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87th Giro d'Italia Route Presentation: Special Report
By Fabio
Date: 11/8/2003
87th Giro d'Italia Route Presentation: Special Report

Here it is. The 2004 Tour of Italy.
Courtesy of Gazzetta dello Sport

The 87th edition of the cycling Tour of Italy "got underway" on Saturday November 8, with the official presentation of the route, which took place at "Auditorium" Theatre in dowtown Milan.

With many protagonists of the last edition (including podium finishers Gilberto Simoni and Yaroslav Popovych, fourth place getter Andrea Noé and many others) attending the event, details of the 2004 version of the “Corsa Rosa” have finally been unveiled.

As anticipated in previous articles, the 87th Giro is set to kick off in the coastal town of Genoa, ready to host the race start for the third time after 1980 (when Bernard Hinault won the Tour of Italy) and 1992 (that was the first of two overall wins by "Big Mig" Indurain) and finish into Milan, 22 days later as usual.

The opening leg will consist of a prologue against the clock, probably inside a urban circuit, although more details will be communicated in the near future. The "race of the truth" as opening stage is back to the Giro after last year's "Sprinters Festival" in Lecce was the exception to the rule.

The first road stage takes riders from Genoa to the Piedmontese town of Alba (Cuneo Province), with quite a demanding route also featuring a climb, the Colle di Cadibona. But if you expect a break to make it to the line, you might be disappointed: sprinters will hardly miss the first opportunity to write their names in the race palmares. The fastest wheels in the pack will be given plenty of chances throughout the first week, where the peloton will be heading southward.

But even in these first days, our heroes will have to take some rides over the Appennine climbs, and on Wednesday, May 12 the bunch is going to find the first “uphill” finish. Ok, it’s neither the Mortirolo nor Zoncolan, but we may start having a clue of who’s hot and who’s not. Even though the first real test is set to come four days later, with the first real, demanding mountain top finish up to Montevergine di Mercogliano, in the Campania region of Southern Italy.

The Giro will reach its southernmost point in the next leg, finishing into Policoro (Lucania region) then move eastward into Apulia, where the usual “Sprinters festival” is meant to take place at Carovigno, in the outskirts of Brindisi.

The comeback to the North of the country will start with the first rest day (Tuesday, May 18) and the transfer to the Marche region, for the next, 145 Km. stage between Porto Sant’Elpidio and Ascoli Piceno. The seaside resort of Porto Sant’Elpidio is going to host the start of the following leg too, a lap finishing into Cesena and good for the fastmen, that will have one more stage at disposal in Treviso ....

... before the going gets tough, and the overall contenders get going: first with the only ITT (prologue aside) of the 2004 Giro, a 51-km. stage in the Trieste area. Later, after a quick move into Slovenian and Croatian territory (with a stage finish in the Istrian town of Porec/Parenzo) and some more stuff for sprinters in the planes of Friuli Venezia Giulia, in three terrible mountain stages over the Alps and Dolomites: just look at the climb lists down in the page and you may realize what anyone wishing to be dressed in “Rosa” in Milan will have to tackle in Stages 16, 18 and 19.

And the penultimate, decisive stage, when we get to know the name of the 87th Giro d‘Italia winner, is also featured by the comeback of the nation’s most feared mountain (at least as long as the “wrong” side of Zoncolan, the one not tackled in last year’s Giro, is off-limit to cycling), the gruelling Mortirolo, five years after his "last time", when a certain Roberto Heras (then a young talent racing for Kelme) surprised many at was the first to cross the finish line at Aprica. But in 2004 the "Mortirolo stage" is set to end over Passo della Presolana, an ascent in the Bergamo area, that will host a Giro stage finish for the first time.

The next day, Sunday May 30, all riders not forced out by he toughness of the previous stages will be at the start line in the nearby hamlet of Clusone and head for the “promise land”, Milano.

Below is the full stage list, and links to all features of the Daily Peloton's special coverage of the 2004 Giro route presentation, from main difficulties and mountain stage altimetry links to rider reactions, from some comparison statistics to more details and tidbits on the 2004 Tour of Italy, from all results of the 2003 edition to the historical side of the matter, with the complete palmares of the race, and lists of all winners in all classifications. And you can even find a route description from the Gazzetta dello Sport, and the link to our coverage of the 2002 Giro, won by Paolo Savoldelli ahead of Tyler Hamilton and Pietro Caucchioli.

87th Giro d'Italia: Stages

Prologue - Saturday, May 08:
Genoa City Circuit (ITT)

Stage 1 - Sunday, May 09:
Genoa - Alba, 149 Km.

Stage 2 - Monday, May 10:
Novi Ligure - Pontremoli, 183 Km.

Stage 3 - Tuesday, May 11:
Pontremoli - Corno Alle Scale, 190 Km.

Stage 4 - Wednesday, May 12:
Porretta Terme - Civitella In Val Di Chiana (Stab. Del Tongo), 187 Km.

Stage 5 - Thursday, May 13:
Civitella In Val Di Chiana (Del Tongo Manufacturing), - Spoleto 174 Km.

Stage 6 - Friday, May 14:
Spoleto - Valmontone (Polo Turistico), 163 Km.

Stage 7 - Saturday, May 15:
Frosinone - Montevergine Di Mercogliano, 211 Km.

Stage 8 - Sunday, May 16:
Giffoni Valle Piana - Policoro, 234 Km.

Stage 9 - Monday, May 17:
Policoro - Carovigno, 142 Km.

Tuesday, May 18 - Rest Day

Stage 10 - Wednesday, May 19:
Porto Sant’elpidio - Ascoli Piceno, 145 Km.

Stage 11 - Thursday, May 20:
Porto Sant’elpidio - Cesena, 229 Km.

Stage 12 - Friday, May 21:
Cesena - Treviso, 216 Km.

Stage 13 - Saturday, May 22:
Trieste - Altopiano Carsico (ITT) - 52 Km.

Stage 14 - Sunday, May 23:
Trieste - Pula/Pola (Croatia), 166 Km.

Stage 15 - Monday, May 24:
Porec¢/Parenzo (Croatia) - San Vendemiano, 229 Km.

Stage 16 - Tuesday, May 25:
San Vendemiano - Falzes, 215 Km.

Wednesday, May 26 - Rest Day

Stage 17 - Thursday, May 27:
Brunico - Fondo Sarnonico, 158 Km.

Stage 18 - Friday, May 28:
Cles Val Di Non - Bormio 2000, 120 Km.

Stage 19 - Saturday, May 29:
Bormio - Presolana, 121 Km.

Stage 20 - Sunday, May 30:
Clusone - Milano, 144km

87th Giro d'Italia on the Daily Peloton - Links

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