by Barnaby Chesterman
ROME, Oct 16, 2011 (AFP) – The 95th edition of the Tour of Italy will start
in Denmark following the official presentation of the race in Milan on Sunday.
The race will cover 3,476km over 21 stages from May 5-27, finishing in
Milan with a 31.5km individual time-trial.
The start in Herning, Denmark will be the most northern point in the race’s
Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain joined former winner and home
favorite Ivan Basso for the presentation which revealed three time-trials,
including the opening 8.7km individual test and a longer 32.2km team
time-trial on the fourth stage, the first one in Italy.
Due to an internet leak the exact route of the course was no surprise for
many but even so produced an interesting change as the race will start in
Herning for the first two stages before moving to Hersens for the third.
That will be followed by the first rest day as the riders and teams
transfer to Italy.
The longest stage of the race is the 11th, held over 243km from Assisi to
Montecatini Terme, a stage that should favor one-day classics specialists.
But although the course does not appear the toughest, the organizers insist
that there are seven stages to test the legs of the mountain specialists in
what they describe as “the toughest race in the world in the most beautiful
country in the world”.
None more so than the 19th and 20th stages, finishing on the Alpe di
Pampeago and the historic Passo dello Stelvio respectively, just before the
final stage time-trial, ensuring the potential for fireworks right to the last.
There are also several other imposing climbs such as the Cervinia and
Even if the climbers may feel they have few epic stages to make a
difference, the time-trial specialists will consider their’s equally slim
There are no long time-trials with the final 31.5km stage unlikely to
produce great gaps between the overall contenders.
Even less so the short opening stage.
It is perhaps the team time-trial that will prove most decisive, although
again it is not a particularly long one.
While the race may be starting in a country at the other end of Europe,
organizers this year have at least tried to reduce the traveling time between
stages by producing a smoother route, in part due to much criticism in
A list of the 21 stages of the 2012 Tour of
Italy, starting in Herning, Denmark on May 5, which was announced in Milan on
Stage 1 – May 5: Herning (Denmark) – Herning (8.7km, time-trial)
Stage 2 – May 6: Herning – Herning (206km)
Stage 3 – May 7: Horsens (Denmark) – Horsens (190km)
Rest Day – May 8
Stage 4 – May 9: Verona – Verona (32.2km team time-trial)
Stage 5 – May 10: Modena – Fano (199km)
Stage 6 – May 11: Urbino – Porto Sant’Elpidio (207km)
Stage 7 – May 12: Recanati – Rocca di Cambio (202km)
Stage 8 – May 13: Sulmona – Lago Laceno (229km)
Stage 9 – May 14: San Giorgio del Sannio – Frosinone (171km)
Stage 10 – May 15: Civitavecchia – Assisi (187km)
Stage 11 – May 16: Assisi – Montecatini Terme (243km)
Stage 12 – May 17: Seravezza – Sestri Levante (157km)
Stage 13 – May 18: Savona – Cervere (121km)
Stage 14 – May 19: Cherasco – Cervinia (205km)
Stage 15 – May 20: Busto Arsizio – Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli (172km)
Rest Day – May 21
Stage 16 – May 22: Limone sul Garda – Falzes (174km)
Stage 17 – May 23: Falzes – Cortina d’Ampezzo (187km)
Stage 18 – May 24: San Vito di Cadore – Vedelago (139km)
Stage 19 – May 25: Treviso – Alpe di Pampeago (197km)
Stage 20 – May 26: Caldes/Val di Sole – Passo dello Stelvio (218km)
Stage 21 – May 27: Milan – Milan (31.5km time-trial)