Giro d’Italia 2020 route: Revised route for the 103rd edition features Sicily start and three time trials

The Italian Grand Tour's route had to be revised in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

The 2020 Giro d’Italia (Saturday October 3 – Sunday October 25) route will begin on the island of Sicily after postponement of the original race in May. The race was moved following lockdowns across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Giro was originally planned to begin with three stages in Hungary before moving back to Italy for the remaining 18 stages. Giro organiser RCS has officially confirmed the opening four stages will now take place on Sicily, before moving to the mainland and eventually concluding in Milan later in October.

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Stages five and six, the first on Italy’s mainland, have now been confirmed after initially remaining a mystery during the re-design.

Despite being shifted to October, this year’s edition should still feature a fascinating mix of riders, with some unexpected starters to race in Italy.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has announced he will ride the Giro for the first time and forgo the Classics, as he looks to complete the set of Grand Tour victories.

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) will lead the British challenge for the overall after both showing good form at Tirreno-Adriatico with Yates pipping Thomas to victory.

Vincenzo Nibali, now in Trek-Segafredo colours, is also expected to ride his home race, after another glowing performance last season.

For any fans of a time trial, there will be plenty of testers there to take a prestigious victory against the clock. The route begins with a 16km time trial from Monreale to Palermo, before a long 33.7km time trial on stage 14 and a 16.5km individual effort to conclude the race in Milan.

The GC contenders are likely to keep their cards close to their chest until the final week – stages 17, 18 and 20 all contain over 5,000 metres of climbing, with ascents including the Stelvio (from the hardest side), and the Col d’Izoard.

Combined with the 16.5km time trial the following day, organisers RCS clearly intend to keep the battle for the maglia rosa raging right up until the final moments of the 103rd edition of the race.

Stage Date Start Finish Distance Terrain
1  Sat Oct 3 Monreale Palermo 15km ITT
2  Sun Oct 4 Alcimo Agrigento 150km Hills
3  Mon Oct 5 Enna Etna 150km Mountains
4 Tues Oct 6 Catania Villafranca 138km Flat
5 Weds Oct 7 Mileto Camigliatello Silano 225km Hills
6 Thurs Oct 8 Castrovillari Matera 18km Hills
 7 Fri Oct 9 Matera Brindisi 143km Hills
8 Sat Oct 10 Giovinazzo Vieste (Gargano) 200km Flat
9 Sun Oct 11 San Salvo Roccaraso (Aremogna) 208km Hills
Mon Oct 12 Rest day
10 Tues Oct 13 Lanciano Tortoreto 177km Hills
11 Weds Oct 14 Porto Sant’Elpidio Rimini 182km Flat
12 Thurs Oct 15 Cesenatico Cesenatico 204km Hills
13 Fri Oct 16 Cervia Monselice 192km Flat
14 Sat Oct 17 Conegliano Valdobbiadene 33.7km ITT
 15 Sun Oct 18 Rivolto Piancavallo 185km Mountains
Mon Oct 19 Rest day
16 Tues Oct 20 Udine Valdobbiadene 229km Mountains
17 Weds Oct 21 Bassano del Grappa Madonna di Campiglio 203km Mountains
18 Thurs Oct 22 Pinzolo Laghi di Cancano 207km Mountains
19 Fri Oct 23 Morbegno Asti 251km Flat
21 Sat Oct 24 Alba Sestriere 200km Mountains
21 Sun Oct 25 Cernusco di Naviglio Milan 16.5km ITT

RCS Sport unveiled the full details of the initial route at a press conference on Thursday October 24.

The famous sports organiser associated with the pink newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport had planned a start from Budapest, three stages in Sicily, and a stage to honour the Nove Colle Gran Fondo.

>>> Tour de France 2020 route revealed 

The heavy focus on time trials will be a welcome marker for many, but there are a number of big stars who will not be tempted by the prospect. With races packed so close together in the revised race calendar, many of the big name stars will head to the Tour de France in August/September, potentially following that up with the Vuelta a España in October/November.


As was rumoured, Mount Etna rears its head during the race, finishing off the parcours on stage three, 150km after the start in Enna.

The famous hills of Emilia Romagna that host the Nove Colli Gran Fondo every year will welcome the Giro on stage 12, with riders starting and finishing in Cesenatico.

The hilly stage will cover 206km and over 3,800 metres of climbing, in celebration of the Nove Colli which celebrates 50 years as one of cycling’s biggest sportives.

This is also the region that will have hosted the World Championships the week before the Giro starts.

The climbing continues with stages 17, 18 and 20 which together add up to in excess of 15,000 metres of climbing and will be sure to test even the strongest of GC contenders.

It’s not about the mountains though, stage 19 from Morbegno to Asti may be flat but could prove a test of endurance, at an eye watering 251km.

The penultimate stage, from Alba to Sestriere promises fireworks and over 5,000 metres of climbing ahead of the Milan time trial – which could still prove to be the decider.

Giro d’Italia 2020 route

Stage one, Saturday October 3, Monreale to Palermo (16km, ITT)

A unique time trial starts the race in Sicily, with a short sharp ramp before a ski slope finish down to the line. With it’s 15km length this is a short TT and we can expect same rapid speeds from the specialists. The courses finishes with some sharp 90-degree turns and a tight 180-degree corner in the final kilometres, so expect those with bike-handling skill on the time trial bike to get the victory.

Stage two, Sunday October 4, Alcimo to Agrigento (150km)

An exciting-looking profile for the first road stage of the race as the peloton head from Alcamo to Agrigent, with a Classics-style day scattered with punchy climbs. The short sharp rise to the finish is likely to be the decisive moment though as riders may not be eager to burn too many matches on only day two.

Stage three, Monday October 5, Enna to Etna (150km)

The first summit finish of the race will not disappoint! Beginning in Enna, the route travels through inland Sicily. Here the riders get a glimpse of the volcano, but first they’ll climb 18km at 7 per cent from Linguaglossa to Piano Provenzana. Then, it’s up Etna…

Stage four, Tuesday October 6, Catania to Villafranca Tirrena (138km)

 

There’s one key climb in Portella Mandrazzi, slap bang in the middle of the stage, then the peloton heads from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian coast for a flat and fast 40km. This looks like a day for the sprinters.

Stage five, Wednesday October 7, Mileto to Camigliatello Silano (225km)

An undulating profile which visits Vibo Valentia, Catanzaro and Cosenza, taking in three categorised climbs along the way. The final ascent  – Valico di Montescuro – is 25km long and gains 1,500m in altitude, before a 10km downhill to the finish.

Stage six, Thursday October 8, Castrovillari to Matera (188km)

Another unpredictable day that could be suited to the breakaway riders. A few climbs in the opening kilometres of the stage might just give a break the chance to escape while the final rises are a prime launch pad for the stage honours.

Stage seven,  Friday October 9, Matera to Brindisi (143km)

A flat day definitely suited to the sprinters with a downhill profile on day seven. Riders will be starting to tire after an intense opening week so this may be a fairly tame day until the close, which looks like a high-speed dash for the line.

Stage eight, Saturday October 10, Giovinazzo to Vieste (200km)

A stage of two halves – pan plat in the opening 90km before a surprise category two climb that rises out of nowhere. The second half of the stage is full of short, sharp leg-sapping climbs that will really suit the puncheurs. Some sprinters may survive the day to fight for the finish, but it looks like a tall ask if the lighter riders want to force the pace.

Stage nine, Sunday October 11, San Salvo to Roccaraso (208km)

A big climbing dat on stage nine with four categorised climbs. This is going to cause some serious time gaps heading into the first rest day, but the strongest GC riders may not make their move yet.

Monday October 12 – rest day 

Stage 10, Tuesday October 13, Lanciano to Tortoreto Lido (212km)

There’s no major climbs today, but there are some short and steep ramps. The route starts with a ride along the coast before heading inland. At Tortoreto, the peloton hits a 50km circuit featuring punchy 20 per cent “wall” style ascents.

Stage 11, Wednesday October 14, Porto Sant’Elpidio to Rimini (182km)

A mostly flat stage, kicking off in Porto Sant’Elpidio and leading riders along the coast. The road becomes a little more undulating in the last km’s to Rimini, but this is still expected to be one for the fast men.

Stage 12, Thursday October 15, Cesenatico to Cesenatico (204km)

The parcours today celebrates the Nove Colli Gran Fondo. After leaving Cesenatico, riders reach the Apennines, covering nine of the key climbs on the sportive, with KOM points at each. The last 30km sees riders sail over the plains back to the seafront of Cesenatico.

Stage 13, Friday October 16, Cervia to Monselice (192km)

Another flat stage, with two very clear challenges at the end – the 4km Passo Roverello, then the 2km Muro di Calaone, which promises slopes of 20 per cent. The finish in Este is wide and flat.

Stage 14, Saturday October 17, Conegliano t0 Valdobbiadene (34.1km ITT)

The second time trial of the race stays within the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Prosecco Superiore. The route is far from flat, and includes the Muro di Ca’ del Poggio with sections at 19 per cent.

Stage 15, Sunday October 18, Rivolto to Piancavallo (185km)

The first 40km are fairly flat, but riders best not be lulled into a false sense of security – this is a mountain stage with a series of climbs. The final ascent of Piancavallo provides its steepest slopes in the first 6km, levelling out later but continuing to point upwards until the very end.

Monday October 19 – rest day 

Stage 16, Tuesday October 20, Udine to San Daniele del Fruili (229km)

The first two thirds of the stage takes place across the Julian Prealps, before entering the valley of the Tagliamento river.

Riders climb the Madonnina del Domm, head up the northern slope of the Castelmonte Abbey hill (Monte Spig), pass through Monteaperta before meeting San Daniele. Here, there’s two laps of a technical circuit, with punchy 15 per cent climbs to the castle of Susans and Monte Ragogna.

Stage 17, Wednesday October 21, Bassano del Grappa to Madonna di Campiglio (203km)

This is a big day! There’s over 5,000 metres of ascent, with major climbs: the Forcella Valbona, Monte Bondone, Aldeno, Passo Durone and the Madonna di Campiglio.

Stage 18, Thursday October 22, Pinzolo to Lago di Cancano (207km)

If riders thought that stage 17 was hard, it’s far from over yet. Stage 18 boasts 5,400 metres of ascent, taking in the Passo Campo Carlo Magno, and Passo Castrin/Hofmandjoch, then entering the Vinschgau Valley to tackle the Slevio from its hardest side, this will be the Cima Coppi climb too, the highest point of the race. Immediately after the descent, the route heads up to the Laghi di Cancano via its 21 hairpins.

Stage 19, Friday October 23, Morbegno to Asti (251km)

The peloton will have a lot of climbing in its collective legs, and it’s not over yet – but at least today things are flat. No rest for the wicked, though, with 251km from Morbegno to Asti.

Stage 20, Saturday October 24, Alba to Sestriere (198km)

Another beast of a day, with 5,000 metres of ascent once again and a brief detour into France. Climbs include the Colle dell’Agnello, Col d’Izoard and Monginevro, before the final decider up to Sestriere.

Stage 21, Sunday October 25, Cernusco di Naviglio to Milan (16.5km ITT)

If the gaps in the GC are small, then this could be the decider – a slightly downhill time trial into Milan should be rapid for everyone, but there can only be one winner…