The 2020 Giro d’Italia (Saturday October 3 – Sunday October 25) route is still to be formally concluded 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 yet to officially unveil where the opening three stages will now take place, but it is believed the race could start on the island of Sicily.
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. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) will be making his three-week debut in the race, while reigning champion Richard Carapaz (Team Ineos) will return to defend his title.
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 originally featured three with an opening time trial in Budapest. While a replacement opening race against the clock has not yet been confirmed, there are still two further time trials in the route, with a long 33.7km time trial on stage 14 and 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.
|1||Sat Oct 3||???||???||???||???|
|2||Sun Oct 4||???||???||???||???|
|3||Mon Oct 5||???||???||???||???|
|4||Tues Oct 6||Monreale||Agrigento||136km||Hills|
|5||Weds Oct 7||Enna||Etna||150km||Mountains|
|6||Thurs Oct 8||Catania||Villafranca Tirrena||138km||Hills|
|7||Fri Oct 9||Mileto||Camigliatello Silano||223km||Hills|
|8||Sat Oct 10||Castrovillari||Brindisi||216km||Flat|
|9||Sun Oct 11||Giovinazzo||Vieste||190km||Hills|
|–||Mon Oct 12||Rest day|
|10||Tues Oct 13||San Salvo||Tortoreto Lido||212km||Hills|
|11||Weds Oct 14||Porto Sant’Elpidio||Rimini||181km||Flat|
|12||Thurs Oct 15||Cesenatico||Cesenatico||206km||Hills|
|13||Fri Oct 16||Cervia||Monselice||190km||Flat|
|14||Sat Oct 17||Conegliano||Valdobbiadene||33.7km||ITT|
|15||Sun Oct 18||Rivolto||Piancavallo||183km||Mountains|
|–||Mon Oct 19||Rest day|
|16||Tues Oct 20||Udine||Valdobbiadene||226km||Mountains|
|17||Weds Oct 21||Bassano del Grappa||Madonna di Campiglio||202km||Mountains|
|18||Thurs Oct 22||Pinzolo||Lago di Cancano||209km||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 route at a press conference on Thursday October 24.
The famous sports organiser associated with the pink newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has planned a start from Budapest, three stages in Sicily, and a stage to honour the Nove Colle Gran Fondo.
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. Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour champion, was talking about heading to Italy and letting Egan Bernal and Chris Froome represent Ineos in France, but instead he has confirmed he will return to the tour to give it “one more good go.”
As was rumoured, Mount Etna rears its head during the race, finishing off the parcours on stage five, 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.
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
Stage two, Sunday October 4
Stage three, Monday October 5
Stage four, Tuesday October 6, Monreale to Agrigento (136km)
There’s a few climbs on the way, but nothing that’s likely to split the peloton. However, the final 5km will see riders climb the Valley of the Temples, 4km of which averages at 5 per cent, with peaks in the double fingers in the closing metres.
Stage five, Wednesday October 7, 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 six, Thursday October 8, 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 seven, Friday October 9, Mileto to Camigliatello Silano (223km)
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 eight, Saturday October 10, Castrovillari to Brindisi (216km)
Not a lot of climbing today! The route starts downhill, and then flattens out. It’s hard to imagine anything but a bunch sprint.
Stage nine, Sunday October 11, Giovinazzo to Vieste (190km)
The opening 80km are flat as a pancake, then things take a hillier turn with the Monte Sant’Angelo climb. Following the descent, there’s a few undulations before riders hit a 13km circuit in Vieste.
Monday October 12 – rest day
Stage 10, Tuesday October 13, San Salvo 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 (181km)
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 (206km)
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 (190km)
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 (33.7km)
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 (183km)
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 Valdobbiadene (226km)
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 (202km)
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 (209km)
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. 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 (200km)
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)
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…