Giro d’Italia 2018 route: full details revealed including eight summit finishes and two time trials
Full details of the Giro d'Italia 2018 route (May 4 to 27)
The Giro d’Italia 2018 route (May 4-27) looks set to give the general classification contenders a serious challenge with eight summit finishes, including two major mountain days over Monte Zoncolan and the Colle delle Finestre.
In typical fashion for the Italian Grand Tour – or a good crime thriller – the suspense builds towards the final chapters.
Monte Zoncolan with its 22 per cent pitches conclude what the Italians call a tappone, a mammoth stage that, in this instance, comes on the weekend before the final rest day, includes 4000 metres of climbing.
The Colle delle Finestre strikes a strong chord in cycling with its unique gravel road snaking upwards to 2178 meters. From the pass, the Giro organiser usually finishes with the smaller climb to Sestriere, but for 2018 they continue further to Bardonecchia and the 7.25km climb to the Jafferau ski station.
This tappone includes 3500 climbing metres, and given it’s deep in the Susa Valley, cyclists could see anything from Italian sun beams to driving snow.
Both the Zoncolan and Finestre are relatively recent additions to the Giro, which was contested for the 100th time in 2017. The former premiered in 2003 and the second in 2005. Team Sky’s star, Chris Froome, has already ridden both in the last six months.
As expected, race organiser RCS Sport saves the most spectacular stages for last – the final week containing three consecutive summit finishes ahead of the final stage in Rome.
After its start in Israel, the first Grand Tour to start outside of Europe with a 9.7-km time trial and two flat stages, it continues steadily northwards from Sicily in the Italian boot.
The race will keep the fans’ attention with early summit finishes up a never before used Mount Etna ascent (on stage six), and at the end of the first week, Montevergine di Mercogliano near Naples and Gran Sasso in the Abruzzo region (on stages eight and nine).
The second week, which could seem like the third with the Giro’s first phase in Israel and the second spanning Southern Italy, passes the Po Valley and enters the Alps along the border with Austria.
The dreamy landscapes provide the perfect scene for those classification cyclists with eyes on the Giro’s famous spiral trophy, now etched with 100 victors.
Osmio counts as one of the eight summit finishes, but its short and steep finish near the hometown of Michele Scarponi, who died in a training crash April training, is better suited for your Diego Ulissis than your Chris Froomes or Tom Dumoulins.
The time trials will tilt the balance back from heavy mountain days. Time gained in the 9.7-kilometre Jerusalem time trial and the 34.5-kilometre time trial through the Lagarina Valley to Rovereto on stage 16 will dictate how the story unfolds in the remaining week with its three consecutive summit finishes stages in Italy’s Western Alpine front.
Followers with a sharp eye will note a few items. After time trials in the vineyards of Barolo, Prosecco, Chianti and Sagrantino, this year organiser RCS Sport continues the trend instead with a road stage through Franciacorta. The sparkling white wine should go down well with the stage 17 sprint winner at Lago D’Iseo on May 23.
As announced in previous months, the Giro’s 3546.2km voyage will start in Israel, the state paying approximately €10 million to RCS MediaGroup host the first three stages, but not without controversy.
Groups protested in several Italian cities and European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), consisting of 120 human rights groups, sent statements urging RCS Sport to reconsider its Big Start plans.
The group said ”that holding the Giro d’Italia in Israel will both cover up Israel’s military occupation and discrimination against Palestinians and increase Israel’s sense of impunity, encouraging continued denial of Palestinians’ UN-stipulated rights.” And no nod was given towards the Israel’s Arabian neighbour by presenting the 2018 Giro route on November 29, the day the United Nations recognises an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Giro d’Italia 2018 route: Stage-by-stage
Stage one: Jerusalem to Jerusalem, 9.7km (ITT)
Friday, May 4
The 2018 Giro big start will based around the holy city with a 10.1km time trial to kick off the race on Friday, May 4, before two sprint stages finish off the race’s time in Israel.
Stage two: Haifa to Tel Aviv, 167km
Saturday, May 5
Stage two will see the riders move from the north of the country southwards with a 167km route from Haifa to Tel Aviv that looks destined to end in a sprint.
Stage three: Be’er Sheva to Eilat, 229km
Sunday, May 6
The sprinters will likely have their fun again on stage three with a longer 226km stage from Be’er Sheva to Eilat, with a long descent from Mitzpe Ramon to the finish. The race will then fly out of Eilat and back to Italy, with the rest of the stages to be revealed in November.