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  • Back to Blog  

    Giro D’italia – Everything You Need To Know

       Words by Harry Archer

       on 01/05/2018 15:21:17

    Giro Hero
    • Established - 1909
    • Start Point : Jerusalem, Israel
    • Finish : Rome, Italy
    • Distance : 3562.9km
    • Last years winner : Tom Domoulin (Team Sunweb)
    • 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

    Domoulin giro 2017

    What Is The Giro D’italia?

    Organised by RCS Sports, The Giro D'italia (May 4-27, 2018)​ 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 Athens, Belfast and Amsterdam featuring on the route since 1965. This year's 101st sees an opening time trial and 2 racing stages being held outside Europe for the first time in Jerusalem, Israel - starting with a 10.1km individual time trial which are then followed by stage finishes in Tel Aviv and Eilat, before going on to cover a massive 3,562.9km, making this years race the second longest edition since 2001. This years route is perhaps kinder to sprinters than previously with 7 or 8 stages looking likely to provide a sprint-type finish - although the tough final stages in the Dolomites and the unforgiving slopes of the Zoncolan will probably even things out in the final standings. 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(North) versus Bartali(South) duels of the 1940s/50s.

    BArtolli and coppi

    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 capital city of Rome. This years route looks to be quite ​challenging due to the inclusion of ​eight​ ​summit​ ​finishes​,​ ​including​ ​two​ ​major mountain​ ​days​ ​over​ ​Monte​ ​Zoncolan​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Colle​ ​delle​ ​Finestre. As is often the case with the​ Giro D’italia, the​ route is designed to build ​suspense​ as it moves towards the finish line in Rome.

    Pantani Giro

    The Stages - What to watch out for

    • Stage 1,2,3 - The first stage is a 9.7km individual time trial through down-town Jerusalem. Stages 2 and 3 see the race head north through Israel towards Haifa and Tel Aviv, with sprinters likely to have the most success due to the relatively flat route profile.
    • Stages 4,5 - With several ascents, including two categorised climbs, Stage 4 is where you can expect to see the climbers/all-rounders' begin to make an impact on the race.
    • Stage 6 - The first summit finish is found on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, the first time this infamous mountain has been included in the route of the Giro.
    • Stages 7,8,9,10 - A slightly less demanding and flatter 7th stage is followed by 2 summit finishes in succession on stages 8 and 9. Stage 8 is particularly long with slacker gradients of 5-6% accompanying the climb up to Montevergine di Mercogliano whilst stage 9 sees steeper 9-13% gradients with two additional sprints incorporated into the route. Stage 10 is the longest stage of the 2018 Giro,  with riding in stage 9 and 10 generally characterized by short,sharp climbs and a pass over one side of the Gran Sasso, a beautiful climb in the central region of Abruzzo, east of Rome. The Gran Sasso is infamous for the 1999 Giro, as it is the location that the late Marco Pantani rode into the lead with a memorable stage victory. The Italian was later expelled from the race in a controversial manner after failing a drugs test.
    • Stage 11,12,13 - Stage 11 continues to provide short and steep climbing intertwined with fast-paced urban riding through a number of towns and villages, including a monster 16% climb up the Via Olimpia. Stages 12 and 13 are quite the contrast - virtually flat and ending with dramatic sprint finishes.

    Giro 2

    • Stage 14 - Staying in the mountains, this stage includes the iconic and challenging climb up 4000m of the super-steep slopes of Monte Zoncolan. Often stated as one of the hardest climbs they ever had to race by many ex-professionals ,the gradient reaches 20 per cent with sustained sections of 18 and 16 per cent in the latter half of the climb. It's near-vertical profile is enough to even bring the world's best climbers to an almost standstill.
    • Stages 15,16 - With beautiful scenery and a number of challenging climbs, Stage 15 takes place across the Dolomite mountains and could see a lot of drama due to the tired legs resulting from the ascent of the Zoncolan on the previous stage. Stage 16 consists of a predominantly urban-based TT on the 16th stage along the Adige River.
    • Stages 17,18 - The closing circuit of stage 17 looks to be particularly tricky, with 23.9km of intricate bends,roundabouts and level-crossings. Stage 18 is flat with a steep finish - a real test for the endurance levels of the riders, having to push hard uphill after a full day in the saddle.
    • Stage 19 - The last summit finish in this years competition, stage 19 Features climbs up the gravelly Colle delle Finestre and Sestriere before a finish in Jafferau. This stage promises to be one of the most exciting,unpredictable and potentially important stages in this years race.
    • Stages 20,21 - This years queen stage (stage 20) provides a full-on and ultra demanding day in the Alps that includes 3 big climbs amounting to nearly 20km each! The route rises all the way to the finish line so you can almost guarantee that this will be one of the key moments of the entire race, potentially deciding the result of the general classification category before the 21st and final stage.  Stage 21 incorporates short climbs, tight bends and pacey sprints during a TT circuit around the streets of Rome. With the pink jersey normally decided, Stage 21 often sees a plucky,unknown sprinter get a stage win as the more well-known riders drop the pace for a more leisurely final day of prosecco pedalling.

    Giro D'italia route

    Who’s Taking Part?

    Originally comprising of mostly Italian riders, the modern Giro D'italia features riders from all over the world and from some of the biggest teams - including 18 UCI WorldTour teams,3 Italian wildcard squads and the Israel Cycling Academy. 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 176 confirmed 2018 competitors the chance to refine riding tactics,style, componentry 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.

    Pinot giro 2017

    This year is certainly no different, With a mouth-watering match up between Sky's controversial but undeniably talented Kenyan king of the mountains , Chris Froome and the flying Dutchman, last years winner Tom Domoulin from Team Sunweb. The former is looking to cement their place (Drug test results depending) in cycling lore by becoming one of a highly select group of riders that have completed the 'Holy Trinity/Tiger Slam' - Winning the Tour De France,Vuelta a Espana and Giro D'italia in one season. The latter won the race last year with so much time to spare that he had time to take a very unique type of rest break at the side of the road before eventually riding to victory.

    Giro sun

    This years route, with 44.2km of time trials and eight mountain summit finishes, suits Froome's skillset on paper, but the race winner certainly isn't a forgone conclusion - the unpredictability of the Giro is what makes it so popular and with a race that incorporates stages,sprints,KOM and time trial competitions through sun,rain,wind and snow(often all in the same day!) you can never be 100% sure who the winner will be. In fact, it's often the local riders that end-up in the Maglia Rose, with 15 of the last 21 victors hailing from Italy, including national favourite Vincenzo Nibali, who was the winner in both 2013 and 2016 but this year has decided to focus solely on the Tour De France and Spring Classics and thus has not entered this year’s Giro.  Other notable absentees on this year's starting line include 2017 runner-up and Movistar rider Nairo Quintara, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde and British sprinter Mark Cavendish. Furthermore, Italian/Trek sprinter and 2-time points champion Giacomo Nizzolo and last years KOM, Team Sky climber Mikel Landa also miss out, with both struggling with injury. Despite this, there's still a vast amount of talent in the 2018 peloton - Here's a run through of some of the favourites for Giro 2018 :

    • Chris Froome (Team Sky) - Entering his third Giro, Froome finished 32nd in 2009 riding for Barloworld and was disqualified after hitching a lift from a police bike riding for Team Sky in 2010. Hoping for better luck this year in order to become just the seventh rider to win all three Grand Tours, joining an illustrious group consisting of Anquetil, Contador, Gimondi, Hinault, Merckx and Nibali. Froome is also seeking to become only the third rider to hold all three titles in a 12 month period after Merckx and Hinault. Much like Contador in 2015, Froome is sure to be under close scrutiny throughout the Giro due to the fallout from the now infamous Salbutamol saga,  which could certainly sour a victory for Froome should he be found guilty of doping in the coming months.
    • Tom Domoulin (Team Sunweb) - Aiming to become the first rider since Miguel Indurain (1992-1993) to secure consecutive Giro victories, the Dutch power-house has been in good form, establishing himself as a strong member of the peloton following success as a Time-Trialist. Needs to kick-start his season after mechanical issues in the Abu Dhabi Tour and crashing out of contention in the Tirreno-Adriatico and will be hoping that the lesser amount of TT miles in this year’s route compared to last year won’t negatively affect his timings too much.
    • Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) - Home-rider,Italy's great hope and outside favourite to cause an upset in this years race, Aru is another who will be hoping a solid performance here can get his season going after finishing twelfth in the Tirreno and abandoning the Volta a Catalunya with a leg injury.
    • Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) - Confident following victory in the GC in the Tour Of The Alps last month, Pinot looks raring to go and is definitely one to watch at this years Giro.
    • Simon Yates, Alex Dowsett & Hugh Carthy (Mitchelin-Scott,Team Katusha,Cannondale) - The 3 British riders to be taking part other than Froome. Watch out for Yates especially, his early-season form looks good and as the white-jersey winner at last years Tour De France, his performance when the pressure is on can't be questioned.
    • Wout Poels (Team Sky) - Another rider in good form in the early stages of the 2018 season, Poel's performance will be vital to that of team leader Froome, though he won't just be a support act. Expect the powerful Dutch rider to be in the thick of the action from the word go.
    • Mikel Nieve (Mitchelin-Scott) - KOM winner in 2016, the Spanish rider will be looking to reclaim his title from compatriot Mikel Landa, who isn't racing this year. 5 of the previous 7 Giro D'italia KOM winners have been Italian, with plenty of local climbers aiming to claim back the award for the host nation.
    • Adam Hansen (Lotto Fix All) - This will be the Australian rider's 19th consecutive Grand Tour. A true jack-of-all-trades, he'll be looking to add to his two previous stage victories during this years competition.
    • Esteban Chavez (Mitchelin-Scott) - The 28 year old Columbian came 2nd to Nibali in 2016 and is beginning to reach his top form.  Could see this years Giro as the start of what could be a very good year for the ever-smiling rider.
    • Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) - A top 6 finish at the 2017 Giro and a KOM winner at this years Tour Of The Alps, The Italian veteran will be looking to continue his good form and secure another high finish in the race for the blue jersey whilst also having his say on the outcome of the winner of the Maglia Rose.

    Giro Snow

    How To Watch All The Action

    Obviously 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 accommodation to stay in along the route. Of course, in the real world chances are you'll have to work or have to many responsibilities *shudders* to drop everything and head off to watch the cycling for 3 weeks in sunny Italia. Happily, those in the latter group need not be too downhearted as the entire event will be broadcast live on Eurosport, with highlights and tonnes of race-related information available online or on a plethora of apps and cycling TV shows. Keep an eye on this blog for updates as the race begins to take shape, with all the major talking-points and key moments discussed and dissected by the self-proclaimed cycling gurus here on the Rutland Cycling blog team.

    Giro crash

    Related Content

    Everything you need to know about Paris-Roubaix Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic - Race Preview What is a Gran Fondo? A look at the major events at this year's Tour Of Cambridge Everything You Need To Know About Cycling Disciplines Everything you need to know about the Spring Classics All Guides and Advice Road Bike Guide

    Giro d’Italia 2015

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