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In this July 21, 2012 file photo, Bradley Wiggins of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates as he crosses the finish line of the 19th stage of the the Tour de France cycling race in Chartres, France.

Laurent Rebours/The Associated Press

Length: 3,400 kilometres

Number of stages: 21

Average stage distance: 162.2 kms

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Number of mountain finishes: seven

Start stage: Naples, May 4 (first start there since 1996)

End stage: Brescia, May 26

Prize money: €1.38-million ($1.82-million)

Expected number of riders: 207

Oldest rider: Stefano Garzelli, 39 (Italy)

Why the pink theme: It's the colour of La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian sports newspaper that sponsors the race

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French connection: The Giro dips across the French border on May 19, entering Tour de France territory, where riders climb the 18-km Col du Galibier

Chinese connection: Ji Cheng is China's first Giro competitor

Steepest average grade: 12.2 per cent, stage 12, Longarone-Treviso

Favourites: Bradley Wiggins (Britain), Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Ryder Hesjedal (Canada)

Others to watch: Cadel Evans (Australia), Mark Cavendish (Britain); Michele Scarponi (Italy), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Samuel Sanchez (Spain)

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