Early rumours of the route of the 2019 Giro d'Italia

The Giro d’Italia route will stay closer to home in 2019, with a possible start in the northern city of Bologna and climbs up Mortirolo, Stelvio and Tre Cime di Lavaredo, but with a Rome finish in doubt.

Team Sky‘s Chris Froome became the first British victor of the Giro when he won on May 27, 2018 at the end of a 101st edition that also made history starting in Jerusalem – becoming the first Grand Tour to begin outside of Europe.

The 2019 Giro d’Italia will not travel so far for its Grande Partenza.

Some mention Marseille, France, as a possible host for the Big Start with the Giro perhaps starting where the 2017 Tour de France finished, in the famous Stade Vélodrome. Others say Poland.

Recent reports suggest the race could start in the city of Bologna in northern Italy, possibly with an uphill prologue time trial marking the Grand Partenza.

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The race may start in the south of Italy in the Basilicata region, which is nestled between toe and heel on the boot of Italy.

Matera – the famous sassi or stone city – will be the European Capital of Culture for 2019. The Giro has already visited the city in 2013, when John Degenkolb won in a rainstorm. A Big Start would bring two to three stages with a likely finish in the region’s capital Potenza.

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 would cost less, and Matera is expected to pay around €2 million to host the 2019 Big Start.

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.

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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.