Velkommen til turen i Italien.
Yes we are at the Giro d'Italia but we are in Denmark for today's opening 8.7km individual time trial around the town of Herning. Herning lies on the mainland of Denmark due west of Aarhus and due east of Edinburgh.
The rainbow jersey wearing Mark Cavendish is returning to Denmark where he won that jersey last year. This stage is longer than the 3km prologue of the Tour de Romandie 2 weeks ago in which Cav ended up in third place behind his team mate Geraint Thomas. Although Cav has worn the pink leaders jersey in both the 2009 and 2011 Giro this was as a result of a team time trial in the first stage and being team leader in 2009 and taking stage 2 in 2011. However, he is aiming to win the points classification here as a build up defending his Tour de France green jersey before going for Olympic gold.
But with Sky on a high after helping Bradley Wiggins take the Tour de Romandie they will be focusing on Cav in this grand tour. He is joined by Thomas, his lead out man Bernie Eisel,and fellow super domistique Juan Antonio Flecha, mountain men Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Henao plus fellow Brits Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift.
Along with Sky other teams taking part include Radio Shack-Nissan lead by Frank Schleck, BMC Racing with Thor Hushovd trying to spoil things for Cav, Astana with Roman Kreuziger who was 6th last year in the Giro as the best young rider. Liquigas-Cannondale bring Ivan Basso to the Giro looking for a third win and last year's winner, following the ban of Alberto Cantador, Michele Scarponi returns with Lampre-ISD maybe hoping to actually wear the Pink Jersey at the end of the race this year.
The Giro will spend the first three days this year in Denmark before returning to Italy for the team time trial on Wednesday and the first medium mountain stage on Friday. The race will finish with an individual time trial in Milan on 27th May.