Bologna start for Giro d’Italia 2019 route announced with uphill finish to opening time trial
Both the opening time trial and the stage nine solo event will feature testing uphill parcours
The Giro d’Italia route will stay closer to home in 2019, opening with an individual time trial in Bologna.
Stage two’s start will be hosted in the same town, with a further time trial still within the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy on stage nine.
Organisers RCS sport revealed the location for the Grande Partenza on Monday. The opening time trial will be 8.2 kilometres in length, with a testing uphill finish up the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca.
More from CyclingWeekly
The stage nine individual time trial will cover 34.7km, starting in Riccione and finishing in San Marino on the coast, with a constant upward elevation trace marked over the second half of the course.
Stage 10 will be a flat 147km route from Ravenna to Modena, giving the sprinters an opportunity to shine.
RCS has also confirmed that stage 11 will start from Capri, heading west, but have provided no additional glimpses into the route for the day.
No further details have been confirmed, with the official route unveiling coming in November this year.
However, there have been rumours of climbs up the Mortirolo, Stelvio and Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and that a Rome finish is in doubt.
The race also made history for starting in Jerusalem – becoming the first Grand Tour to begin outside of Europe. The 2019 Giro d’Italia‘s Bologna start sees it return to more traditional ground.
Israel paid around €12-16 million to host the 2018 Giro’s start with the race organiser then putting part of that money into the logistics of hosting such a far-flung start. Staying in Italy will cost less.
Chris Froome dominated the Giro’s famous modern climbs Monte Zoncolan and Colle delle Finestre to win the title in Rome, both of which were only introduced to the race in this millennium. The 2019 Giro, however, will call on some of the iconic climbs from the race’s past.
There has been the suggestion that the race will finish outside of Rome, with whispers that it could conclude in the city of Verona, in the northern Veneto region.
The route could possibly return to finish at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo – where Vincenzo Nibali celebrated victory in a snowstorm in 2013 and where Eddy Merckx won en route to his first Grand Tour victory in 1968.
It should also include Passo di Mortirolo and the Passo dello Stelvio. When the race first tackled the Stelvio in 1953, Italian great Fausto Coppi dropped race leader Hugo Koblet and took the pink jersey at the top. Weather permitting, at 2758m, it would be the race’s high point and the Cima Coppi.
RCS Sport wanted to see the Giro finish in Rome through to 2021, signing a four-year contract with the capital city to host the finish similar to how Paris welcomes the Tour finishes every year. But after the debacle of the 2018 finish – which saw a rider protest and the GC standings taken just after a handful of kilometres due to an unsafe circuit – they may seek other hosts.
“Rome knew about this for one year and it was only an 11km circuit,” RCS Mediagroup president Urbano Cairo said. “Those potholes should have had already been repaired.”
The city blamed the organiser for not communicating the road problems in advance. The mayor, Virginia Raggi, skipped the podium presentation. “The riders were able to complete the race,” the mayor said. “Let’s stop making problems.”
If the race turns its back on Rome, it may be easier since a long transfer from the third-week Alpine stages would not be needed. The Giro could return to Milan, where it first began and finished in 1909, or as in recent years, it could finish in a smaller city like Verona, Brescia and Trieste.