08 March 2011

2011 Giro d'Italia teams

23 teams to race in the Giro
This year 207 riders will race the Giro d'Italia on May 7-29, 2011. The UCI has a limit of 200 riders, but RCS Sport received special permission to exceed the rider cap in exchange for collaborating on doping inquiries. Nice teamwork. There will be 23 teams with 9 riders each. Rosters are not finalized, but each team must submit 12 entrant names by April 7th. 
The big news of the year, is that this is the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy (94th edition of the Giro). What that really means is, anything that can be celebrated will be. But the organizers have planned a fantastic route for the 2011 Giro. Now I am really wishing I had plans to go see the race live.  
The Giro d'Italia will start in Torino (Turin) with a 22km team time trial and end in Milano (Milan) with a 32.8km individual time trial. The Giro does it right! The route will visit 17 of the 20 regions of Italy, during three weeks of racing, over 40 major mountain climbs, with seven mountain finishes. 
The exact route can be viewed at the Giro d'Italia official website. It is big! Some of the highlights of 2011 include:
  • Stage 14 finish on Monte Zoncolan in the Dolomites
  • Stage 15 includes five major climbs, including the Passo Giau (2236 m)
  • 2 stages climb Mount Etna on Sicily
  • A climb of the gravel road of Colle delle Finestre above Sestriere
  • Stage finish on Grossglockner, in Austria, Europe’s highest road (2,572m)
2011 Giro d'Italia route map
They climb a lot in the Giro! The Giro is supposed to be hard and this year they deliver. It is also very exciting, with fantastic scenery and my favorite Grand Tour race of the year. As usual I find CyclingNews.com and Steephill.TV are the best sources of live news of the race. I look forward to the early mornings with a coffee in hand and multiple browsers open on my computer watching the action. I plan to watch the Giro daily (even while at the Amgen Tour of California). Is it May yet? I can't wait.
A snapshot of the entire route can be seen here: 2011Giro d'Italia Profile
ProTour Teams for the 2011 Giro d'Italia (announced March 7, 2011)
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
BMC Racing Team (Usa)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
HTC-Highroad (Usa)
Katusha Team (Rus)
Lampre-ISD (Ita)
Leopard-Trek (Lus)
Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
Movistar Team (Spa)
Omega Pharma-Lotto (Bel)
Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
QuickStep Cycling Team (Bel)
Rabobank Cycling Team (Ola)
Saxo Bank-Sungard (Dan)
Sky Pro Cycling (GB)
Team Garmin-Cervelo (Usa)
Team RadioShack (Usa)
Vacansoleil-DCM (Ola)
Pro Continental Teams
Acqua & Sapone (Ita)
Androni Giocattoli (Ita)
Colnago-CSF (Ita)
Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli (GB)
Geox-TMC (Spa) 

Once the final team rosters are announced, the fun begins with predictions for the 2011 winner. Last years winner was of course ... Ivan Basso!

Post post update 05/05/11: 2011 Giro d'Italia Teams and Team Rosters