See Naples and race – Giro d’Italia returns to the city by the bay

The long list of Giro d’Italia stage winners in Naples tells its own story. On the streets of the city by the bay, speed has usually been king and taking a risk or two brings its own reward.

Mark Cavendish was the winner when the race last came here on the opening day in 2013, and the Manxman was preceded on the roll of honor by sprint grandees including Rik Van Steenbergen, Miguel Poblet and Mario Cipollini.

That familiar, sweeping finishing straight on Via Caracciolo returns on stage 8 after a nine-year hiatus, but this time out, the pure sprinters will not find a bounty in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Instead, the short, circuit-based stage around Italy’s most misunderstood city is open to a variety of interpretations, almost all of them intense.

The stage takes in an exacting 153km course through the Campi Flegrei, the ‘other’ volcanic area to the west of the city. The centerpiece of the short, intense stage is the 19km circuit over the Monte di Procida (2.1km at 6%), which is completed four times before the race follows a rippling return road to Naples and the usual finish on the waterfront.

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