GIRO D’ITALIA ORGANISERS yesterday unveiled a time trial-heavy race route for 2013 that they hope will entice Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins into challenging for the race’s pink jersey.
Wiggins became Britain’s first yellow jersey champion in July thanks to a combination of his Sky team controlling rivals in the mountain stages and Wiggins’ two victories in the race’s two long time-trials.
The Briton, who went on to claim Olympic time trial gold in London, is uncertain to defend his title in 2013 because the Tour de France is set to be a far more mountainous affair.
Observers believe that if that is the case it could be more suited to his Sky teammate Chris Froome, who looked far more at ease in the mountain stages of the July epic than Wiggins. The 2013 Giro d’Italia includes nearly 75 km of time trials for a total race distance of 3400 km. It will start in Naples on May 4 and finish in Brescia on May 26.
The race, considered the most prestigious Grand Tour after the Tour de France, will also feature a stage in France where the peloton will tackle the legendary Galibier from its northern side. On the penultimate stage the peloton will tackle the climb to the Trois Cimes du Lavaredo, one of the race’s mythical ascensions which featured regularly in the 1960s and 70s when Eddy Merckx was in his prime.
That stage comes a day after another high mountain stage on which the peloton will be dragged over the Gavia and Stelvio mountain passes. As well as the two individual time trials, one of which will be uphill, the race will feature a team time trial on the island of Ischia on stage two.
A day after the Tour of Lombardy, several former winners were in attendance including Canada’s defending champion Ryder Hesjedal and Spain’s 2008 winner Alberto Contador — now supported by Irish rider Nicolas Roche – as well as British sprint king Mark Cavendish.