to the heel of the Italian boot in Puglia. Towns Giovinazzo and Alberobello, famous for unique trulli homes, are on the menu.

It should pass Tuscany for Gino Bartali and the Tortona hills to Castellania for Fausto Coppi — two Italian cycling greats. Like in the past three years with the Barolo, Prosecco, and Chianti time trials, the organizer will again make a nod to one of Italy’s great exports, its wine. It should run an individual time trial through the Franciacorta hills, including Berlucchi, near Brescia.

The long Alpine passes and technical descents mark every Giro d’Italia, just ask Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL – Jumbo) who lost the pink jersey on the Colle dell’Agnello after crashing into a snow bank this May.

Bergamo, home of Santini, Bianchi, and many of cycling’s big brands, should play a big role. The race will arrive there ahead of the second rest day with a stage similar to the 2016 Giro di Lombardia announced this week. It will be a tough stage, with around 4,000 meters of climbing in the surrounding valleys, and a downhill finish in Bergamo. After a rest, the race reportedly will depart from Bergamo for the Stelvio Pass via the Mortirolo.

The final week should also include summit finishes dear to Marco Pantani fans: Oropa and the Piancavallo ski resort in the Dolomites. Italian Enrico Battaglin won the last time the raced visited the Oropa Sanctuary in 2014.

Insiders are still scratching their heads as to where the 100th edition will finish. Some are saying Rome, but it appears too far for race director Mauro Vegni to take the peloton. Instead, as in 1909 when Luigi Ganna won the first edition, the 100th edition will likely finish in Milan. Piazzale Loreto, the start of the 1909 Giro, the Arena Civica, the finish, or perhaps the famous Vigorelli Velodrome could host the celebrations.