The full route of next year’s 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia has been launched this afternoon in Milan and will include three time trial stages – two of those figuring among seven summit finishes –and six days that will favour the sprinters.
Starting in Bologna on 11 May, the race will conclude in Verona on 2 June and along the way will commemorate a number of anniversaries through start or finish towns linked to famous people or historical events.
Those include the 100th anniversary of Fausto Coppi’s birth, the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo Da Vinci, the 75th anniversary of the World War II Battle of Monte Cassino, and a finish in L’Aquila 10 years on from the devastating earthquake that stuck central Italy’s Abruzzo region in April 2009.
Individual time trials in Bologna and Verona will bookend the 21-stage parcours, with the other day against the clock being Stage 9 from Riccione to San Marino – the visit to the world’s oldest republic being the only part of the route outside Italy this year.
The Cima Coppi – the highest point of each year’s race – be the Passo di Gavia at 2,618 metres above sea level, while the Mortirolo has been designated the Montagna Pantani for 2019; both are tackled on the same day in a stage that covers a whopping 226 kilometres.
With 3,518.5 kilometres to be covered and 46,500 meters of total elevation, organisers RCS Sport say it is one of the hardest courses the race has seen in recent years.
Standout stages in the final week or so include Stage 14, only 131 kilometres long but packing in five categorised climbs on the way to its finish at the ski resort of Courmayeur, followed by the longest stage of the race from Ivrea to Como, covering 237 metres, and with a finale that takes in some of the roads of Il Lombardia, including the climb to Madonna del Ghisallo.
The Gavia-Mortirolo one-two punch comes on a brutal Stage 16 which has no less than 5,700 metres of climbing and finishing at Ponte di Legno and could well be decisive for the overall.
The 20th and penultimate stage takes place in the Dolomites and will see the riders tackle climbs including the Manghen Pass, with a summit finish at Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena, ahead of the closing individual time trial in Verona – which hosted a similar final stage in 2010, when Ivan Basso won the maglia rosa for the second time.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.