Countdown to the Giro d'Italia 2011 - 4th stage ends in Livorno

[img_assist|nid=6717|title=Flag-decked Montenero awaits the Giro d'Italia,|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=200]Giro d'Italia comes to Livorno on 10th May 2011

On the occasion of Livorno's role as finishing line on the 4th Tappa of this year's international cycling race, the Giro d'Italia, a variety of events have been organised for the days leading up to the event and, of course, for the day itself.

The course will finish at the Terrazza Mascagni, on Livorno's seafront. Although the cyclists will be approaching Livorno from the north (they start the day in Quarto dei Mille, nr Genoa), they will arrive at the Terrazza from the south after a detour around Montenero. This 4th stage in the race, which starts on May 7th, is described as a "flat stage", which may be true for about 207 of the 208km. However, the interesting loop around Montenero at the end of the course is far from flat: cyclists will have to ride up the steep steep Salita di Montenero, which runs roughly parallel to the Funicular railway track, all the way up to the Piazza di Montenero (del Santuario), along Via Byron and further up to Castellaccio, before making the long descent down to the coast road and back into town along Viale Italia. The estimated time of arrival at the finishing line is 4.30pm.

Events running up to the Giro d'Italia in Livorno

For a start, the whole of Viale Italia is currently being re-surfaced, and that is a huge event in itself! I've noticed there are still a few tricky manhole covers though, so participants watch out!

Here's a selection of other Giro-related events happening over the next few days:
Thursday 5th May: Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo (Via Roma), inauguration of an exhibition about "old games and bicycles" - Giochi del Passato e Biciclette - 10am.
Saturday 7th May: 10am BICICLETTANDO - a collective, non-competitive bike ride from Terrazza Mascagni along the coastal cycle path, and into Livorno's Accademia Navale
10pm The Devil's Brigade live at The Cage Theatre, Via del Vecchio Lazzaretto, Livorno
Sunday 8th May: 9.30am Bici in Città a bike ride from the Rotonda di Ardenza (14km)
Monday 9th May: Il Rosa che vince - prize for the best Rosé wine produced in the province of Livorno. Winetasting at Livorno's Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) at 12pm. Free entrance
TUESDAY 10TH MAY: THE BIG DAY!! - Cyclists' village on Terrazza Mascagni, Torta di Ceci for all. Arrival of Cyclists at 4.30pm.
The race will be shown on a big screen in Piazza di Montenero and the Funicular railway will be running free of charge. There will also be various shuttle buses running in town.

For further details (in Italian only) - including special car parking arrangements and a route map see this link