Giro d'Italia
Google Doodle marks the 100th anniversary of the Giro d'Italia which kicks off on 5 May 2017 Google doodle

Google Doodle has marked the 100th anniversary of the Giro d'Italia, or Tour of Italy, with a tribute to its mountainous route.

Featuring cyclists labouring up the gruelling mountainous climb, it also has a few whizzing past on some less taxing hills, with a bright yellow sun in the background.

And one cannot have the Giro d'Italia without a picture of a cyclist in the coveted and maglia rosa, or pink jersey, which is bestowed on the rider with the best combined time across all the preceding stages.

The 2017 Tour of Italy will see a total of 22 international teams compete for three weeks. The scenic route that takes cyclists in their gruelling journey will pass through small towns and cover a total of 3,615km over 22 stages.

The race offers six stages for sprinters, eight medium-mountain stages and five high-mountain stages. And it offers three rest days to facilitate the additional travel time needed. It also has two individual time trials. This effectively means cyclists will be covering an average of 171.7km a day.

The race will kick off with an opening stage through Sardinia on 5 May and end on 28 May.

"The Giro is especially well known for its mountain stages, where riders labour up long, gruelling climbs, then zoom down the other side (at up to 110km/h) on twisting alpine roads," Google says.

Leaders in the four categories of the race will be awarded specially-coloured jerseys but the most coveted remains the maglia rosa.

Google wishes Andiamo! and Forza! to all the racers and the spectators at the 100th Giro d'Italia.

The first ever race took place on 13th May 1909 when 127 cyclists took part in the race. And the 100th race in 2017 will finish in Milan which also hosted the Grande Partenza and the conclusion of the first ever race in 1909.


Michele Scarponi
Michele Scarponi has died after being run over by a truck while training in Italy Reuters

The 100th race has not been without controversy. The organiser, RCS Sport withdrew its short-lived classification of measuring cyclists on certain descents through the race, with a €5,000 prize offer for the person with the fastest overall time on the downhills.

The new classification did not go down well, and the organiser subsequently decided to cancel the classification, saying: "The spirit of the initiative was to highlight an important skill which is an integral part of a cycle race without putting the riders' safety in jeopardy. Rider safety is, and remains, the priority of the Giro and race organisers."

Although there will not be a cash award, the times for the fastest descent will still be kept, "for the fans," the organisers said.

And on 22 April, professional cyclist and one-time Giro d'Italia winner Michele Scarponi was killed by a truck at a crossroads in Filottrano, in the central Le March region. The 37-year-old cyclist was training and was on his way home when he was hit.

Scarponi, a member of the Astana race team since 2014, finished the Tour of the Alps in Trento just the day before on 21 April. He won the Giro d'Italia in 2011.