Giro d'Italia 2022 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-stage Analysis

When the Grande Partenza from Budapest was unveiled, back in 2019, the world was a very different place. Even the Grande Partenza itself was different, as it was planned to start with an ITT in Budapest, which has now been moved to stage 2. Regardless, after two years it seems we will finally manage to go to Hungary, and then have a rest day to get to Sicily. From there, I can only describe the overall route as very disappointing. There are some good stages here and there of course, as I believe it is statistically impossible to design 21 consecutive bad Giro stages, but this is definitely the wrong direction, especially after an already mediocre route in 2021, coming from two pretty good ones. A shame. It seems more and more that what really governs the Giro are the whims of whichever politician/local administrator is willing to pay for a stage, and the organizers are there only to connect point A with point B on the map. Sometimes they mess up even that, as two stages have been entirely redesigned after the presentation to an extent that makes you doubt if the originally presented version was ever really considered feasible at all, or if it was just a placeholder. Moreover, the climbs categorization has by now reached a level of nonsense that shouldn’t even be possible. In any case, the biggest problem of this route is obviously the lack of time trialling, with the lowest amount of TTing km in recent times, as well as the insufficient length of most stages, and their overall quality as well, even if as I said there are a few really good ones. Whatever. Luckily (or, well, sadly) this is absolutely not the worst GT route of this year :D so let’s hope we are going to get a good spectacle. The field seems to be pretty good and there is more than enough terrain to put on a show. Hopefully the riders want to race this year and we actually see the Fedaia…

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5

Stage 6
Stage 7
Stage 8
Stage 9
Stage 10
Stage 11
Stage 12
Stage 13
Stage 14
Stage 15
Stage 16
Stage 17
Stage 18
Stage 19
Stage 20
Stage 21

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Stage 1: Budapest – Visegrád 195 km
Friday, May 6th, 12:20 CET

Technical Overview:
The Grande Partenza of 2022 starts with an unusual road stage. From Budapest, the peloton will go through a wide clockwise loop on mostly flat terrain, with the two intermediate sprints as the only focal points. Upon reaching the Danube, the riders will follow it until the town of Visegrád, where the final stretch of road begins. The finishing line is located all the way up, at the Royal Palace. The road to get there is the first categorized climb of this Giro, Visegrád (GPM4, 5.6km at 4.2%), a steady climb that should not produce gaps among the favourites, but will definitely favour the puncheurs and provide a worthy first Maglia Rosa.

Final Kms:

The Climbs:

: GPM4, 5.6km at 4.2%
A very simple uphill finish that should be just enough to make things interesting for the first Maglia Rosa battle. The profile is in the Final km section.

What to expect:
A puncheur to win, maybe even with a couple seconds gap. No GC relevant gaps, excluding possible crashes, of course.

Visegrád Castle
Stage 2: Budapest – Budapest 9.2 km ITT
Saturday, May 7th, 14:00 CET

Technical Overview:
So, the “prologue” is now stage 2 instead. It is a short and technical time trial that accounts for 35% of the total ITT kms of this race, so the specialists really need to make it count… The riders will start from Heroes’ Square and make a nice tour of the city, eventually reaching and crossing the Danube, after which they will face a short climb that will bring them to the finishing line in front of Matthias Church. This climb, (GPM4, 1.3 km at 4.9%) starts with a very decent 300m at over 9%, before easing off in the final km.

Final km:

The Climbs:

: GPM4, 1.3 km at 4.9%
Very steep at the beginning, just a false flat in the end. The sudden change of gradient might make things interesting in an ITT.

What to expect:
As in all short time trials, a specialist to win and some gaps between the GC men, but nothing too important.

Stage 3: Kaposvár – Balatonfüred 201 km
Sunday, May 8th, 12:25 CET

Technical Overview:
The last Hungarian stage is the first chance for the pure sprinters, with a long but pretty simple route along Lake Balaton. The are some minor undulations and one categorized climb, Tihany (GPM4, 2.7 km at 2.5%). It tops at 12.6 km to go, but should just barely be noticed by the peloton.

Final km:

The Climbs:

: GPM4, 2.7 km at 2.5%
They really wanted to have a GPM and this was their best option I guess. No profile available.

What to expect:
The first bunch sprint.

Tihany, Lake Balaton
Stage 4: Avola – Etna 170 km
Tuesday, May 10th, 12:25 CET

Technical Overview:
The race enters Italy through Sicily, which means it is time for the mandatory Etna stage. We start from Avola this time, on the east coast, and proceed to work our way inland on a rolling terrain, slowly ascending for the first 53 km and then descending for 30 km. This is followed by another 50 km of mostly flat roads to approach the volcano, after which the riders will start climbing. The first 12 km of ascent are little more than a false flat and feature the two intermediate sprints of Paternò and Biancavilla, where the final climb officially starts. Etna (GPM1, 22.8 km at 5.9%) is to be climbed from yet another road, which has pretty much the same numbers as all the others: it is a long and consistent climb, without steep ramps.

Final km:

The Climbs:

: GPM1, 22.8 km at 5.9%
For what feels like the 100th time, Etna again, and from a new road, again. Well, not entirely new. Part of this road is the same as 2018. There is an 8.7% section, ending at around 6 km to go, that would be the best place for an attack, but it depends on how windy it is.

What to expect:
The GC riders to get to the front and look menacingly at each other, like it happens often here.

Mount Etna
Stage 5: Catania – Messina 174 km
Wednesday, May 11th, 11:30 CET

Technical Overview:
If this stage gives you a huge sense of deja-vu, it is because it takes exactly the same route of the Giro 2020 stage 4. So let me quote myself from my analysis of that stage:
The last stage in Sicily is NOT the shortest of the whole race, and quite a weird one. Starting in Catania, the riders will go through rolling terrain for the first 50 km, mostly following the coastline. Just before the town of Taormina they will turn inland and cross the hills to reach the other side of the island. The climb they will face looks great on the official profile, but the scale is very inflated. Portella Mandrazzi (GPM3, 19.6 km at 4%) is just a Montevergine kind of climb: steady and very easy overall, but fairly long. It should be more than enough to drop the heavier guys if the peloton wants. The top however is at 99 km to go, with a long descent to come and an even longer flat stretch. The descent is 25 km long, very fast with wide roads. After that, the final 75 km are all flat, with the last 55 directly along the coast.
The only difference between this stage and that one is the last 37 km, from the original finish of Villafranca Tirrena to the new finish of Messina. This added stretch is mostly flat and all along the coast, so wind might be a factor.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Portella Mandrazzi
: GPM3, 19.6 km at 4%
Long and steady. The very definition of a tempo climb.

What to expect:
Breakaway, mass sprint or perhaps even echelons. Depends on the weather and on the aggressiveness of the riders.

The Strait of Messina
Stage 6: Palmi – Scalea 192 km
Thursday, May 12th, 12:35 CET

Technical Overview:
The race reaches the mainland with a stage running almost entirely along the coast. After starting in Palmi, the riders will head north throughout the day, with just a short detour inland to the only categorized climb of the day, Aereoporto L. Razza (GPM4, 3.8 km at 4.2%), mostly a false flat. After an equally easy descent the peloton will hit the coast and never leave it again. The coast itself is not entirely flat, but there are no serious climbs in sight, the only bump being the small climb after Cetraro Marina, roughly 2.5 km at 4.5% at 35 km to go.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Aereoporto L. Razza
: GPM4, 3.8 km at 4.2%
No profile for this one.

What to expect:
Bunch sprint, unless the wind saves us.

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Stage 7: Diamante – Potenza 196 km
Friday, May 13th, 11:40 CET

Technical Overview:
The Giro keeps heading north with a massive medium mountain stage that might do damage even to GC favourites. Starting from the town of Diamante, on the west coast, the riders will ride with the sea at their left for 35 km of rolling terrain, before turning inland and spending the rest of the stage in the hills. The first categorized climb begins immediately, and it is the very gentle Passo Colla (GPM3, 9.3 km at 4.5%). A very fast descent will immediately lead to the next climb, a classic one that has not been raced in a long time: Monte Sirino (GPM1, 24.4 km at 3.8%), a very long climb that officially starts in Lauria but de facto starts 8 km earlier. It is extremely irregular, with many big ramps followed by long false flat sections. The top is at 106 km to go, and its descent is only 10 km long, with a much more regular gradient. What follows is a 21 km long false flat section, both descending and ascending, and then the road will rise again towards the intermediate sprint of Viggiano (4.3 km at 6.8%). This could have been its own GPM, or perhaps it could have been part of the next one, since after a 2 km descent the peloton will hit the hardest climb of the day. Montagna Grande di Viggiano (GPM2, 6.6 km at 9.1%) is a very tough climb, always very steep and with many two-digits ramps. It tops at 60 km to go, and its descent is longer but quite a lot simpler. At 44 km to go there will be a 12 km rolling section, and after that the riders will find the last categorized climb of the day, La Sellata (GPM3, 7.8 km at 5.9%). It is a lot easier than the climb that preceded it, but it is still quite challenging, as its average gradient is lowered by a tiny descent near the top. It ends at 24 km to go, 15 of which are descending, all on wide roads but with some tricky sections. The descent leads directly to the finishing town of Potenza, but the fun is not over yet: there is still the intermediate sprint of Potenza Centro, around 1.5 km at 6% topping at 7 km to go, then a quick descent and the final stretch on an ascending false flat that becomes a very steep ramp in the last 300m. A very weird sprint to cap off a magnificent stage.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Passo Colla
: GPM3, 9.3 km at 4.5%
Basically a long false flat with a single steep ramp thrown in there. Weirdly, we have an official profile.

Monte Sirino: GPM1, 24.4 km at 3.8%
Missing in the Giro since 1999, from this side is long and very irregular. It has a couple of seriously steep sections, but nothing crazy. GPM1 is a stretch.

Montagna Grande di Viggiano: GPM2, 6.6 km at 9.1%
This one is a GPM2 while Sirino is GPM1. Sometimes I do wonder which sort of drinks they serve at RCS headquarters when they come up with GPMs…

La Sellata: GPM3, 7.8 km at 5.9%
Just a very regular climb, as you can see. Always at 6% besides the last km.

What to expect:
Tough to call. Everything here is possible, massive breakaway, no contest, GC battle… from Viggiano every spot is a good spot to attack. It all comes down to who is willing to do so.

Stage 8: Napoli – Napoli 153 km
Saturday, May 14th, 13:35 CET

Technical Overview:
In a Giro that desperately lacks time trials, we have a stage that goes from Napoli to Napoli… and it is a road stage. And a very weird one at that. The riders will start in the city, then head west along a wide counterclockwise loop that will bring them to a circuit in Monte di Procida, to be repeated 4 times. The circuit is 19 km long and features a categorized climb, Monte di Procida (GPM4, 2.1 km at 6%) that would be pretty interesting if it wasn’t so far from the finish (the last passage is at 39 km to go). The rest of the stage just gets back to Napoli using the most of the same roads as before, consisting of some rough terrain and a small climb topping at 8 km to go, this one being much better suited for a finisseur attack.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Monte di Procida
: GPM4, 2.1 km at 6%
A pretty good climb for a hilly circuit. And the view should be great.

What to expect:
Probably a big breakaway with all stage hunters in it. Their battle for the win will be fun but I doubt this stage will have any GC implications, considering what is in store for tomorrow.

Stage 9: Isernia – Blockhaus 189 km
Sunday, May 15th, 11:35 CET

Technical Overview:
The second weekend ends with a very serious mountain stage in the Appennines, with the hardest MTF of the race. The stage is a bit different than originally presented, and in this case the changes have been for the better, as the first half of this stage is a lot more interesting. The fun begins right at the starting town of Isernia, where the riders will immediately climb the first climb of the day, the Valico del Macerone (GPM3, 3.5 km at 5.4%), a very short and easy climb with a long history in the Giro, before facing its quick descent. At the bottom, the road will rise again, a lot steeper this time: Rionero Sannitico (GPM2, 10.1 km at 6%) is a proper climb, with steep sustained sections and only a couple of easy kms in the middle. What follows is a descending false flat rather than a descent, and after around 10 km the peloton will hit another climb, Roccaraso (GPM2, 7.7 km at 6%), that brings to another highland without a proper descent. After this blistering start, the riders will get some breath along the rolling terrain that follows, which mostly comprises descending false flats and gentle slopes. The road will keep undulating until the town of Pretoro, at 54 km to go. Here, the riders will head south towards the Majella massif, where they will be staying for the rest of the stage. The ascent to Passo Lanciano (GPM1, 10.3 km at 7.6%) is not particularly hard from this side, but will wear legs nicely and probably favour some action by stage hunters or GC lieutenants. The descent is along a much steeper road, but it is not very technical, although it does get a bit tricky at the bottom. Here, at 27 km to go, the road will rise yet again gently (around 4-5%) up until Roccamorice, where the final intermediate sprint is located and the final climb starts. The mighty Blockhaus (GPM1, 13.6 km at 8.4%) is, as I said, the hardest MTF of this race. Its final 10 kms at 9.4% will do a lot of damage and probably revolutionize the general classification.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Valico del Macerone
: GPM3, 3.5 km at 5.4%
A classic climb, used in the Giro many times. This is the easier side. Short and easy.

Rionero Sannitico: GPM2, 10.1 km at 6%
A good climb split in two by a short flat section that lowers the average gradient.

Roccaraso: GPM2, 7.7 km at 6%
A decent climb with a few good ramps. Here is the profile (up to km 10)

Passo Lanciano: GPM1, 10.3 km at 7.6%
This side of the Passo Lanciano is partly the same used in 2009 to reach the Blockhaus. The bottom half is new though, and it features a small descent and a steep ramp to make up for it.

Blockhaus: GPM1, 13.6 km at 8.4%
Same side used in 2017. It is a great climb that will cause a lot of damage to everyone. It is definitely the hardest MTF of the race, and has a strong case for being the hardest climb of this edition.

What to expect:
The first real all-out battle for the GC. I doubt any meaningful action can happen on Passo Lanciano, barring very ambitious team moves. The frantic start might help to spice things up.

Majella National Park
Stage 10: Pescara – Jesi 196 km
Tuesday, May 17th, 12:20 CET

Technical Overview:
After the rest day the race resumes with an odd stage in the Marche region, famous for its terribly steep ramps that we will mostly avoid today. The first 100 kms of this stage are flat along the coast, ending with the first intermediate sprint in Civitanova Marche, where the first climb of the day starts. Crosette di Montecosaro (GPM4, 8.2 km at 2.7%) is mostly a false flat, but it does start with a serious ramp to get to Civitanova Alta before easing off. A very short descent will then bring the riders to the next climb, the one steep ramp that we are not going to avoid: Recanati (GPM4, 3.4 km at 6.9%), a climb that features 500m at 13.8% in the middle. Unfortunately, it tops at 70 km to go. What follows is a long section of rolling terrain, not ideal for chasing but not particularly hard either. Here and there there are a few short ramps, but the most notable thing here is just the second intermediate sprint in Filottrano, hometown of Michele Scarponi. The last categorized climb comes right at the end, Monsano (GPM4, 4.2 km at 4.2%), which features 1 km at 7% that should be a good springboard for a late attack. The top is at 8.5 km to go, most of which are lightly descending.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Crosette di Montecosaro
: GPM4, 8.2 km at 2.7%
No profile. The first ramp to Civitanova Alta is not bad, but then it becomes very easy.

Recanati: GPM4, 3.4 km at 6.9%
With a max gradient of 18%, this would create havoc if it was closer to the finish… Here it is hard to see anyone making a move.

Monsano: GPM4, 4.2 km at 4.2%
An overall easy climb with 1 km at 7% hidden inside.

What to expect:
A finisseur should take this one, perhaps from the breakaway, with the peloton cruising behind.

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Stage 11: Santarcangelo di Romagna – Reggio Emilia 203 km
Wednesday, May 18th, 12:20 CET

Technical Overview:
The typical stage going along the Via Emilia. Flat and straight. The only twist this year is the fact that it is a long stage (for this Giro standards…), probably due to the detour that the peloton will take just after Bologna, that will prevent this stage from having literally zero turns.

Final km:

What to expect:
Bunch sprint

Reggio Emilia
Stage 12: Parma – Genova 202 km
Thursday, May 19th, 11:50 CET

Technical Overview:
Usually I try to hype up any stage I can, but not this one. This one is the biggest disgrace I have ever had the misfortune to write a preview for. This stage is the very definition of what is wrong with RCS and its management. For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, below you can see the stage that was presented six months ago.
It was a pretty good stage: the route was supposed to cross the Appennines and then do the final part of the stage all along the coast, climbing Madonna delle Grazie, La Ruta and especially Monte Becco, better known as Monte Fasce, a climb of roughly 10 km at 7% that would have provided some interesting racing and stunning views. Instead, RCS pulled the most classic bait & switch and we got this thing. They do it sometimes, but rarely have they fundamentally changed the nature of a stage this much. And why, you ask? Well I don’t know. Apparently the descent of Monte Fasce was suddenly found to be too dangerous, so they had to change the whole thing. Politics most likely. It’s not like they need to provide an official reason anyway. Just present the stage and then quietly change the route after a few months, no problem.
So, the actual stage will cross the mountains via Passo Del Bocco (GPM3, 6 km at 4%) as planned, 11 years after the last time, on May 9th 2011, when the tragedy of Wouter Weylandt (RIP) occurred. The descent is the very same, still very fast and twisty. It is however a lot farther from the finish than it was that day, so I doubt anyone would push here. At the bottom the peloton will just stay in an inland valley instead of reaching the coast, and after 30 km they will tackle La Colletta (GPM3, 9.3 km at 4.2%) a very gentle climb that will bring them in the suburbs of Genova, following the Bisagno Valley. After a few kilometers the riders will cross the hills again for the last difficulty of the day, Valico di Trensasco (GPM3, 4.3 km at 8%) a short and rather steep climb that would be interesting if it was not followed by 25 kms of nothing. A short descent will bring everyone back into the city, this time in the Polcevera Valley, where the local organizers had the brilliant idea to make them take the motorway and traverse the new bridge that has been built to replace the one that collapsed in 2018, in order to remind to the world that we cannot be bothered to maintain our roads, but at least we can rebuild them. This will surely boost tourism. After the bridge the riders will enter the port, where the helicopter will get multiple shots of my avatar in a cheap attempt to win me over, and then they will get to the final straight, the same as 2015, on an ascending false flat.

Final km:

Original Stage:

The Climbs:

Passo Del Bocco
: GPM3, 6 km at 4%
Just a false flat, like most passes that enter Liguria (e.g. the Turchino).

La Colletta: GPM3, 9.3 km at 4.2%
Just a false flat this one too, just longer. The climbs ends in Sottocolle, at km 2 of the profile.

Valico di Trensasco: GPM3, 4.3 km at 8%
Short but quite steep. It does not have any crazy ramps though.

What to expect:
Can’t see anything other than a massive breakaway.

Genova seen from Monte Fasce
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Stage 13: Sanremo – Cuneo 150 km
Friday, May 20th, 13:20 CET

Technical Overview:
From the famous town of Sanremo, the riders will head north for another transitional stage. The only real difficulty of the stage comes just after the first intermediate sprint of Pieve di Teco, which comes already after some decent ramps at 5-6% and a very short descent. There the peloton will start the only categorized climb of the day Colle di Nava (GPM3, 10.4 km at 6.6%), a pretty tough ascent with steady gradients all along. It is technically the first Alpine pass of this edition, and should have been more than a GPM3. The top is at 96 km to go, and there is no descent: the route will just slowly go down a valley and the riders will find themselves on mostly flatlands. The one remaining bump on the road comes at the second intermediate stage in S.Michele di Mondovì, but it is just an uncategorized ramp with just 5% average for a couple of kms. The finishing stretch will also be slightly ascending.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Colle di Nava
: GPM3, 10.4 km at 6.6%
A pretty good climb that would easily be GPM2, but RCS have consulted their magic 8 ball and they got GPM3. Other climbs had worse luck… you’ll see.

What to expect:
The outcome here is pretty open. The breakaway can make it, thanks to the Colle di Nava, but there is definitely enough room for the peloton to reel them back. Some teams could also decide to push on the climb and drop the heaviest sprinters.

Stage 14: Santena – Torino 147 km
Saturday, May 21st, 13:00 CET

Technical Overview:
Yet another modified stage. This one was also wildly different at the presentation (see below), but here I am not as mad because the resulting stage is still of the same kind and just as good, easily one of the best stages of this year. This is also another missed opportunity for an ITT, since Santena is only 20 km from Torino, but as I said, at least here the stage is really good. After 37 km of rolling terrain, performing a wide arc around the hills, the peloton will hit the first climb of the day, Il Pilonetto (GPM3, 6.4km at 5.4%), which will be a good warm up for the peloton and a chance to form a strong breakaway. A very quick descent will lead to 10 km of flattish terrain, before the riders will have to climb again to the uncategorized climb of Parco della Rimembranza (2.6 km at 7.7%). At the top of this, the riders will already enter the final circuit, hitting a wide descent with a few tricky turns and then the small ramp of Parco del Nobile (1.6km at 7.5%), that will be an intermediate sprint on the last lap. Its short and twisty descent leads directly to the finishing line. The peloton will still have to ride two laps of this 36.4 km long circuit. On the first, they will immediately find the first intermediate sprint at the Monument to Fausto Coppi, before heading towards the first climb of the circuit, the famous Superga (GPM2, 5 km at 8.6%). It is the same road normally used in the Milano-Torino, but not all the way to the top, as they will avoid the ramps at the top to enter a short descent and then a false flat section. The top of Superga is at 27 km to the finishing line (64 km to go on the first passage), so definitely in range for real attacks. The false flat section is around 10 kms long, and then the circuit will offer its second climb, Colle della Maddalena (GPM2, 3.5 km at 8.1%). It is a very tough climb, featuring a full km at an average of 15.7% before easier gradients and even a short descent. The top is at 12 km to go (49 km on the first passage), and from here on the roads are the same I already talked about: descent, Parco del Nobile (the last intermediate sprint at only 4.5km to go), descent, finishing line.

Final km:

Original Stage:

The Climbs:

Il Pilonetto
: GPM3, 6.4km at 5.4%
Not much to say about this one. A good warmup. No profile sadly.

Superga: GPM2, 5 km at 8.6%
The peloton should know this climb well, as it featured in all recent Milano-Torino (excluding this year’s…). A consistently steep climb and a very famous place in general, both for cycling and (sadly) also for other sports.

Colle della Maddalena: GPM2, 3.5 km at 8.1%
The steepest wall of this edition, on a great spot for GC attacks. The easier ramps at the top will be good to increase the gaps, as people will not have room to breathe.

What to expect:
Everything less than carnage, at least on the last lap, would be disappointing. Yes, tomorrow is a mountain stage but this one is much better suited for attacks of any magnitude and range. In theory, this stage should produce the biggest gaps amongst the favourites of the whole second week.

Stage 15: Rivarolo Canavese – Cogne 177 km
Sunday, May 22nd, 12:15 CET

Technical Overview:
The first real Alpine stage comes on the penultimate Sunday, a bit late on the usual schedule. Starting from Rivarolo Canavese the riders will head north into the Aosta Valley for a tough stage with an unusual kind of MTF. The first 57 km of this stage are mostly flat going along the valley, but after reaching the town of Montjovet, the terrain will get a lot rougher, with 30 kms of ups and downs leading to another flat section ending at the first intermediate sprint in Pollein. Here, at 86 km to go, the first climb of the day starts and there will barely be any flat to be found until the end of the stage. Pila-Les Fleurs (GPM1, 12.3 km at 6.9%) is a solid climb and an old friend of the Giro that was missing since quite a long time. The riders will not have to climb all the way to the top however, as there would not be any other way down, but only up to the village of Le Fleurs, around two thirds up the full climb. Even so, it is still a tough climb, long and with consistent gradients. The top is at 72 km to go, and the descent is quite demanding. At the bottom there will be only 5 kms of flat roads in the town of Aosta, and then it will be time for the next climb already. Verrogne (GPM1, 13.8 km at 7.1%) is the same ascent as in 2019: a very tough climb, always around 8% gradient but without crazy ramps. The descent starts at 40 km to go, 13.5 of which feature a very technical descent. Back at the bottom there will be 4.5 km of flat before the final climb begins, and as I said it will be a weird one. Cogne (GPM1, 22.4 km at 4.3%) starts with good but irregular gradients for the first 9 kms, and then it eases off, becoming mostly a false flat. Here it is worth mentioning that there will be an intermediate sprint in the center of the town, at 3.3 km to go, which is also very weird by itself.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Pila-Les Fleurs
: GPM1, 12.3 km at 6.9%
Last time the Giro passed on this climb was exactly 30 years ago. This time they do not go all the way to the top, so the climb is not as hard as it could be, but it is still a very good one.

Verrogne: GPM1, 13.8 km at 7.1%
Very similar numbers to the previous climb, this one was climbed in 2019. Only the bottom is slightly different.

Cogne: GPM1, 22.4 km at 4.3%
A very weird MTF, it starts with good gradients and then eases off massively, though it does hide some steeper ramps in the easy part.

What to expect:
Tough to call. There is definitely enough terrain to deliver a lot of GC damage, but the final 13 kms of false flat might scare some people. Descents could also be a factor and I can definitely see tactical moves succeeding, if a team goes for it.

Stage 16: Salò – Aprica 202 km
Tuesday, May 24th, 11:00 CET

Technical Overview:
After the final rest day, it is time for the queen stage. From the town of Salò, on Lake Garda, the riders will head into the mountains and face big and famous climbs all day long. After a first 30 kms of gently ascending false flat, the peloton will reach the foot of the first climb of the day, a big one already: Goletto di Cadino (GPM1, 19.9 km at 6.2%), better known as Passo Crocedomini (which is a pass just a few meters below the actual top), is not as grueling as it is from the opposite side, but it is still a long and tough climb, that will wear legs down nicely, as well as determine the composition of the breakaway of the day. The descent is long, steep and quite technical, so this might also be a good point for riders to jump, if the breakaway is still in reach. At the bottom, the route will keep heading north along the Valcamonica for a little over 30 kms, all ascending with increasing gradients. On the way there will also be the first intermediate sprint, which will most likely be contested by the breakaway. After reaching the town of Edolo, the second climb of the day, the mythical Passo del Mortirolo (GPM1, 12.6 km at 7.6%) starts. Unfortunately this is the easy side, the one that is usually descended. Either way, this is far from being an easy climb, with gradients consistently around 8% with the exception of one flattish km near the top, before a final steep ramp. Its descent is also very tricky and might be a good spot for tactical moves to happen. The descent ends in the town of Grosio, and from there the riders will head down the Valtellina through 20 kms of descending false flat, the last easy part of the stage. At 35 kms to go, the hardest non-categorized climb of this Giro begins. Teglio (5.6 km at 8.2%) should be at the very least GPM3, but it is an intermediate sprint instead. It tops at exactly 30 km to go, 10 of which feature a technical descent. At 20 kms to go, with hardly any flat section in between, the final climb starts. The famous Valico di Santa Cristina (GPM1, 13.5 km at 8%), taken for the first time from the hardest road. Made immortal by the mythical stage of 1994, this pass has always been approached only from halfway, using only its steep second half. This added first half is not as steep as the top one, but it still provides good gradients and makes it a much more demanding climb. The top is at only 6 km to go, 4.5 km of descent and 1.5 km of false flat to reach the finishing line of Aprica, one of the most iconic Giro finishes.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Goletto di Cadino
: GPM1, 19.9 km at 6.2%
Much better known as Passo Croce Domini, this climb has been missing from the Giro since the ‘90s. This side is not crazy hard as the other one, but still a big climb that will wear legs down nicely.

Passo del Mortirolo: GPM1, 12.6 km at 7.6%
The easiest side of one of the most iconic climbs in Giro history.

Teglio: 5.6 km at 8.2%
Here the answer of the 8-ball was “intermediate sprint”. We still have an official profile however, which is nice. And confusing.

Valico di Santa Cristina: GPM1, 13.5 km at 8%
This climb is mythical since the 1994 stage, which all of you should watch if you never have. After that edition, it has been climbed only twice more, one in 1999 (but we don’t talk about that one) and one in 2010 (even going a bit higher, up to Trivigno). But it has never been climbed all the way from the bottom of the valley; this will be the first time.

What to expect:
All out battle on the last climb, maybe action on Teglio if we are lucky. The first hour will be very important, what happens on the Goletto di Cadino will determine much of the rest of the stage.

Aprica, June 5th 1994
Stage 17: Ponte di Legno – Lavarone 168 km
Wednesday, May 25th, 12:30 CET

Technical Overview:
Another mountain stage, and a very interesting one at that, albeit not as hard as the previous one. Starting from the town of Ponte di Legno, the riders will hit the first climb of the day immediately, the inexplicably uncategorized Passo del Tonale (8.7 km at 6.4%). Its descent is long but very fast, and leads to a very long descending valley which will take the rest of the first half of this stage. The first categorized climb comes right at the end of it, Giovo (GPM3, 5.9 km at 6.8%), a rather short and quite steep climb. This will lead to a section of very rough terrain, full of small ramps and descents that lasts 36 kms and ends with the intermediate sprint of Pergine Valsugana. From here, the peloton will face a huge combo of two climbs that will lead to the finish. The first one is Passo del Vetriolo (GPM1, 11.8 km at 7.7%), a mid-size climb with very regular gradients, always around 8%, which tops at 32 km to go. Its descent has the same characteristics, and with its many hairpins it might prove to be a key point of the race. At the bottom the riders will get only 5 km of flat roads, with the intermediate sprint in Caldonazzo, and then the road will go up again. The final climb, Monte Rovere (GPM1, 7.9 km at 9.9%) better known as Menador, has never been used in the Giro, despite being a regular presence in the Giro rumours for pretty much a decade at this point. It is a very tough climb, rather short but really steep, that does not offer any respite. The top is at only 8 km to go, with no descent but just rough terrain to follow, which might stretch gaps even further if anyone still has the legs to push.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Passo del Tonale
: 8.7 km at 6.4%
“No.” – The 8-Ball, probably.

Giovo: GPM3, 5.9 km at 6.8%
Quite steep, with a flat stretch near the bottom that lowers the average gradient.

Passo del Vetriolo: GPM1, 11.8 km at 7.7%
A very consistent climb, always around 8%.

Monte Rovere: GPM1, 7.9 km at 9.9%
Never used before in the Giro, we can now finally see it after years of rumours. It is also known as Menador, or also with its German name, Kaiserjägerstraße, as it was built by the Austrians for military purposes.

What to expect:
I’m quite confident for this one. Tomorrow is basically a rest day and today there is plenty of room to attack anywhere in the last 40 kms.

The Menador
Stage 18: Borgo Valsugana - Treviso 151 km
Thursday, May 26th, 13:40 CET

Technical Overview:
The typical third week transitional stage, from the mountains back to the flatlands. The route will be mostly flat or even slightly descending, with just two minor categorized climbs on the way, that should both be absolutely inconsequential. The first one is at km 24, Le Scale Di Primolano (GPM4, 2.3 km at 5.7%), while the second is the Muro Di Ca' Del Poggio (GPM4, 1.1 km at 12.3%), that has been used multiple times in recent editions and never produced anything of note. It tops at 50 km from the finish, most being flat and on straight roads. After reaching Treviso, the peloton will cross the finishing line a first time before going on an 11 km loop around the town and reaching the actual finish.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Le Scale Di Primolano
: GPM4, 2.3 km at 5.7%
Easy and short. No profile obviously.

Muro Di Ca' Del Poggio: GPM4, 1.1 km at 12.3%
Some say the restaurant at the top is Vegni’s favourite…

What to expect:
As usual, depends on how many sprinters are left to contest the stage. If no one is willing to chase, the breakaway will take this one.

Stage 19: Marano Lagunare – Santuario di Castelmonte 178 km
Friday, May 27th, 12:10 CET

Technical Overview:
The best stage of the whole race for long range attacks comes on the last Friday, with one big MTF still looming on the horizon, which is not ideal. Starting from Marano Lagunare, on the Adriatic coast, the peloton will make a detour in Slovenia, just like they did last year, but this time on a much tougher course. The first 67 km of this stage are mostly flat, with only the intermediate sprint in Buja spicing things up. Upon entering the mountains, the riders will hit the first climb of the day, Villanova Grotte (GPM3, 3.7 km at 8%) a short and quite steep climb that brings to the famous caves of the same name. The descent is also short, but it is very narrow and quite tricky, as it is often the case in this part of Italy. There will be no respite at the bottom, as the second climb of the day begins immediately. Passo di Tanamea (GPM3, 9.7 km at 5.3%) is a much gentler climb, with wide roads and a simple descent. The descent brings to the Slovenian border, and after another small climb and a longer descent the peloton will finally enter a flattish valley, around 15 km long. The riders will then reach the town of Kobarid, known in Italian as Caporetto, and very famous as our most ruinous defeat in WW1. Here they will start the biggest climb of the day, perhaps the hardest of the whole race: Kolovrat (GPM1, 10.3 km at 9.2%) a very steep climb that will cause havoc in the peloton and would be the perfect spot for an all-or-nothing attack. The descent is tricky as well, although it is not particularly steep, and in some section is little more than a false flat, but the road is always twisty and it will be hard to chase there. The only problem of this stage is the 15 km long valley at the bottom to reach the intermediate sprint of Cividale del Friuli, where the final climb will begin. Santuario di Castelmonte (GPM2, 7.1 km at 7.8%) is definitely easier than the previous climb but it is still a good climb to decide the stage winner.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Villanova Grotte
: GPM3, 3.7 km at 8%
A short but tough climb, with some scenic caves at the top.

Passo di Tanamea: GPM3, 9.7 km at 5.3%
The easiest climb of the day in terms of gradient.

Kolovrat: GPM1, 10.3 km at 9.2%
A great climb with some huge ramps. After a rather disappointing Slovenian stage last year, this time they have gone for it.

Santuario di Castelmonte: GPM2, 7.1 km at 7.8%
A very irregular climb that might prove much more selective than it looks.

What to expect:
Solo attacks are probably going to get killed by those 15 kms, but very small groups should definitely form on Kolovrat, and then who knows what is going to happen…

Santuario di Castelmonte
Stage 20: Belluno – Marmolada 167 km
Saturday, May 28th, 12:15 CET

Technical Overview:

The last chance for the climbers is a hard MTF on one of the prettiest passes of Giro’s history. Starting from the town of Belluno, just at the foot of the Dolomites, this stage will offer the first difficulty already after just 18 km, with the uncategorized climb of S.Gregorio nelle Alpi (2.7 km at 7.5%), where the breakaway of the day will likely leave the peloton. A quick descent (with some false flat in the middle) will bring the riders back to the valley, where they will slowly enter the mountains. The next climb comes after 33 km of ascending false flat, and it is a big one. Passo S.Pellegrino (GPM1, 18.5 km at 6.2%) is a long and hard climb, very irregular in the first half and then just consistently steep in the second. A 12 km straightforward descent will let the peloton enter the Val di Fassa, a valley that they will have to ascend for 17 km all the way to the end and to the foot of the next climb, the Cima Coppi of this edition. The famous Passo Pordoi (Cima Coppi, 11.8 km at 6.8%) with its 2239m above sea level is once again the highest point of the race, as it tends to happen often. With all his hairpins, it is not a particularly tough climb, and its main difficulty will simply be the altitude. The descent is very technical and leads to a false flat section that ends with a ramp of 1.5 km at 6.5% before plunging down again for another 10 km descent that ends in the town of Caprile, where the final climb of the day will begin. The mythical Marmolada, also known as Passo Fedaia (GPM1, 14 km at 7.6%), is renowned for its magnificent views and the beautiful canyon at the bottom, which is still closed due to the catastrophic floods of a few years ago. The riders will race on the modern road that passes above it, so at least we will see it. The other main feature of this climb is its terrible straight of 3 km at 12%, beginning at 5 km to go, that will probably decide the stage and perhaps the whole Giro.

Final km:

The Climbs:

Passo S.Pellegrino
: GPM1, 18.5 km at 6.2%
A great climb, with increasingly high gradients all the way to the top.

Passo Pordoi: Cima Coppi, 11.8 km at 6.8%
It was supposed to be the Cima Coppi last year, but the riders didn’t feel like it. Let’s see if this time it works. I’m gonna quote myself from last year:
The most frequent Cima Coppi of all (13 times out of 35 total passages), by virtue of being the highest peak in an area very often traversed by the Giro. Besides the (not even that crazy) altitude, it is quite an unassuming climb, with steady gradients but with a stunning scenery at the top. It was featured in the Giro for the first time in 1940, with Gino Bartali himself going first over the top.

Passo Fedaia: GPM1, 14 km at 7.6%
Quote from last year:
It has been 1000 years… well, 10 11, but still too many. It is since the stage to Gardeccia 2011 that Fedaia (also known as Marmolada) has not been featured in the Giro. Meanwhile, the Canyon of Sottoguda has been wrecked by a flood, and who knows when it will be ready again to host a race. Canyon or not, this climb has almost always seen some great action in the past. This year it will be unlikely, but we can still hope. This will be the 15th time the Giro passes here, the first time being in 1975.

What to expect:
The final battle for the GC. Hard to think anyone will attack before the final climb though. We need someone to be really desperate.

Serrai di Sottoguda
Stage 21: Verona – Verona 17.4 km ITT
Sunday, May 29th, 13:55 CET

Technical Overview:
The “long” Time Trial of this Giro comes on the final day, and it is only 17 km long on the classic circuit in Verona, pretty much the same route as 2019. It features the last GPM of the Giro, Torricelle (GPM4, 4.6 km at 5.1%) which should not do much damage to anyone. If anything, its descent will make this ITT even less specialist friendly. All in all, only 8 km of this are flat…

Final km:

The Climbs:

: GPM4, 4.6 km at 5.1%
Little more than a false flat. No profile.

What to expect:
Small gaps that will be meaningful only if the GC is really close. And then the celebrations.