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Giro d'Italia

2022 Giro d’Italia to climb Mount Etna, Mortirolo, Passo Pordoi, and Marmolada

Organizer RCS continues to unveil route details, featuring four major mountain summit finishes, ahead of the full announcement Thursday.

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The 2022 Giro d’Italia will feature a summit finishes on Mount Etna and the Marmolada, and ascents of the Mortirolo and Passo Pordoi.

Perhaps in an attempt to beat any major leaks about the route, the race organizer RCS has been teasing details about the 2022 route since last week. After detailing much of the route already, it published the six high mountain stages that will define the GC contest Wednesday.

Also read: Giro d’Italia confirms 2022 ‘big start’ with three stages in Hungary

After only featuring twice before the 2011 edition, Mount Etna has become a popular spot for the Giro d’Italia in recent years. The Sicilian volcano will feature once again this year and is likely to be the first major mountain summit finish of the race.

There are four big summit finishes in total, including a finale on the Blockhaus, Cogne, and the Marmolada [Passo Fedaia] – which was pulled from last year’s race due to adverse weather and last featured in 2011.

The Blockhaus climb will be ascended twice during the 187km stage, which features almost 5,000m of climbing. The riders will first approach it from the Pretoro side to the Passo Lanciano before heading back down and tackling it from the tougher Roccamorice side. The stage is likely to close out the opening week of racing.

The stage to Blockhaus features 4,990m of climbing
The stage to Blockhaus features 4,990m of climbing (Photo: RCS Sport)

The Marmolada, on the Passo Fedaia, will host the final summit finish and last big mountain battle of the entire race. It has fewer altitude meters than the ride to the Blockhaus but it is more brutal in how they’re dished out with two of the stage’s three mountains going over 2,000 meters, including the Marmolada, while the other only just misses it.

Also read: Two climbs in Dolomites removed from ‘queen stage’ due to bad weather

The 167km stage also takes in the Passo San Pellegrino —1918m — and the Passo Pordoi, which is the highest point in the race at 2,239m. The Pordoi was also abandoned last year due to the difficult weather conditions.

The biggest overall vertical gains will be made during the so-called Sforazato wine stage, from Salo to Aprica. The mighty 200km day takes in the Goletto di Cadino, and the Mortirolo, and finishes off with an ascent of the Santa Cristina before descending into Aprica.

The ride to the Marmolada takes in the Passo Pordoi
The ride to the Marmolada takes in the Passo Pordoi (Photo: RCS Sport)

The big mountain stages are the final major piece of the puzzle before RCS reveals the full route Thursday. While the parcours has largely been revealed, RCS has not said precisely how the stages will be put together but text embedded in each profile published on the race’s website appears to indicate the route detail.

Aside from a time trial in the opening three days, any key time trials have yet to be announced.

The grande partenza and sprints

Six hilly stages for the 2022 corsa rosa, five potential sprint stages, and the three days that will make up the grande partenza in Hungary have already been unveiled over the last week. Hungary was supposed to host the start of the 2020 race, but it had to be axed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Next year’s Giro d’Italia will begin with a sprint stage from Budapest to Visegrád on May 6, but the sprinter who takes the maglia rosa on the opening day may not hold it for long with a 9.2k time trial with a slightly uphill finish on stage 2. The Giro will finish its time in Hungary with another sprint contest into Balatonfüred.

As is often the case with the Giro d’Italia, the sprint stages are rarely straightforward. Of the five revealed, just the 201k effort from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia is a pan-flat affair. It is classified as a one-star stage — in terms of its ease — along with the 146km lumpier ride from Borgo Valsugana to Treviso.

The grande partenza features a short time trial
The grande partenza features a short time trial (Photo: RCS Sport)

The other three sprint stages are ranked two-star, even the stage from Catania to Messina. The 172km route sends the riders over the Portella Mandrazzi, which peaks out at 1,125m. It comes before the halfway point in the stage, giving the sprinters an opportunity to clamber back into the bunch before reaching the finish line.

Completing the collection of sprint stages are a 192km ride from Palmi to Scalea, which crests a short and punchy climb near the airport in the opening quarter of the day, and a lumpier 157km stage that heads over the 936m high Colle di Nava midway through.

The hilly stages

Calling them hilly stages underplays a few of these stages and it would probably be better to dub some of them as medium mountain days.

While we all look forward to the big mountain duels for the GC, the hills and medium mountains of the Giro d’Italia can have just as big an impact. It is also the terrain that favors the breakaway specialists in search of a stage win.

The easiest of the so-called hilly stages is the two-star 149km ride around Napoli. Depending on where it features in the race, it could be a breakaway opportunity, but it doesn’t appear so unbearably rolling that it will exclude the hardy sprinters in the bunch. Meanwhile, the hilly finish to the 194km stage from Pescara to Jesi looks almost certainly destined to bring up a win for the escape artists.

The other four medium mountain stages could see a breakaway succeed up the road, but they also open the door for a GC raid if the conditions are right.

The finish at Santuario di Castelmonte could prove tricky
The finish at Santuario di Castelmonte could prove tricky (Photo: RCS Sport)

Marano Langunare to Santuario di Castelmonte, as the name of the finishing town indicates, features an uphill finale. It’s only 612 meters but it could see a GC rider or two losing some significant time, as we saw in some of the punchy finishes at this year’s race.

The 198km stage from Diamante to Potenza will be a much tougher day in the saddle than the original billing of “hilly” would suggest.

It’s a four-star day in the medium mountains and breaches 1,000m of altitude no fewer than three times. Making it even harder is the fact that it’s likely to open up the second week of racing, testing who has survived the rest day better than others.

The final ascent up the La Sellata before a lumpy descent to the finish could make for an interesting finale if the peloton is up for it.

This tricky stage to Potenza will open the second week of racing
This tricky stage to Potenza will open the second week of racing (Photo: RCS Sport)

Santena to Torino is another rolling ride across five classified climbs in 153km of racing. It’s much less dramatic than the ride to Potenza but will still be a tough day and another opportunity for the break.

Lastly is the 186km ride from Parma to Genova, which features three classified climbs and a fast descent from the final one to the line.

The 2022 Giro d’Italia is shaping up to be an intriguing route, and Thursday will see the organizers arrange the pieces of the puzzle and give us a clearer picture of the three weeks of racing.