Next year’s Giro d’Italia will start in Liguria with an 18-kilometre team time trial – and unusually, one that will be held on a cycle path.
The Riviera dei Fiori cycle path was built on the site of the former coastal railway line linking Italy with the South of France, replaced by a new line in 2001 that mainly runs underground.
Race organisers RCS Sport confirmed details of the 2015 Grande Partenza in Milan this morning, with the opening stage from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo taking place on Saturday 9 May.
Like the annual Milan-San Remo classic, the stage will finish on the Lungomare Italo Calvino in the seaside resort.
Liguria will also host the following two days of the hree-week race.
Stage 2 from Albenga finishes with four laps of a 7.5 kilometre circuit in the region’s capital, Genoa, and is likely to favour the sprinters.
That will be followed by a testing run down the coast from Chiavari to La Spezia – Alessandro Petacchi’s home town – which will take in the hills in and around the beautiful coastal villages of the Cinque Terre.
It will be the fifth time that the Giro d’Italia has started in Liguria, and Tour de France winner and current Italian national champion Vincenzo Nibali has already expressed hopes to ride in next year’s race.
“The Giro d’Italia is very important for me and I would like to send my regards to everyone,” said the Astana rider.
“I have a very special bond with the Giro because it’s the race that launched me onto the Grand Tour scene. I can say I wish to come back in 2015.”
Race director Mauro Vegni said: “The three stages in Liguria, we are sure, will be a great success. This land is double-knotted to cycling and its passion has never ceased.
“Next year will be the fifth Giro Big Start from Liguria, and countless towns and villages have hosted the Giro’s stages throughout its history, either as stage starts or finishes. And this is on top of prestigious events such as the Milan-San Remo. We therefore expect a lot of people and a lot of love.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.