2020 Giro d'Italia Route Reveals a Succession of Brutal Alpine Stages in the Final Week
Three stages in Hungary before the Italian Grand Tour heads to Sicily and Mount Etna along the Adriatic coast and into the Alps for several brutal mountain stages in the final week and a final time trial in Milan
Former world champion Peter Sagan has confirmed he will compete for the first time in the Giro d'Italia as the route for next year's race through Italy was unveiled in Milan on Thursday. Slovak Sagan, 29, will also take part in the Tour de France, where he holds the record for clinching the green jersey for the points winner seven times.
"I'm delighted to announce that on May 9th, I will be on the starting line in Budapest, ready to tackle this iconic Grand Tour for the first time," said the former three-time world champion . "Italy holds a special place in my heart. It is the country where I won my first World Championship in 2008 and where I spent the formative years of my professional career, riding for an Italian team. In the last ten years I have had the opportunity and privilege to compete, many times, in some of the most prestigious races held in Italy, but I always felt that something was missing, the Giro d'Italia."
The first three stages of next year's Giro d'Italia will be raced in Hungary, the 14th time the race has started outside Italy. The three-week race will get underway on May 9 with a 9.5km individual time-trial on the streets of Budapest, and finishes on May 31 in Milan.
"With the first three stages held in Hungary, next year's Giro d'Italia will also give me the chance to race so close to Slovakia and I'm sure the cheers of the Slovak crowds will be felt along the course," added Sagan.
The race arrives in Italy on May 12 for three stages in Sicily. This year's race includes seven uphill finishes, including the opening time trial in Budapest.
Stage 1 - Sat May 9th
A short individual time trial running flat for the first 6 km, and then rising for the following 2 km on mostly straight city streets, gradients exceed 10% (topping out at 14%) over the first 300 m towards the castle. The fight for pink amongst GC contenders will start start in earnest.
Stage 2 - Sun May 10th
The route takes in an undulations along the River Danube, before heading for a sprint finish in Györ. The short punchy climb in Pannonhalma with 25 kms to go, should not alter the final outcome.
Stage 3 - Mon May 11th
Another sprinters stage, the route rolls almost entirely along Lake Balaton. The stage finale is fast on wide, level roads. However, the closing sprint is on a slight incline.
Stage 4 - Tue May 12
Having left Hungary for the Island of Sicily overnight, the stage is fairly flat until the final 5 kms. The route climbs up the Valley of the Temples to the finish in Agrigento with approximately 4 km sat 5% and gradients of nearly 10% in the final push to the finish line. This stage will suit puncheurs and sprinters who can climb.
Stage 5 - Wed May 13th
Stage 6 - Thu May 14
Back on the Mainland
Stage 7 - Fri May 15th
Back on the mainland of Italy, ths undultaing stage runs across Calabria and has a challenging profile. The route includes 3 categorised climbs. The last one, Valico di Montescuro, is over 25 km long, with nearly 1,500 m altitude gain and a fairly demanding finale. Past the summit, the route runs downhill for the final 10 km. Could be a good day for a breakaway.
Stage 8 - Sat May 16
A flat stage that continues east towards the Adriatic coast, this stage will surely end in a bunch sprint.
Up the Adriatic Coastline
Stage 9 - Sun May 17
The stage is dead flat until the route hits the in the Monte Sant'Angelo climb in Gargano. The constant undulations willl wreak havoc on the peloton along the rugged southern coastline. Upon reaching Vieste, the route will cover a 13 km finishing circuit a couple of times before the sprint.
Stage 10 - Tue May 19
After a rest day, the second week of the race continues north along the coastline. The stage has succession of short but steep climbs, especially in the latter part of the stage. The route winds its way partly along the coast and partly inland, with a few challenging ascents such as the KOM in Chieti. Upon reaching Tortoreto, the peloton will climb into ther town (with gradients exceeding 15%) before passing the finish for a 50 km finishing circuit featuring the “Walls of Colonnella" Controguerra (20%) and Tortoreto (twice) in the stage finale.
This is a stage for a breakway, or a puncheur in the final 50kms. GC contenders will have to be wary not to open up time gaps.
Stage 11 - Wed May 20
Another flat stage along the coastline. The only minor climb of Monte San Bartolo with undulating terrain afterwards, this stage should result in a sprint finish.
Stage 12 - Thu May 21
The stage follows almost the same route as the famous Nove Colli "Nine Hills" Gran Fondo. Upon reaching the foot of the Apennines from Cesenatico, the route brutal traverses the 9 climbs, five of which will award KOM points. Thankfully the last 30 km is flat as the peloton rides across open plains, before reaching the seafront in Cesenatico for a sprint finish. A breakaway could go all the way to the unless the sprinters team have other idea's.
Stage 13 - Fri May 22
This is a flat stage has a cruel ending, after 100 miles it hits the Colli Eugane and the, the Passo Roverello (a quite manageable climb, 4 km long), and then the Muro di Calaone, with gradients of 20% for over 2 km. A wide descent into Este and a short flat section will then lead all the way to the finish. Another day for a breakaway where on the best sprinters will survive the final climbs for a bunch sprint.
Stage 14 - Sat May 23
The second time trial is raced in the Prosecco Superiore region of Italy famous for it's sparking wine. As the route features a continuous succession of climbs and descents, with challenging gradients touching 19% at the Muro di Ca’ del Poggio. The GC contenders will have to put in a good performance in the fight for pink.
Stage 15 - Sun May 24
A fitting mountain stage before the second rest day, it starts off flat for 40 km from the Air Base of the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team. A brutal succession of climbs leads all the way to the foot of the final ascent of Piancavallo finish. The steepest gradients are the first 6 km, up to 14%, but challenging up the final kilometre.
This stage will be one where GC contenders won't want to loose any ground or time.
The Final Week into the Alps
Stage 16 - Tue May 26
The undulating stage route crosses the Julian Prealps, and then enters the valley of the Tagliamento river. The riders will climb up the Madonnina del Domm, a climb very popular among local cyclists, up the northern slope of the Castelmonte Abbey hill (Monte Spig).
Passing through Monteaperta and reaching San Daniele, the peloton will cover two laps of a technical finishing circuit, taking in steep ramps to the castle of Susans (15%) and to Monte Ragogna (16%).
Past the final kilometre, the finale is on a constant incline and will suit the puncheurs while pure sprinters will have to work hard to stay in contention until the final uphill sprint.
Stage 17 - Wed May 27
An horrendous brutal mountain stage with over 5,000 m of climbing, one after anither. The peloton will climb up Forcella Valbona for the first time and onto the Monte Bondone, with gradients over 10% in the second section. After cresting the Passo Durone, the peloton will eventually tackle the closing climb to Madonna di Campiglio.
This is a tough stage where GC contenders will have to be on their guard not to lose any time. Could be a good day for a breakaway to take the stage win.
Stage 18 - Thu May 28
Anoth colossal Alpine stage with over 5,400m of climbing, this is the Queen stage with the legendary 48 harpins of the Passo Stelvio the Cimi Coppi, the highest point of the race at 2,758m above sea level.
The route climbs the Passo Campo Carlo Magno, onto the new and recently-opened Passo Castrin/Hofmandjoch and enters the Val d'Ultimo for the first time.
After leaving the Vinschgau Valley, the route tackles the Passo Stelvio from the hardest side and immediately takes in the final climb leading to the Laghi di Cancano with 21 hairpins along the mountainside (the so-called “Scale di Fraele”).
The GC contenders will need to finish at the head of the race in the fight for Pink.
Stage 19 - Fri May 29
If any of the Sprinters have survived the previous two alpine brutes, they will be licking their lips with the final opportunity to take a stage win.
At 251 kilometres, the longest stage of the Giro runs along the west side of Lake Como across the Po Valley, all the way to the province of Alessandria. The stage is likely to finish in a bunch sprint.
Stage 20 - Sat May 30
The GC contenders will be relieved with the previous day's flat stage and fearful of the last colossal Alpine stage with 5,000 m of climbing, crossing over to France. The riders will climb the brutally steep Colle dell'Agnello, through the Casse Dessert up the Col d'Izoard and Monginevro in succession before the final climb up to Sestriere at over 2,000m.
According to many, this is a modern re-interpretation of the legendary Cuneo-Pinerolo stage. If the previous two brutal alpine stage haven't consolidated the lead of the Pink jersey, this final mountain stage could.
Stage 21 - Sun May 31
The final chance for any GC contender to consolidate or grab the Magila Rosa on the streets of Milan, with a “classic” finale in the city that gave birth to the Giro d'Italia. Could we see the victor take the spoils on the final stage?