Details of 2018 route emerge two weeks ahead of official launch
The 2018 Giro d’Italia route will begin in Jerusalem on May 4, with the race ending three weeks later in Rome on May 27. Cycling Weekly discovered the race’s direction south to north in the famous Italian boot from various insiders and local newspaper articles, ahead of the official unveiling by organiser RCS Sport on Wednesday, November 29, in Milan.
The time trial in the third week travels through the Vallagarina vineyards near Lake Garda. The first part, starting from Trento, is completely flat in the valley and the second half rolling to reach Rovereto.
Only the Rovereto time trial could change between now and November 29. If the organisers needs extra ammunition to convince Froome to attend, RCS Sport could add more kilometres. The rest of the 101st edition has been finalised by cycling director Mauro Vegni and his RCS crew.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia will be the first of the Grand Tours to begin outside of Europe when it starts in Jerusalem on May 4 with a 10.1-kilometre time trial. It continues with flat stages to Tel Aviv and Eilat in the south near Jordan and Egypt.
The race will return to its homeland in Italy after three Israeli stages. It lands in Catania for a rest day on May 7, the first of three, and restarts with three Sicilian stages, including the first summit finish up Mount Etna. The mountain featured in 2017, but for 2018 the organisers use a road never before covered by the Giro.
The active volcano, which last erupted this summer, is the first of eight summit finishes in the 2018 Giro d’Italia route. They unite the south and north, stringing from Etna to Cervinia in Valle d’Aosta on the penultimate day.
The eventual 2018 winner will make his first steps towards the spiral trophy with the summit finishes of Mount Etna, Montevergine di Mercogliano, on May 12 near Naples, and Gran Sasso on May 13 in the Abruzzo region.
In designing the route, Vegni was free of the weight of the 100th edition from 2017, which meant he was oblige to reach out to most of Italy’s regions. In 2018 he was able to design a course that tempts the attendance of star riders – perhaps Chris Froome, Mikel Landa and Fabio Aru – and that rivals the other Grand Tours in France and Spain.
Watch: Giro d’Italia 2017 stage 21 highlights
To rival its counterparts, the Giro quickly reaches the north and the famous climbs tucked in the Alps. The Monte Zoncolan, likely to be one stage 14, comes at the tail end of stage with 4000 metres of climbign. The race will cover four passes before reaching Ovaro and facing the 22% pitches that made Zoncolan famous in its relatively short existence in professional cycling.
The Rovereto time trial will take place among the towering peaks, although run on a flat and rolling course. The 34.5-kilometre test could balance, and ultimately decide the Giro, in the way the Montefalco and Milan time trials did for Tom Dumoulin in 2017.
Purer climbers such as Landa and Aru will need to recover lost time on the summit finishes to Prato Nevoso, Jafferau and Cervinia in the third week.
However the race could come down to a final explosive chapter with a Val di Susa stage that climbs the gravel road over the Colle Finestre, the Colle Sestriere, and for the finish, the road from Bardonecchia to Jafferau. The 200-kilometre stage climbs 3500 metres. Stage 20 heads towards Valle d’Aosta and the Breuil-Cervinia ski resort.
Much like the Tour de France, the winner will celebrate on a transfer flight to the capital. Instead of drinking Champagne en route to Paris, the eventual victor will toast with Prosecco before landing in Rome ahead of what is to be a parade stage.
Giro d’Italia 2018 route: Stage-by-stage
Stage one: Jerusalem to Jerusalem, 10.1km (ITT)
The 2018 Giro big start will based around the holy city with a 10.1km time trial to kick off the race on May 5, before two sprint stages finish off the race’s time in Israel.
Stage two: Haifa to Tel Aviv, 167km
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, 226km
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.
Stages of the 2018 Giro d’Italia route
Unconfirmed stages in italics
|1||Friday, May 4||Jerusalem to Jerusalem||10.1km|
|2||Saturday, May 5||Haifa to Tel Aviv||167km|
|3||Sunday, May 6||Be-er Sheva to Eilat||226km|
|Rest Day||Monday, May 7||Catania||–|
|4||Tuesday, May 8|
|5||Wednesday, May 9|
|6||Thursday, May 10||to Mount Etna|
|7||Friday, May 11|
|8||Saturday, May 12||to Montevergine di Mercogliano|
|9||Sunday, May 13||to Gran Sasso|
|Rest Day||Monday, May 14||–|
|10||Tuesday, May 15|
|11||Wednesday, May 16|
|12||Thursday, May 17|
|13||Friday, May 18|
|14||Saturday, May 19||to Monte Zoncolan|
|15||Sunday, May 20|
|Rest Day||Monday, May 21||–|
|16||Tuesday, May 22||34.5km (ITT)|
|17||Wednesday, May 23|
|18||Thursday, May 24||to Prato Nervoso|
|19||Friday, July 25||to Jafferau|
|20||Saturday, July 26||to Breuil-Cervinia|
|21||Sunday, July 27||to Rome|