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Stage 12 will follow this Cinque Terre road from the 2009 individual time-trial but in the opposite direction

May 16 update: Stage 12 is a medium mountain stage starting from Seravezza, a town in the Lucca Province, on the Tuscan Riviera. We'll then head north along the coast for 50 flat km until we hit the first of four categorized climbs (nothing greater than a cat 2) starting at La Spezia, Alessandro Petacchi's hometown. As mentioned in the Stage 9 preview, Lampre-ISD didn't select the veteran for their squad this year.

For the final 100 km of this stage we'll snake our way, up and down, through the demanding Cinque Terre and Genoa regions, the most beautiful parts of the Italian Riviera, before the flat finish in Sestri Levante (nice town photo). Stage 12 of the 2006 Giro d'Italia (report) followed a similar route to Sestri Levante but took a more direct route to the finish with less climbing.

The final of the four categorized climbs, the cat 4 Villa Tassani, crests just 11 km from the finish followed by a technical descent and the straight run into Sestri Levante. A break succeeded here in 2006 and it will most likely succeed this year.

There will be spectacular views of the Cinque Terre along the way as this stage will retrace part of the 2009 61 km individual time-trial course (photos), but in the opposite direction. — Steve