Tour, Giro presentations promise surprises for 2020

The 2019 racing season is just winding down, but details of next year's grand tours will be revealed last this month with surprises galore.

The 2019 road season is winding down, but the first peek of what’s in store in next year’s grand tour racing season is just around the corner.

Two of the season’s three grand tours — the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia — will hold their respective course presentations this month. The Tour’s is set for October 15 in Paris, followed by the Giro’s on October 24 in Milan.

The opening stages for both races have already been revealed. The 107th Tour will kick off a week early to make space on the calendar for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which opens with road racing on the opening weekend. The “Grand Départ” is confirmed for Nice on June 27.

With the Tour hitting the Cote d’Azur for the first time since starting in Monaco in 2009, the route is expected to drive west toward the Pyrénées before looping back toward the Alps. A final transfer will carry everyone to Paris for its traditional finale on the Champs-Élysées on July 19.

The 103rd Giro, meanwhile, will field its “Big Start” in Budapest on May 9 with a 9.5km individual time trial. The Italian grand tour includes two more stages in Hungary before transferring back to Italy, expected to be Sicily. That means the Giro will not be using an extra rest day as it makes its historic start in Hungary.

More details of the Italian route remain sketchy, but it’s already been confirmed there will be a stage at the Rivolto Air Base in Udine in northeast Italy to honor the 60th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori, a type of Italian “Blue Angels.” Other rumors suggest a return to the Zoncolan and the Gavia, which was rerouted this year due to snow. It remains to be seen as if the Giro will incorporate some sort of “virtual” stage to kick-start the race.

The Tour is sticking to recent tradition of starting with a road stage — not a prologue — to determine the first winner and yellow jersey. The Giro is also following its playbook of late, opening with an individual time trial.