Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia news, results, commentary, and photos from Italy’s grand tour.

Why the Giro still holds its charm

Long stages, high mountains, and unpredictable weather have become part of the Giro d'Italia's identity and throw riders challenges not faced at the Tour de France or Vuelta a Espana.

Stage reports will be available after the race begins.

Exhausted riders sit elbow-to-elbow in this Italian ski lodge, silently shoveling food into their mouths. Near the corner of the dining room, a group of men cheer and laugh as they raise their glasses in yet another celebratory toast.

It’s the Mitchelton-Scott team of Simon Yates. Just a few hours ago, the squad watched in horror as Yates’s lead in this Giro d’Italia was crushed on the slopes of the Colle delle Finestre under the pedals of Chris Froome and Team Sky. Rather than sulk, the team has instead changed its focus entirely: celebrate the achievement, rather than lick the wounds.

“We needed a drink after all that we went through,” says Mitchelton-Scott manager Matt White, recalling the scene. “Up to that point, we had had a great Giro, leading for two weeks and winning stages. It was just the sharp end of the Giro that bit us in the end.”

Yates lost 39 minutes, and Froome erased a 3:22 deficit to vault from fourth place into the lead. That kind of dramatic general classification upheaval doesn’t happen in most grand tours. Yet this is the Giro d’Italia, the grand tour that consistently delivers palpitating contender turmoil not seen anywhere else on the calendar. And, for 2019, there is ample opportunity for more chaos.

Every year the Giro serves up a new curveball to both fans and pro riders. Froome’s raid on the Finestre came one year after Tom Dumoulin nearly lost the Giro d’Italia when he abruptly dismounted his bicycle to defecate in a meadow at the base of the Umbrail Pass. In 2016, Giro leader Steven Kruijswijk saw his firm grasp on the maglia rosa ripped from his hands after he catapulted into a snowbank on the Colle dell’Agnello. Vincenzo Nibali attacked to win that year’s race on the final mountain stage, erasing a huge time deficit he had suffered in the opening week.

During the 2015 Giro’s sixth stage, a spectator leaned over a rail to get a photo and caused a crash; the pileup injured Alberto Contador, who spent the rest of the race recovering from the injuries. In 2014, snowfall on the Passo dello Stelvio caused confusion after some riders believed the race was neutralized — Nairo Quintana descended quickly and won the stage, and eventually the overall.

These calamities force teams and directors to shift their respective strategies on the fly. And these moments don’t always torpedo a rider or team’s chances — they simply change the equation.

“That’s the beauty of the Giro — something like that can happen, and you can still manage to win,” says Luke Roberts, Dumoulin’s team director at Sunweb. “We couldn’t preview that Stelvio stage because it was still under two meters of snow before the race. There’s always that element of surprise in the Giro that’s not the case in the Tour.”

Why can the Giro consistently deliver up such surprises? Every year, the course designers create a punishing route that is arguably more difficult than that of the Tour de France or Vuelta a España. Topography in Italy also points toward a more challenging race. The climbs in the Dolomites and even in the central Apennines are often longer, rougher, and steeper than in the French Alps or Pyrenees. The Giro organizers simply put more of these climbs into the route.

“When you look at the meters of climbing and the length of the climbs, the Giro is harder than the Tour de France,” White says. “Guys are on their knees in the final week.”

And while the Tour often includes several sprint stages in the final days of racing, the Giro organizers strategically make the final week the toughest seven-day block of racing in pro cycling. A typical Giro has at least three, if not four, major mountain stages along with a time trial squeezed into the final days of the event, usually in the snowbound mountains of northern Italy. It’s a recipe for spectacle, and nobody knows this better than the organizers.

“The Giro is like an opera,” says Giro director Mauro Vegni. “We want it to build to a climactic finale without knowing how it will end.”

In this year’s Giro, there are three stages with more than 5,000 meters of climbing, and two of them are in the final week.

That inherent difficulty means that the unexpected can happen. Froome’s Finestre raid was possible because the entire field was exhausted from three weeks of intense racing on punishing terrain. Such an attack may not have been possible in a more traditional Tour-like route. Even Nibali benefitted from exhausted legs during his 2016 foray. He vaulted into the lead during the two final “stage extremis” days, which packed a combined 8,000 meters of climbing across six major ascents.

Another factor that can lead to Giro surprises is Italy’s infamously unpredictable spring weather. Summer in France means there’s almost always warm weather during the Tour. When it comes to bad weather, the Italians just keep going, like they did over the Stelvio in 2014. Rigoberto Urán lost the leader’s jersey and the Giro that day when he stopped atop the Stelvio in a blizzard to put on a jacket. Quintana controversially kept racing under a red flag but ended up winning the overall.

“At the Giro, you can go from 30 degrees Celsius to snow in a matter of hours,” says retired pro Juan Manuel Garate, now a director with EF Education First. “You get these big fluctuations at the Giro that put different stresses on the body.”

The most important cause of the Giro’s unpredictability is found in the legs of the riders. By and large, every rider selected for the Tour de France arrives at the Grand Départ at peak fitness. That’s not the case at the Giro, where some riders are still building for goals later in the season. Younger pros often make their grand tour debut at the Giro, and some teams show up without any major GC goals at all.

Sickness can also decimate a team’s roster. White once finished the Giro with just one teammate left — the other seven riders abandoned due to sickness or crashes.

This has a huge impact on race dynamics. Some Giro stages are taken lightly, and some teams bring only sprinters and stage-hunters. That means the GC battle is often between just a few main contenders, which is eventually reduced to a final-weekend crescendo unseen at the Tour, where team strength is so much more decisive.

Look at last year’s Tour de France. Alejandro Valverde and Kruijswijk each went on daring, long-distance sorties in the Alps. Neither worked. Why? Because at the Tour, the teams are so deep and the pressure to control the race is so high that any hints of bravery are inexorably smothered.

“Hats off to Kruijswijk for trying, but that was like throwing a cat among the pigeons,” Roberts says. “Everyone is so strong at the Tour, it’s almost impossible to ride away from the bunch.”

Team Sky has dominated the Tour over the past decade, winning six of the past seven editions with three different riders, thanks in part to the powerful and balanced squad it brings each July. Sky, however, has never brought as strong a team to the Giro, even when Froome was racing to win. That’s why Froome was often on the ropes and exposed at the Giro in ways that he’s never been at the Tour.

“If you’re exposed, everything is amplified at the Giro,” White says. “At the Giro, no one has a team as strong as Sky is at the Tour to control the race. On those big climbs at the end of a hard Giro, the gaps are big, and you can come from behind like you’ve seen guys do.”

Last year, back at the team hotel in the aftermath of his Finestre collapse, Yates was tucked into bed when the rest of the staffers were drowning their collective sorrows. Being on the bludgeoned end of the Froome beating has only motivated Yates to even the score. In what might have permanently marred a weaker rider, Yates appears to have survived with a strengthened resolve.

But the Englishman isn’t expecting the Giro to be as wide open this year as it has been recently. Somewhat paradoxically, this year’s Giro is so hard and has such a deep GC field that those wild dynamics and intriguing subplots might be snuffed out.

The reason? There are too many would-be winners lining up, even compared to the relatively deep field in 2018.

“The Giro could be different this year,” Yates says. “There are just as many guys trying to win the Giro this year as are usually at the Tour. That could mean more control. I hope it’s not. I like to attack.”

Giro organizers have delivered a Tour-like course, loaded with two time trials and relatively few climbs in the first half of the race. In fact, Dumoulin bucked pressure to target the Tour this summer because the Giro was ideally suited to his style of racing. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Dumoulin take an early pink jersey lead, and then try to ride defensively all the way to the final-day time trial in Verona.

“The TT is a race-killer at the Tour, and this year’s Giro has some belters,” White says. “The TTs at the Giro are usually a bit different, with more climbing, and they don’t snuff out the race like they do at the Tour.”

On top of that, this year’s Giro GC field is perhaps its deepest in years. Not only are the Italian favorites like Nibali and Fabio Aru (UAE-Emirates) back, but former winner Dumoulin will face off against the likes of Yates, Miguel Ángel López (Astana), Mikel Landa, Richard Carapaz, and Alejandro Valverde (all from Movistar), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), and Sky’s prodigy Egan Bernal, who is making his GC-leadership debut. That means there will be more teams racing for the overall win, and riding to control the race as they do in the Tour de France.

It could be a very different Giro than last year, or those factors might mean the climbers will need to attack all the more often. The good thing about the Giro is that it is always predictably unpredictable. Expect nothing less in 2019.

Yates’s director, White, certainly hopes he will be drinking again at the conclusion of this year’s Giro, but for dramatically different reasons.

“Win or lose, the Giro is good fun,” White says. “It’s real bike racing.”

Stage Date Location Distance
1 05/11/2019 Bologna to Bologna 8.2km
2 05/12/2019 Bologna to Fucecchio 200km
3 05/13/2019 Vinci to Orbetello 219km
4 05/14/2019 Orbetello to Frascati 228km
5 05/15/2019 Frascati to Terracina 140km
6 05/16/2019 Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo 233km
7 05/17/2019 Vasto to L'Aquila 180km
8 05/18/2019 Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro 235km
9 05/19/2019 Riccione to San Marino 34.7km
10 05/21/2019 Ravenna to Modena 147km
11 05/22/2019 Carpi to Novi Ligure 206km
12 05/22/2019 Cuneo to Pinerolo 146km
13 05/24/2019 Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale 188km
14 05/25/2019 Saint-Vincent to Courmayeur 131km
15 05/26/2019 Ivrea to Como 237km
16 04/28/2019 Lovere to Ponte di Legno 226km
17 05/29/2019 Commezzadura to Anterselva/Antholz 180km
18 05/30/2019 Valdaora/Olang to Santa Maria di Sala 220km
19 05/31/2019 Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza 151km
20 06/01/2019 Feltre to Croce d'Aune-Monte Avena 193km
21 06/02/2019 Verona to Verona 15.6km
1CARAPAZ RichardMovistar Team 90:01:47
2NIBALI VincenzoBahrain Merida1:05
3ROGLIČ PrimožTeam Jumbo-Visma2:30
4LANDA MikelMovistar Team2:38
5MOLLEMA BaukeTrek - Segafredo5:43
6MAJKA RafałBORA - hansgrohe6:56
7LÓPEZ Miguel ÁngelAstana Pro Team7:26
8YATES SimonMitchelton-Scott7:49
9SIVAKOV PavelTeam INEOS8:56
10ZAKARIN IlnurTeam Katusha Alpecin12:14
11CARTHY HughEF Education First16:36
12DOMBROWSKI JoeEF Education First20:12
13MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ21:59
14POLANC JanUAE-Team Emirates22:38
15FORMOLO DavideBORA - hansgrohe22:38
16CICCONE GiulioTrek - Segafredo27:19
17NIEVE MikelMitchelton-Scott27:46
18KANGERT TanelEF Education First30:11
19POZZOVIVO DomenicoBahrain Merida33:40
20MASNADA FaustoAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec34:52
21DE LA PARTE VíctorCCC Team39:51
22DUNBAR EddieTeam INEOS42:26
23CARUSO DamianoBahrain Merida49:06
24HENAO SebastiánTeam INEOS58:45
25HAMILTON LucasMitchelton-Scott1:04:31
26ZEITS AndreyAstana Pro Team1:05:28
27HIRT JanAstana Pro Team1:05:38
28CATTANEO MattiaAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec1:09:11
29VUILLERMOZ AlexisAG2R La Mondiale1:12:04
30BIDARD FrançoisAG2R La Mondiale1:16:55
31BILBAO PelloAstana Pro Team1:17:41
32O'CONNOR BenTeam Dimension Data1:17:49
33JUNGELS BobDeceuninck - Quick Step1:22:57
34HAMILTON ChrisTeam Sunweb1:24:02
35HINDLEY JaiTeam Sunweb1:28:09
36IZAGIRRE IonAstana Pro Team1:28:25
37CAPECCHI ErosDeceuninck - Quick Step1:32:21
38SERRY PieterDeceuninck - Quick Step1:32:54
39AMADOR AndreyMovistar Team1:33:00
40CHAVES EstebanMitchelton-Scott1:33:12
41BOUWMAN KoenTeam Jumbo-Visma1:36:40
42ULISSI DiegoUAE-Team Emirates1:38:34
43BAKELANTS JanTeam Sunweb1:49:34
44SOSA Iván RamiroTeam INEOS1:54:16
45GHEBREIGZABHIER AmanuelTeam Dimension Data1:54:33
46PEDRERO AntonioMovistar Team1:56:03
47DUPONT HubertAG2R La Mondiale1:56:44
48CATALDO DarioAstana Pro Team1:57:41
49BRAMBILLA GianlucaTrek - Segafredo1:59:02
50ROJAS José JoaquínMovistar Team2:03:31
51DE GENDT ThomasLotto Soudal2:06:26
52WARBASSE LarryAG2R La Mondiale2:07:02
53MONTAGUTI MatteoAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec2:07:24
54ANTUNES AmaroCCC Team2:09:51
55VENDRAME AndreaAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec2:12:22
56KUSS SeppTeam Jumbo-Visma2:15:24
57CARBONI GiovanniBardiani - CSF2:18:35
58GAVAZZI FrancescoAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec2:20:33
59SENNI ManuelBardiani - CSF2:20:43
60VILLELLA DavideAstana Pro Team2:27:26
61PETERS NansAG2R La Mondiale2:31:42
62MCCARTHY JayBORA - hansgrohe2:40:04
63CONCI NicolaTrek - Segafredo2:41:00
64VAN DER SANDE ToshLotto Soudal2:41:58
65TOLHOEK AntwanTeam Jumbo-Visma2:43:16
66BATTAGLIN EnricoTeam Katusha Alpecin2:44:14
67BROWN NathanEF Education First2:44:52
68HANSEN AdamLotto Soudal2:46:43
69GASPAROTTO EnricoTeam Dimension Data2:50:28
70JUUL-JENSEN ChristopherMitchelton-Scott2:50:33
71PLAZA RubénIsrael Cycling Academy2:55:14
72FLÓREZ Miguel EduardoAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec2:57:12
73OWSIAN ŁukaszCCC Team3:00:02
74BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe3:03:12
75MARTENS PaulTeam Jumbo-Visma3:03:30
76NIBALI AntonioBahrain Merida3:04:26
77SBARAGLI KristianIsrael Cycling Academy3:06:36
78DURBRIDGE LukeMitchelton-Scott3:09:24
79GASTAUER BenAG2R La Mondiale3:09:32
80NARVÁEZ JhonatanTeam INEOS3:10:04
81FRAPPORTI MarcoAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec3:14:04
82LUDVIGSSON TobiasGroupama - FDJ3:15:57
83WYSS DaniloTeam Dimension Data3:18:24
84COVILI LucaBardiani - CSF3:20:58
85ROTA LorenzoBardiani - CSF3:25:08
86PUCCIO SalvatoreTeam INEOS3:25:43
87VENTOSO Francisco JoséCCC Team3:28:10
88CARRETERO HéctorMovistar Team3:33:45
89POLJAŃSKI PawełBORA - hansgrohe3:35:14
90BOARO ManueleAstana Pro Team3:35:32
91GIBBONS RyanTeam Dimension Data3:39:32
92SABATINI FabioDeceuninck - Quick Step3:43:50
93AGNOLI ValerioBahrain Merida3:52:52
94HOLLENSTEIN RetoTeam Katusha Alpecin3:53:05
95BAUER JackMitchelton-Scott3:53:06
96KNEES ChristianTeam INEOS3:54:54
97GOGL MichaelTrek - Segafredo3:58:26
98GAROSIO AndreaBahrain Merida4:00:28
99MARCATO MarcoUAE-Team Emirates4:06:17
100NEILANDS KristsIsrael Cycling Academy4:06:28
101HONORÉ Mikkel FrølichDeceuninck - Quick Step4:07:49
102SANTAROMITA IvanNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè4:08:19
103MAESTRI MircoBardiani - CSF4:11:52
104VAN EMDEN JosTeam Jumbo-Visma4:13:34
105HAGA ChadTeam Sunweb4:13:46
106BENNETT SeanEF Education First4:17:00
107CANOLA MarcoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè4:18:19
108CAICEDO Jonathan KleverEF Education First4:18:35
109BELLETTI ManuelAndroni Giocattoli - Sidermec4:20:44
110BOLE GregaBahrain Merida4:22:27
111CAMPENAERTS VictorLotto Soudal4:25:03
112LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ4:27:17
113NIV GuyIsrael Cycling Academy4:29:11
114SCHWARZMANN MichaelBORA - hansgrohe4:29:32
115ČERNÝ JosefCCC Team4:31:48
116HALLER MarcoTeam Katusha Alpecin4:31:59
117BIERMANS JentheTeam Katusha Alpecin4:35:35
118DAVIES ScottTeam Dimension Data4:44:40
119LEEZER TomTeam Jumbo-Visma4:51:26
120SÜTTERLIN JashaMovistar Team4:53:09
121STRAKHOV DmitryTeam Katusha Alpecin4:56:00
122ACKERMANN PascalBORA - hansgrohe4:56:45
123DÉMARE ArnaudGroupama - FDJ4:56:59
124DENZ NicoAG2R La Mondiale4:58:12
125BOIVIN GuillaumeIsrael Cycling Academy4:58:58
126MAS LluísMovistar Team5:00:44
127SELIG RüdigerBORA - hansgrohe5:02:30
128GEBREMEDHIN AwetIsrael Cycling Academy5:06:26
129GRADEK KamilCCC Team5:07:15
130CIMOLAI DavideIsrael Cycling Academy5:08:52
131CONSONNI SimoneUAE-Team Emirates5:09:31
132GUARNIERI JacopoGroupama - FDJ5:16:07
133SINKELDAM RamonGroupama - FDJ5:21:10
134LOBATO Juan JoséNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè5:26:51
135DUNNE ConorIsrael Cycling Academy5:26:52
136IRIZAR MarkelTrek - Segafredo5:28:23
137CIMA DamianoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè5:29:19
138SCOTSON MilesGroupama - FDJ5:33:49
139BOHLI TomUAE-Team Emirates5:34:50
140SIMION PaoloBardiani - CSF5:35:22
141CLARKE WillTrek - Segafredo6:00:17
142HATSUYAMA ShoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè6:05:56

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

Results will be published once race is underway.