The Italian Grand Tour again goes against the grain of the Tour de France route planning

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The 2019 Giro d’Italia will feature seven summit finishes and three individual time trials in an almost entirely Italian route.

Kicking off with an ITT in Bologna for the Grande Partenza, the three-week race climax with a 15km solo test in Verona on the final day.

Two of the seven summits included in the 102nd Italian Grand Tour will be during individual time trials, including the opening 8km TT on day one.

The highest mountain featuring will be the Gavia Pass at 2,619metres above sea level, with the Mortirolo also included on the same day, stage 16

Giro d’Italia 2019 route: stage-by-stage

1 Sa 11-5 Bologna – San Luca  8.2km ITT
2 Su 12-5 Bologna – Fucecchio 200km
3 Mo 13-5 Vinci – Orbetello 219km
4 Tu 14-5 Orbetello – Frascati 228km
5 We 15-5 Frascati – Terracina 140km
6 Th 16-5 Cassino – San Giovanni Rotondo 233km
7 Fr 17-5 Vasto- L’Aquila 180km
8 Sa 18-5 Tortoreto Lido – Pesaro 235km
9 Su 19-5 Riccione – San Marino 34.7km ITT
Mon 20-5 Rest day
10 Tues 21-5 Ravenna – Modena 147km
11 We 22-5 Carpi – Novi Ligure 206km
12 Th 23-5 Cuneo – Pinerolo 146km
13 Fr 24-5 Pinerolo – Ceresole Real (Lago Serrù) 188km
14 Sa 25-5 Saint-Vincent – Courmayeur (Skyway Monte Bianco) 131km
15 Su 26-5 Ivrea – Como 237km
Mo 27-5 Rest day
16 Tu 28-5 Lovere – Ponte di Legno 226km
17 We 29-5 Commezzadura (Val di Sole) – Anterserlva / Antholz 180km
18 Th 30-5 Valdaora / Olang – Santa Maria di Sala 220km
19 Fr 31-5 Treviso – San Martino di Castrozza 151km
20 Sa 01-6 Feltre – Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena 193km
21 Su 02-6 Verona – Verona 15.6km ITT

Grande Partenza and first week

Stage one on Saturday, May 11 is a short but testing ITT, flat for the first six kilometres before the final 2km climb to the finish, which averages 9.7 per cent.

The hills continue on stage two, with a rolling profile through the Apennines from Bologna to Fucecchio over 200km.

The opening time trial course

Then on stage three comes the first opportunity for the sprinters – 219km from Vinci to Orbetello.

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A slightly uphill finish on stage four should make for unpredictable racing in Terracina, while stage five is a return to centre stage for the sprinters.

Stage six and seven are both days featuring tough hills, from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo in the former and the latter from Vasto to L’Aquila.

The stage nine time trial

Then stage eight is a testing 235km with rolling terrain in the final 60km.

On stage nine we see the second ITT, and the only occasion the Giro leaves Italy. The tricky course comes in two parts – undulating before an uphill run to the line over the 34.7km from Riccione to San Marino.

 

The second week

After the rest day on Monday, May 20, the racing resumes with a flat stage through the Po Valley, the area that suffered in the 2012 earthquake.

Stage 11 is another relentlessly flat stage over 206km, that ends near the home of the Campionissimo Fausto Coppi, where he lived with Giulia Occhini who tragically lost her life in a car crash in 1993 near the home.

In another nod to Coppi, stage 12 recognises his 1949 solo attack during a short but punchy stage with a double passage of the Principi di Acaia wall, which ramps up to 20 per cent and the Montoso – the first category one climb of the race.

A brutal day on stage 13

Stage 13 is a big climbing day, with three major tests on the road from Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale, finishing atop the Nivolet Pass with gradients of 15 per cent.

Then on Saturday, May 25, stage 14 is another huge day with five categorised climbs and 3,000metres of altitude gain over the relatively short 130km.

That stage finishes at Cormayeur, where Charly Gaul won a stage on his way to winning the overall in 1959.

Stage 15 is the longest day in the saddle, with 237km from Ivrea to Como, that features much of the classic finale of Il Lombardia – the final Monument of the season.

Racing fans may recognise Madonna del Ghisallo, Colma di Sormano, Civiglio and San Fermo from the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves.’

Final week

After the final rest day, racing returns on Tuesday, May 28 from Lovere to Ponte di Legno – a testing Alpine day that features 5,700metres of climbing.

Not for the faint-hearted, the stage will include the Presolana Pass, Croce di Salven Pass, the Gavia Pass – which is the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race – and the Mortirolo.

The Gavia and the Mortirolo feature on stage 16

This day could define the winner.

Stage 17 is another big day for the General Classification riders, with climbs along the route before a final run uphill to Anterselva’s Biathlon Stadium.

Next is a day for the sprinters, with 220km of all flat and descents to Santa Maria di Sala.

Stage 19 is a short 151km day with an easier summit finish – lower gradients could be favourable for a breakaway.

Then comes the final summit of the race – a Dolomites stage with more than 5,000metres of gain, including the Cima Camp, Manghen Pass, Rolle Pass and a final ascent of Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena.

And finally, the last time trial of the race.

A shorter 15km in length, the Verona TT features a climb early on that averages five per cent, followed by a 4km descent that could decide the winner.

The 2018 edition

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.

The race also made history for starting in Jerusalem – becoming the first Grand Tour to begin outside of Europe. The 2019 Giro d’Italia‘s Bologna start sees it return to more traditional ground.

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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 will cost less.

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.

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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  have decided against the finish.

“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.”