The route for the 2013 Giro d’Italia has been unveiled and features a typically-mountainous route interspersed with three separate time trials.
The 96th edition of the race commences with a looped road stage in Naples on Saturday 4 May and culminates on Sunday 26 May on another city circuit in Brescia.
3405km must be travelled in between, with seven summit finishes and 88.9km of time trialling set to heavily influence the battle for the Maglia Rosa.
The first race against the clock comes on stage two with a 17.4km team time trial around the island of Ishia. The riders must then contest the 55.5km route from Gabicce Mare to Saltara alone on stage eight, before a potentially-decisive mountain time trial on stage 18.
The climbing itself will commence with a summit finish on stage three, but the purists will have to wait until stage 10 before hit the very highest peaks. The Altopiano del Montasio is looming large there, with an ascent of the Jafferau following four days later.
The race’s sole foray onto foreign soil comes on stage 15, when the French peaks of the Col di Mont Cenis and Col du Télégraphe must both be crested before the iconic climb of the Galibier.
Surprisingly, the Galibier is not the highest climb on next year's race, that honour falls to the Passo dello Stelvio on stage 19, with the riders also facing the legendary Passo di Gavia before they begin one last ascent to Val Martello.
The penultimate stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo is also packed with climbing, with the Costalunga, San Pellegrino, Giau and Tre Croci all featuring before the summit finish at Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Opportunities for the sprinters appear limited in comparison, with uphill finishes or late climbs on the stages to Marina di Ascea, Matera, Pescara, Florence, Cherasco, Ivrea and Vicenza setto scupper their chance. The only two which look nailed on for the fast men are stages six and 12 into Margherita di Savoia and Treviso respectively.
Giro d'Italia 2013 Stages:
Saturday 4 May 4 - Stage one: Napoli to Napoli - 156km
Sunday 5 May - Stage two: Ischia (TTT) - 17.4km
Monday 6 May - Stage three: Sorrento to Ascea Marina - 212km
Tuesday 7 May - Stage four: Policastro to Serra San Bruno - 244km
Wednesday 8 May - Stage five: Cosenza to Matera - 199km
Thursday 9 May - Stage six: Mola Di Bari to Margherita Di Savoia - 154km
Friday 10 May - Stage seven: San Salvo to Pescara - 162km
Saturday 11 May - Stage eight: Gabicce Mare to Saltara (TT) - 55.5km
Sunday 12 May - Stage nine: Sansepolcro to Firenze - 181km
Monday 13 May 13 - Rest day
Tuesday 14 May - Stage 10: Cordenons to Montasio - 167km
Wednesday 15 May - Stage 11: Cave Del Predil to Erto (Vajont) - 184km
Thursday 16 May - Stage 12: Longarone to Treviso - 127km
Friday 17 May 17 - Stage 13: Busseto to Cherasco - 242km
Saturday 18 May - Stage 14: Cervere to Bardonecchia (Jafferau) - 156km
Sunday 19 May - Stage 15: Cesana Torinese to Galibier, France - 150km
Monday 20 May - Rest day
Tuesday 21 May 21 - Stage 16: Valloire, France to Ivrea - 237km
Wednesday 22 May - Stage 17: Caravaggio to Vicenza - 203km
Thursday 23 May - Stage 18: Mori to Polsa (TT) - 19.4km
Friday 24 May - Stage 19: Ponte Di Legno to Val Martello - 138km
Saturday 25 May - Stage 20: Silandro to Tre Cime Lavaredo - 202km
Sunday 26 May - Stage 21: Riese Pio X to Brescia - 199km