The 96th edition of the Corsa Rosa has been billed as a battle between Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky and the sky blue of Astana's Vincenzo Nibali.
Both main contenders have a healthy rivalry but they will not underestimate last year's surprise Canadian winner, Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp. Add to that mix Cadel Evans's last throw of the Grand Tour dice plus a healthy mix of home Italian talent and explosive Colombian climbers and all the ingredients are there for a fantastic few weeks of pedal-powered action.
With the addition of a whole Pro Continental Colombian team alongside the WorldTour peloton's swelling Colombian contingent, there's enough high quality South American goods on display to rival any after-party at Milan Fashion Week.
But while we have seven mountain top finishes – including a foray into France up the legendary Col du Galibier – there's also around 90 time trial kilometres, including a 17.4km time trial on the island of Ischia, a 55.5km ITT that has Wiggo's name all over it and an intriguing 19.4km uphill offering towards the end of the race that could prove decisive.
Still, with the penultimate stage featuring four killer climbs – including the unforgiving Passo Giau – then race organisers may see a repeat of last year's drama with the destiny of the pink jersey going right down to the wire.
Our blogger Blazin' Saddles takes a look at the main protagonists set to light up this year's Giro d'Italia...
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
Most likely to: Win both time trials while bigging up his Sky leadership credentials for the Tour de France before calling someone a c*** and throwing his bike off the Galibier when suffering an electronic gearing problem.
Least likely to: Let his Colombian sidekicks Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran off the leash in the high mountains, send Chris Froome a postcard, or demand that TV reporters call him 'Sir Bradley'.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
Most likely to: Descend very fast, tan even quicker, make some quip about being called 'The Shark' after a wet day, and ride to a first victory in his home Grand Tour.
Least likely to: Look good in baby blue – which is lucky, because he'll spend a lot of the time in pink. The Sicilian won't put in many explosive attacks – it's just not his scene – or drop Wiggins without there being an excuse from his British rival. Rather than pummel his rivals into submission, he'll merely grind down his opposition and show supreme staying power. He'll do so while smiling and looking increasingly like a character from an Asterix comic.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp)
Most likely to: Miss Joaquim Rodriguez very much – the Yang to his Yin. Without the attacking Spaniard to counteract his Canadian passivity, the relaxed defending champion may well doze off and find himself lurking outside the top five, lost amid a sea of attacking Colombians.
Least likely to: Win the race.
Cadel Evans (BMC)
Most likely to: Smile, grimace, wear the dimple with pride, miss Molly, put in a good shift but ultimately fail to repeat the glories of 2011.
Least likely to: Worry Tejay van Garderen too much about a return to form.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2R-La Mondiale)
Most likely to: Have a disagreement with in-form Colombian team-mate Carlos Betancur over team leadership – while playing the piano and studying for a PHD in technological meteorological economics.
Least likely to: Have a strong race – he's joined Ag2R-La Mondiale, after all, plus has had a shoddy season to date.
Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli)
Most likely to: Make more of an impression with his hair than on the bike.
Least likely to: Make Cannondale regret having shown him the door.
Paolo Tiralongo (Astana)
Most likely to: Work his socks off for Nibali while trying to sneak a win of his own.
Least likely to: Gift a stage win to a Spanish rider (unless he gets a grovelling call from Alberto Contador before).
Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole)
Most likely to: Do something that will force a commentator to make a quip about him being a pirate.
Least likely to: Help lead out team-mate Sacha Modolo in the sprints.
Robert Gesink (Blanco)
Most likely to: Crash in the first week and give team leadership over to Steven Kruijswijk before the race hits the big mountains.
Least likely to: Lose the 'eternal hope' moniker just yet. Or avoid getting sunstroke.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida)
Most likely to: Attack in the mountains, look very strong, but then show his age with a monumental bonk before taking consolation in an almighty bowl of pasta.
Least likely to: Avoid losing 10 minutes during one of the big stages, not to be seen again during the race except for the moment he wins a token stage towards the end.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)
Most likely to: Win a stage and give his Basque team's season a lifeline.
Least likely to: Get much sun on the back of his neck thanks to that mullet. (The same can be said about the entire Movistar squad – most notably Vladimir Karpets).
Benat Intxausti (Movistar)
Most likely to: Take over team leadership from Juan Jose Cobo during the second week after his fellow Spaniard hits one of his well-publicised troughs.
Least likely to: Have his name correctly pronounced by commentators.
Cayetano Sarmiento (Cannondale)
Most likely to: Rise to the occasion in what could be a Colombian bonanza in Italy.
Least likely to: Make the Cannondale fans lament Ivan Basso's bottie cyst.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
Most likely to: Win multiple stages while stressing how amazing it is to be part of such a special team, a team which makes him feel wanted and which brings out the best in him etc and so forth.
Least likely to: Be seen filling his shirt up with water bottles for his team-mates.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge)
Most likely to: Finish second four times before taking a win on the occasion Cavendish has crashed or been dropped by the leading pack.
Least likely to: Beat Cav in a head-to-head (or be forced into a petrol station toilet for a number two).
John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano)
Most likely to: Bellow 'Jaaaaaah!' when he wins a stage.
Least likely to: Have much of a sniff at yelling 'Jaaaaah!' while Cavendish is still in the race.
Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida)
Most likely to: Sprint very dangerously.
Least likely to: Be seen on a night out with Cavendish once the race finishes in Brescia.
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)
Most likely to: Force commentators to remind us of his previous incarnation as a boxer.
Least likely to: Knockout the likes of Cav, Goss and Degenkolb in the bunch sprints.
Most likely to: Miss Denis Menchov's presence – and that says a lot about their prospects.
Least likely to: Leave their mark on the race in the absence of Rodriguez and Daniel Moreno, forcing Michele Acquarone to rue their 11th-hour inclusion.
Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Leopard)
Most likely to: Ride to a solid top 10.
Least likely to: Do much more than ride to a solid top 10.
Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)
Most likely to: Try to relive the glory days with some searing attacks while dividing opinion.
Least likely to: Make more of an impression than team-mates Mauro Santambrogio and Matteo Rabottini.
Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM)
Most likely to: Be part of most breakaways.
Least likely to: Win a stage.
Fabio Duarte (Colombia-Coldeportes)
Most likely to: Win a mountain stage after a two-way sprint, forcing headline writers to come up with something rubbish like 'Fabio darts to victory in stage 16'.
Least likely to: Get in the way of compatriots Henao and Uran – after all, this race could well prove to be a three-week job interview with Sky.
Send in your suggestions below for the riders you think we should watch out for over the next three weeks...