FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Cycling is focused on the world championships in Doha, but a Milan-based team is racing around Italy to plan the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Organizer RCS Sport needs to sort every detail before the route presentation in two weeks.
On the menu, from May 5 to 28, a mid-race wine country time trial Umbria, summit finishes to Terminillo, Oropa, and Piancavallo, and grand finale in Milan or Rome. RCS Sport must confirm every stage quickly with a Milan appointment around the corner.
The Tour de France presents its 2017 route in Paris on October 18. Its Italian counterpart does so in Milan, where this October 25 the weight is much heavier considering it will celebrate the 100th edition.
Its plan is to stay completely within the Bel Paese and perhaps visit each one of its 21 regions or the eight cities that hosted the first Giro in 1909: Naples, Chieti, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, Turin, and Milan.
The preliminary route sees the cyclists taking a island-hopping trip from south to the Alps in the north.
RCS Sport presented the big start in Sardinia a month ago. The race will start with three stages around the big island in the Mediterranean Sea. The rest is unknown, but is coming to the surface via local press as cycling director Mauro Vegni is calling various mayors, and race director Stefano Allocchio is scouting locations.
“I’m busy,” Allocchio told VeloNews. “I’ve been scouting various locations, and we also have the Abu Dhabi Tour to help with next week. We have some stages already certain, but the others we are changing since some are being reported in various media outlets.”
Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali, winner of all three grand tours including this year’s Giro, should be happy if he is to believe the media reports. From Cagliari, in Sardinia, the cyclists will likely fly Sunday evening after stage 3 to Sicily. The rest of the race caravan will take a 13-hour ferry transfer to Palermo or Messina in Sicily.
The Giornale di Sicilia reports that after the Monday rest day, stage 4 will travel from Cefalù to Mount Etna and stage five will go from Pedara to Messina, Nibali’s hometown.
From there, it’s a short three-mile jump over the Strait of Messina to Italy’s mainland. Il Quotidiano del Sud wrote that a 222-kilometer flat stage will travel through Calabria, Basilicata, and Puglia to reach Terme Luigiane in the country’s heel. Puglia’s Alberobello should host the stage 7 finish. The organizer could end the first week with a 16.1-kilometer summit finish up Monte Terminillo.
Wine lovers take note because the Giro will not time trial through Franciacorta, near Brescia. La Notizia Quotidiana, wrote that RCS Sport will promote the Umbria’s Sagrantino wine region with a time trial from Foligno to Montefalco. It follows time trials in the Barolo, Prosecco, and Chianti wine-producing zones over the last three years.
This time trial will be crucial for some cyclists, perhaps Tom Dumoulin (Giant – Alpecin) or Chris Froome (Sky), if they want to win the overall. Depending on the rumors, it may or may not be the only such time trial stage.
The Giro will pass through the Alps from west to east. After its 2014 visit, the Giro will again finish uphill at the Oropa Sanctuary. It will travel to Bergamo with a stage similar to Il Lombardia that Esteban Chaves (Orica – BikeExchange) won on October 1. In Bergamo, it will rest again for a third day. From there, north to Mortirolo and Bormio, perhaps all the way to the Stelvio Pass at 2,757 meters.
“Like always,” Allocchio added, “there will be good mix of the classic summit finishes and time trials.”
The race will pass through the famous blunt Dolomites in stages 18 and 19, with the latter a 15-kilometer summit finish to the Piancavallo ski resort that Marco Pantani dominated in 1998. The next day, Saturday, the race starts from Pordenone. It remains to be seen if will finish on the Pordoi Pass or a much tamer option, in Asiago to the south. That could depend on how RCS Sport decides to close the 100th Giro, in Milan at the Vigorelli Velodrome or with a trip south to the eternal city of Rome.