Giro d'Italia
Photo: Tim De Waele

Early hints of old-school Giro route with brutal final week

Epic four-climb stage in the Alps rumored along with possible return to Monte Zoncolan and first-ever finish on unpaved gravel road.

Just a week after the Tour de France has fully incorporated all of modern cycling’s latest trends in its 2020 route, the Giro d’Italia looks to be taking a page from the past.

Rumors are flying ahead of Thursday’s official unveiling that next year’s “corsa rosa” will be putting a heavy emphasis on distance and endurance.

At the center of speculation is an old-school “tappone” set for the final week over the Alps straddling the Italian-French border.

According to local media reports, Giro organizers could be offering up an epic, four-climb stage featuring more than 5,000 vertical meters of climbing at more than 220km of racing, more than enough to satisfy the purest of traditionalists.

Reports suggest the race, likely on the final mountain stage across the Alps, could return to climb the Colle dell’Agnello at 2744m, making it the “Cima Coppi” as the highest point of the 2020 route. A possible stage route includes climbing over the Col d’Izoard and the Colle del Monginevre in France before tackling the summit to Sestriere. The report quoted a local mayor confirming that the route is poised to be included in the 2020 Giro.

Other rumors hint at a first-ever finish at the Colle Fraiteve, an unpaved gravel road leading even higher up to the ridgeline above Sestriere.

That stage is expected to be part of a demanding final week that will include several hard stages across northern Italy, including a possible return to Monte Zoncolan. Rumors hint at a longish individual time trial in the Fruili wine country before the Giro route winds east-to-west across the mountains of northern Italy for its rendezvous in the Alps.

What’s known is that the Giro will start in Hungary, with Budapest hosting an opening individual time trial to open the 2020 grand tour racing season.

Hungary will host three stages before an overnight transfer, expected to be to Sicily without an additional rest day. Reports hint at a stage ending atop Mont Etna with three to four stages on Sicily, before a string of transition stages along Italy’s Adriatic coast heading north toward the final week.

It will be interesting to see if the Giro unveils a type of “virtual” stage ahead of the official start to be incorporated into the 2020 route. Sources told VeloNews earlier this year that organizers were studying the possibility to include an exhibition-style online race to award the first pink jersey.