News leaks suggest the Italian grand tour will focus on showcasing the country's high mountain passes in the north.
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — The 2019 Giro d’Italia, the route that will be presented at the end of this month, will start in Bologna and is due to mix new climbs with iconic ones and plenty of time trialing before ending in Verona.
Organizer RCS Sport keeps the details secret at its Milan headquarters, but local press in contact with city officials have leaked much of the 2019 route early. Chris Froome (Sky), the 2018 winner, or even 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) should smile with the amount of climbing and time trial miles RCS Sport should include.
Over a week ago, RCS Sport announced Bologna and Emilia Romagna would play a key role in the 2019 edition. Bologna will see off the first stage, a short uphill time trial to the San Luca Sanctuary that hosts the final of the Giro dell’Emilia one-day race.
The region also hosts the start of stage 9, a 34.7km time trial into the Republic of San Marino that celebrates the Sangiovese vineyards nearby. Modena — the home of Ferrari — hosts a flat stage finish the following day on stage 10.
Several local newspapers named Verona’s arena as the host of 2019 editions’s gran finale. It’s likely the home of Romeo and Juliet will host the third time trial of the race, around 15km over the Circuito delle Torricelle to the Arena’s front door.
The tifosi will scan the route quickly when RCS Sport releases it in search of the high mountain peaks. Those are in the north, and this is a Giro that will celebrate the famous boot’s upper section.
The race starts in Bologna and ends nearby in Verona and goes no further south than Naples, according to reports. That leaves more time to explore the mountain passes that the Giro is known for.
In the second week, a classic stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo in Piedmont is planned. It could include around 5,000 meters of climbing. On a similar stage in 1949, Italian hero Fausto Coppi rode clear to a stage victory and gained enough time for the overall. The following day, 100 years after his birth, the Giro should finish outside the Coppi museum in Novi Ligure — the Museo dei Campionissimi.
On the third weekend, the Giro could again climb over 4,000 meters to Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley. The 14th stage would climb the Colle San Carlo beforehand and finish in front of the Courmayeur Skyway. That Sunday, it would celebrate its Il Lombardia monument with a stage to Como that takes in many of the one-day classic’s climbs — not high-altitude, but demanding ones that could trap several contenders.
The final week’s run to Verona includes a classic over the Mortirolo and Gavia pass, where American Andy Hampsten defended an eventual Giro victory in 1988. A short and punchy mountain stage of around 100km is also on the books. Fans and organizers have grown fond of those types of stages in recent years.
And the final punch? Leaked this week, it appears the organizer planned a stage over the Cima Campo, Manghen, and Rolle passes ahead of the beautiful Croce d’Aune climb. On this climb in 1927, Tullio Campagnolo realized the need to change gears easily and began planning designs for the eventual rear derailleur that would revolutionize cycling.
This Dolomite stage would be stage 20 and, according to a report in Tutto Bici, could use the gravel roads at the top to host the final pink jersey fight. Such an inclusion would be applauded a year after Froome’s solo ride over the gravel Finestre climb.