What is this race and why should I care about it?
Why, it's only the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia, the first of the three grand tours, the others being the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
For many aficionados, the Giro is the greatest test a cyclist can face with the stages regularly being longer, higher and, very often, colder than those at the Tour de France, its better known and slightly older cousin.
Following the recent domination of the Tour de France by Team Sky, a number of teams and riders have switched their attention to the Giro meaning the starting line-up will include a number of names familiar to not only the cognoscenti, but of armchair fans of the sport too.
Despite having dominated the race nicknamed la corsa rosa, the pink road, having amassed 69 wins in the previous 99 editions, just two Italian teams – Bardiani-CSF and Wilier-Selle Italia – will start the race.
When is the Giro d'Italia?
This year's Giro d'Italia gets under way on the island of Sardinia at 12.25pm (11.25am BST) on Friday May 5, 2017, and concludes a little over three weeks later on Sunday May 28.
How long is this year's Giro d'Italia?
The total distance of the race is 3,572.2 kilometres – or 2,220 miles in old money. As you can see from the map, after setting off from Sardinia, the travelling circus that is the Giro heads straight over to Sicily for stages four and five before arriving on the mainland.
After working its way up the spine of the country, the final week will, as usual, be a mountainous affair with the Cima Coppi coming on stage 16, the 227km brute from Rovetta to Bormio that includes one climb up and over the Mortirolo Pass and two ascents of the behemoth that is the Stelvio. The great man – that's Fausto Coppi – we think, would approve. The Cima Coppi, incidentally, is highest point of the race where the first rider to reach this point is awarded a lovely cash bonus.
Where does each stage start and end and when are they?
Friday May 5, stage one: Alghero - Olbia, 203km
Saturday May 6, stage two: Olbia - Tortoli, 208km
Sunday May 7, stage three: Tortoli - Cagliari, 148km
Monday May 8: Rest day
Tuesday May 9, stage four: Cefalu - Etna, 181km
Wednesday May 10, stage five: Pedara - Messina, 159km
Thursday May 11, stage six: Reggio Calabria - Terme Luigiane, 217km
Friday May 12, stage seven: Castrovillari - Alberobello, 224km
Saturday May 13, stage eight: Molfetta - Peschici, 189km
Sunday May 14, stage nine: Montenero di Bisaccia - Blockhaus, 149km
Monday May 15: Rest day
Tuesday May 16, stage 10: Foligno - Montefalco (individual time trial), 39.8km
Wednesday May 17, stage 11: Ponte a Ema - Bagno di Romagna, 161km
Thursday May 18, stage 12: Forli - Reggio Emilia, 229km
Friday May 19, stage 13: Reggio Emilia - Tortona, 167km
Saturday May 20, stage 14: Castellania - Santuario di Oropa, 131km
Sunday May 21, stage 15: Valdengo - Bergamo, 199km
Monday May 22: Rest day
Tuesday May 23, stage 16: Rovetta - Bormio, 222km
Wednesday May 24, stage 17: Tirano - Canazei, 219km
Thursday May 25, stage 18: Moena - Ortisei/St. Ulrich, 137km
Friday May 26, stage 19: San Candido - Piancavallo, 191km
Saturday May 27, stage 20: Pordenone - Asiago, 190km
Sunday May 28, stage 21: Monza (Autodromo) - Milan (individual time trial), 29.3km
How can I watch the race?
Those with subscriptions to Eurosport are in luck, the self-styled 'home of cycling' will be broadcasting every day, live, all the way from Italy. Broadcast times and the daily highlights programmes will be shown at different times each day, for full stage-by-stage details refer to our Giro d'Italia on television page.
What teams will ride the Giro d'Italia?
As with all WorldTour races, each of the 18 teams that make up the top-flight of professional cycling receive an invite and in the case with the Giro d'Italia all are contracted to race. Here are the teams that will present themselves on the starting line on Friday May 5 ...
- Ag2r-La Mondiale
- BMC Racing
- Dimension Data
- Lotto NL-Jumbo
- Quick-Step Floors
- Team Sky
- UAE Team Emirates
Race organisers RCS Sport have also handed wildcard spots to ...
Each team will start with nine riders. Though the final starting line-up has yet to be confirmed, you can find here the provisional selections of riders that will contest the opening grand tour of the season.
Who should you watch out for on the road to Milan?
Who are the bookmakers' favourites for the race?
- Nairo Quintana: 10-11
- Vincenzo Nibali: 6-1
- Steven Kruijswijk: 8-1
- Mikel Landa: 10-1
- Tom Dumoulin: 12-1
- Geraint Thomas: 14-1
- Thibaut Pinot: 14-1
- Bauke Mollema: 16-1
- Adam Yates: 18-1
- Ilnur Zakarin: 22-1
- Odds: Bet365, correct as of May 2, 2017.