Giro d’Italia: Teams and sponsors (part 1)

The Giro d’Italia, the first of the year’s three Grand Tours, kicks off on Saturday with 198 riders representing the 18 WorldTour teams and four wild-card entries set to take to the start line.

Many fans will be familiar with the main riders in the peloton, but have you ever wondered who are the mysterious sponsors whose names are plastered all over every available square inch of the riders and their equipment? As the opening instalment of our race preview, here’s the first of a two-part overview of the 22 teams and their title sponsors, which reveals an eclectic mix of bike manufacturers, financial services providers, explosive manufacturers and even countries! Continue reading

Is the 2012 Vuelta a Espana route the hardest ever?

Many of the riders who rode the 2011 Vuelta a Espana said it was the hardest Grand Tour they had ever tackled. Our initial view of this year’s route, which was unveiled in Pamplona today, suggests that 2012 will be even tougher.

The highlights

The key features of the 2012 Vuelta route are:

  • This will be the 67th edition of the Vuelta.
  • Starts Saturday August 18th in Pamplona, ends Sunday September 9th in Madrid.
  • 21 stages covering 3,300km, with rest days after stages 9 & 16.
  • Ten uphill finishes, of which six are in the ‘alta montana’ high mountains (equivalent to ‘hors categorie’ at the Tour de France).
  • Two time trials: one team, one individual.

Continue reading