MILAN (AFP) — The 2019 Giro d’Italia will begin with an 8.2km time trial in Bologna, in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, organizer RCS confirmed on Monday.
“Emilia-Romagna has produced some of the greatest champions of the sport of cycling. It thoroughly deserves this recognition,” said Giro director Mauro Vegni.
Britain’s Chris Froome won the 2018 edition of the race, which started in Israel with a similarly short time trial.
The 102nd edition of the race for the pink jersey will start on May 11 and end on June 2. Although RCS teased the route with details of the four days in Emilia-Romagna — stages 1, 2, 9, and 10 — it won’t confirm the full route until November.
“In a marked difference to recent years, we decided with the Emilia-Romagna region not design three consecutive stages early in the race but to create three very different stages for each day of racing,” said Vegni. “The start in Bologna with a time trial to the San Luca Sanctuary will give an immediate shape to the race for the maglia rosa.”
The season’s first grand tour gets underway with a tough individual time trial concluding in an uphill finish in Bologna, which last hosted the opening stage 25 years ago.
Stage 2 heads south from Bologna, with the peloton revisiting the Emilia-Romagna region with starts or finishes in Riccione, Ravenna, Modena, and Carpi.
RCS confirmed that stage 9 will be a demanding 34.7km time trial from the coastal town of Riccione to San Marino, where the second half of the course is almost entirely uphill.
“The time trial stage from Riccione to San Marino is very hard and, as the ‘Wine Stage’ of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, will celebrate the Sangiovese wines,” Vegni added.
The Giro’s first rest day will be on May 20, the race resuming the following day with a flat stage 10 from Ravenna to Modena which will favor the sprinters.
Stage 11 will start from Carpi and, according to RCS Sport, “head towards the west.”