MILAN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Giro d'Italia will start in Hungary for the first time next year and finish in Milan's main square after a punishing final week of mountain stages, according to the route unveiled by race organisers on Thursday.
The 103rd edition of the Giro will begin with a short time trial in Budapest and two further stages in Hungary, both suitable for sprinters, before moving to Sicily for another three stages which will include a climb up Mount Etna.
It will then move up through Italy before a series of mountain stages. The 17th stage, to be held on May 27 and finishing at Madonna di Campiglio, appears to be the most demanding with over 5,000 metres of climbing over the course of its 202 kilometres.
The next stage will tackle the legendary Passo dello Stelvio, via the twisting hairpins from the east while the 19th stage, from Morbegno to Asti, will be the longest of the Giro at 251 kilometres. The race will finish in Milan on May 31.
It will be the 14th time the race has started outside Italy and the first in Eastern Europe.
The 21 stages include three time trials, six suitable for sprinters, seven of medium difficulty and five considered high difficulty. There will be seven uphill finishes.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)