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Verona last hosted a Giro d'Italia stage in 2010 (big photos), the final (TT) stage that wrapped up Ivan Basso's his second overall win in the Roman amphitheater.

May 6 update: The team time trial has been become a regular feature of the Giro d'Italia often as the first stage. This year Verona hosts the TTT on stage 4, the first stage back in Italy after the Denmark start. Verona has hosted the World Championship twice (1999 and 2004, both times won by Oscar Freire) and the Giro d’Italia 19 times, on six occasions for time trials and three times as a finishing stage. It was last visited in 2010 when Ivan Basso won his second overall title after the Verona stage 21 individual time trial which finished in the Roman amphitheater (photo above).

This year's team time trial features flat urban roads at the start and finish in downtown Verona while the central part has a few short technical uphill climbs and descents through vineyards.

The course starts with several bends before crossing the Adige river followed by 8 km of straight, fast roads with a bunch of roundabouts to make things interesting. After the rolling vineyard section in the northwest part of town, the course loops back into the city along wide and straight roads up to the finish on Piazza Bra. The 2010 Giro d'Italia also had a 32 km TTT on stage 4 after returning from the Netherlands. Liquigas won it while the last place team lost almost three minutes so this stage could break some GC dreams.

Judging by the opening individual time-trial, Garmin-Barracuda will be the team to beat. Orica-GreenEdge, Sky and BMC also have a good shot at winning this stage. It's hard to pass by Liquigas, whom often do well at Giro d'Italia TTTs, but I don't see them finishing higher than fourth this year. — Steve

Stage 4 TTT Start Order and Times (CET, subtract 6 hours for ET) — rcs