What better way to start a new thread than with a Giro preview! You can't top the Tour de France for big time excitement, but the Giro claims to be the most beautiful race, and it's hard to argue that title (even though Bennati isn't riding). Plus this is the Centennial version and comes with that much extra pageantry and fun.
To start, here are some key stages identified:
St 1 - Sat May 9 - team time trial in Venice. I love a team time trial and this one is set in Venice so it's hard to beat the scenery.
St 5 - Wed May 13 - the Giro kicks off the start of its mountain stages in the first week just to give the sprinters some fun before they quit the race
St 10 - Tues May 19 - this stage was supposed to go into France but was shortened to exclude the French alpine passes which are still likely to be covered with snow at this stage, but it's still an impressive 250 KM of climbing.
St 12 - Thurs May 21 - a very long (61.5 KM) individual time trial which is likely Ivan Basso's biggest obstacle to getting his second win. This stage could be key in determining the leaders.
St 16 - Mon May 25 - 237 KM of mountains
St 17 - Wed May 27 - They cut the last 4 KM of the mountain finish off because of problems with roads and snow, but this is still a steep mountain stage, although significantly shorter than some other mountain stages (79KM)
St 19 Fri May 29 - The last mountain stage runs 164 KM and is the last chance for someone to make a big difference in the standings
St 21 Sun May 31 - The race ends with a short 15.3 KM individual time trial. It's much shorter than the other ITT so less likely to have a big impact, but if the top riders are close, the ITT could impact the standings more than the typical race ending ceremonial stage.
There is currently no planned tv coverage in the US, but Cyclingfans will have all the links where it can be viewed online (ETA: see update below regarding Universal Sports online and cable broadcasts)
Gazzetta Giro Home Page - for those who can read Italian or want to look at their photos
Cyclingnews - for results, photos and a live ticker
Velonews - for another live ticker and news
Pez Cycling - for a slightly offbeat look at the race
Steephill Dashboard - kind of a messy site, but full of useful links, stage profiles, articles, photos and pretty much anything you could want related to the Giro
Startlists on Cyclingfever
Twitter Links: lots of riders on twitter including race favorites Ivan Basso and Levi Leipheimer, as well as Lance, and assorted teams, announcers, DS's and news sites. This list includes links to cycling related teams and people on twitter.
And you can always count on the Giro for emotional outbursts. The race hasn't even started yet, and already Italian National Champion (and Armstrong nemesis) Filippo Simeoni stormed into the Italian Federation office to return his National Champion jersey in an outrage because his team wasn't invited to the race. Race organizers snarked that if he rode for a better team, or if he had more impressive results this year, the team might have been invited. But then they also mentioned that Simeoni also passed up a chance to make nice with Armstrong during a race this season, which further outraged Simeoni. And this year there is the added fun of seeing whether Astana will have enough money to finish the race.
Armstrong, Basso, DiLuca and Simoni head to the press conference Venetian style
Edited to Add: Universal Sports just announced that they're planning to cover the Giro with online live coverage and slightly delayed tv coverage.
Unviersal Sports Cycling Page
Universal Sports home page
Livestrong Giro page - Lance is supposed to post videos each day
Team Saxo Bank Home Page - they usually have good reports and photos in their gallery
Team Columbia- High Road