Giro d’Italia to start on cycle path in 2015

Riders compete at the Giro d'Italia. (Fabio Ferrari/AP)

MILAN, Italy — The 2015 Giro d’Italia will start with a team time trial from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo along a cycle path down the Ligurian coast.

It will be the first time that a stage in a Grand Tour will take place entirely on a cycle path, with the 18-kilometre (11-mile) opening leg on the stunning Riviera dei Fiori course built on a former rail track.

The region of Liguria will host the first three stages of the 98th Italian Grand Tour, race organizer RCS Sport announced on Tuesday.

Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali, who won the Giro in 2013, hinted he would ride in next year’s race as part of a possible Giro-Tour double.

"The Giro d’Italia is very important for me," Nibali said in a video message. "I have a very special bond with the Giro because it’s the race that launched me onto the Grand Tour scene. I wish to come back to the Giro, in 2015."

The second stage is one for sprinters. It is a 150-kilometre route between Albenga and Genoa, including a final four circuits in the city centre.

It will be followed by a hilly stage on the spectacular Cinque Terre coastal roads, with a 185-kilometre leg from Chiavari to La Spezia.

"We are sure the three stages in Liguria will be a great success," race director Mauro Vegni said. "This area is closely tied to cycling, and its passion has never dropped. In fact, next year will be the fifth Big Start from Liguria. We expect a lot of people and a lot of love."

The Giro runs from May 9-31.

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