Giro d'Italia - Everything You Need To Know

Words by Harry Archer

on 01/05/2018 15:21:17

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  • Established - 1909
  • Start Point : Bolonga, Italy
  • Finish : Verona, Italy
  • Distance : 3578.8km
  • Last years winner : Chris Froome
  • Youngest/oldest ever winners - Fausto Coppi (1940 - 20 years,8 months)/Fiorenzo Magni (1955 - 34 years,6 months)
  • Official winners' Jerseys - Maglia Rose (winner - Pink), Maglia Ciclamino(Point Classification - Red), GPM Classification (KOM - Blue)) and Best Young Classification (Young Fighter - White)
  • Most Wins (Overall Competition) - Eddie Merckx, Fausto Coppi, Alfredo Binda - 5
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What Is The Giro d'Italia?

Organised by RCS Sports, The Giro d'Italia (May 11- June 02, 2019) is an annual stage-based bicycle race that is one of the most popular rides of the year for racers and spectators alike. Beginning in 1909, The Giro D'italia has been held annually every year since, apart from during the two world wars, cementing its place amongst the beloved 'Grand Tours' of the road riding season. Incredibly well-supported by the Italian 'Tifosi', who cover the entire country in a sea of pink every may for the Giro, the race occupies a position between the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France. The race is primarily held in Italy, with other nearby countries including Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands featuring on the route. 2018 saw the Giro leave Europe for the first time, starting in Jerusalem, Israel. This year's race starts in a more familiar location of Bologna, northern Italy, and will go on to cover a massive 3,578.8km, making this year's race the longest edition since 1998. This year's route contains seven stages likely to provide a sprint-type finish which could favour riders such as Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) well.

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There are however notable big mountain days through the Alps and Dolomites to iron out the final standings, with stage 16 containing more than 5000m (16,000ft) of climbing. A traditional race, the Giro links the economic power of the north of Italy with the beautiful scenery of the south. The North/South divide has been an ongoing theme in Giro history, since the great Coppi versus Bartali duels of the 1940s/50s.

The Format

As with other Grand Tours, the overall winner of the Giro is determined by the lowest average timings over the entirety of the route, with specific stages having their own point or time-based competitions (Mountains classification, Points classification, Team classification etc). The type of stages involved include mass starts, individual time trials and team time trials, with routes through both urban and rural areas, taking in winding mountain roads and wind-swept flats in abundance. Traditionally, the finish of each race is held in Milan, although this year the finish is due to be held in the historic city of Verona, famously known for being the setting for Shakespeare's �Romeo and Juliet�.

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The Stages - What to watch out for

  • Stage 1 - An 8km individual time trial, with the final 2km being a steep climb to San Luca. Although not an indicator of how the race will pan out, it will be an interesting start.
  • Stage 14 - An intense 131km route through the Aosta Valley, with little to no flat sections and five notable climbs.
  • Stage 16 - Over 5000m of climbing through the alps, with the peaks of the Gavia and Mortirolo making for an exciting and telling stage.
  • Stage 20 - The last of the mountain stages, with 5 prominent climbs over a 194km stretch and a wide, flat finish.
  • Stage 21 - The final individual time trial takes place on the Torricelle circuit, known for its use in the World Championships. Straight urban sections mark the finish of this race at the Verona Arena, bringing a close to this year's Giro.

Who's Taking Part?

Often seen as a race to build up form for the Tour De France, the Giro D'italia promises international recognition for the winner (as well as a pink jersey blessed by the Pope himself!) whilst giving the competitors the chance to refine riding tactics, style, components and fitness before the major summer events. From the legendary Bartali, Merckx and Coppi to the wily frame of Pantani and the power of Sean Kelly - The Giro D'italia never fails to attract the biggest stars of the sport. With three time-trials, this years Giro will see Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) as hot favourites for the overall, with Dumoulin hoping to replicate his 2017 win. 2019 sees last year's winner Chris Froome standing down to focus on the Tour De France, leaving Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Meridia) as the final favourites, as well as Britain and Italy's top contenders for the win respectively.

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How To Watch All The Action

The best way to experience the Giro is to witness it first-hand. A lot of travel companies will have unique offers specifically for the Giro, and with such a large race profile there are plenty of places to visit and stay in along the route. If of course real-world responsibilities get in the way of this fantastic holiday opportunity, there is no need to fear. The event will be broadcast live on Eurosport, with highlight coverage being available at all your favourite cycling news sources.

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