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May 18 post: As this year's Giro d'Italia continues to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Italy's unification, Castelfidardo has been honored with the Stage 12 start in addition to the stage 11 finish due in some part to the "Italian victory over the French army defending the Papal States, on September 18, 1860" which took place in Castelfidardo.

Stage 12 is the flattest stage of this year's Giro as we continue to head north along the Adriatic coast. The finish host, Ravenna, was last visited by the Giro d'Italia in 2005 when Alessandro Petacchi, riding for Fassa Bortolo, won a very close field sprint.

Now that Mark Cavendish has "opened his account" at this year's Giro with a win on Stage 10, there is no reason to expect he's not going to win this easier sprint before closing his account and heading home before the start of the mountain stages. The only obstacles for another Cavendish win are three 90 degree corners and numerous roundabouts in the final 3 km; however, the roads are nice and wide. — Steve