Milan, Oct 24 (AFP/APP): Former world champion Peter Sagan has confirmed he will compete for the first time in the Giro d’Italia as the route for next year’s race through Italy was unveiled in Milan on Thursday.
Slovak Sagan, 29, will also take part in the Tour de France, where he holds the record for clinching the green jersey for the points winner seven times. “I’m delighted to announce that on May 9th, I will be on the starting line in Budapest, ready to tackle this iconic Grand Tour for the first time,” said the former three-time world champion.
“Italy holds a special place in my heart. It is the country where I won my first World Championship in 2008 and where I spent the formative years of my professional career, riding for an Italian team. “In the last ten years I have had the opportunity and privilege to compete, many times, in some of the most prestigious races held in Italy, but I always felt that something was missing, the Giro d’Italia.”
Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz won this year’s race which got underway in Bologna and finished in Verona. The first three stages of next year’s Giro d’Italia will be raced in Hungary, the 14th time the race has started outside Italy.
The 2018 edition started in Jerusalem, the first time one of cycling’s three major races began outside of Europe. The three-week race will get underway on May 9 with a 9.5km individual time-trial on the streets of Budapest, and finishes on May 31 in Milan.
“With the first three stages held in Hungary, next year’s Giro d’Italia will also give me the chance to race so close to Slovakia and I’m sure the cheers of the Slovak crowds will be felt along the course,” added Sagan.
The second stage, which will suit the sprinters, also starts in Budapest before covering 193km to the northwestern city of Gyor. Stage three will start in the central city of Szekesfehervar and race over 197km to Nagykanizsa in southwestern Hungary.
The race arrives in Italy on May 12 for three stages in Sicily. This year’s race includes seven uphill finishes, including the initial time trial in Budapest. For the first time in the 103-year history of the race, a stage will be raced within a military base.
The Italian Air Force base at Rivolto, near Udine in north-eastern Italy, which is home of the ‘Frecce Tricolori’ (Tricolour Arrows) aerobatic display team, will host stage 15.