At 203 kilometres, stage 1 leads from Alghero to Olbia and, despite three KOM-climbs, chanches are it will be a sprinter who powers to the first maglia rosa in the 2017 Giro d’Italia. The 2nd stage travels through Sardinia’s interior, so a number of climbs are on the agenda, yet the last one, Genna Silana, is crested with still 50 kilometres to go.
Sunday, 7 May, brings the last leg on Sardinian soil. At 149 kilometres, stage 3 is played out on the beautiful coastal roads leading to Cagliari. Once again, this one should be for the fast men.
Following the rest day on Monday, the Giro swings by Italy’s other big island, Sicily. Stage 4 leaves from Cefalù to finish at an altitude of 1,892 metres on the slopes of Monte Elba. Vincenzo Nibali, aka the Shark of Messina, must be pleased as stage 5 leads to his birthplace Messina. Yet a stage win seems unlikely as the last 50 kilometres are flat.
After crossing the five-kilometre Straight of Messina by boat, stage 6 heads across Calabria for a finish in Terme Luigiane. Stage 7 takes the riders to ‘truli capital’ Alberobello before stage 8 is set to finish with a challenging finale in Peschici. By now we are entering the Abruzzo mountains for a finish atop Passo Lanciano at the end of stage 9. The climb, also known as the Blockhaus, is long and grueling. Back in 1967, Eddy Merckx took his first stage win in a Grand Tour at the Blockhaus summit.
The second rest day is in Foligno before stage 10 is a hilly ITT of almost 40 kilometres leading to an uphill arrival (4.5 kilometres at 3%) in Montefalco. Stage 11 takes in four climbs before a downhill finish in Bagno di Romagna, while the 12th stage offers a perfect scenario for a bunch sprint Reggio Emilia.
The remembrance of Fausto Coppi is felt during the next two stages. Stage 13 travels on the flattest route one can think of Tortona, where Il Campionissimo died prematurely at the age of 40. He was born in Castellania, and it’s here the 14th stage leaves for a summit finish near Santuario di Oropa after an irregular 11.8 kilometres climb with steepest sectors of up to 13%.
Before their third day off, the riders face stage 15 to Bergamo. The finale is an exact copy of the 2016 Tour of Lombardia, which was marked by a short and steep climb into the old town and a drop to the finish line. Il Lombardia was won by Esteban Chaves.
Leaving from Rovetta, stage 16 is the Queen Stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Snow permitting, the riders climb the Mortirolo early on before a double ascent of the Passo dello Stelvio wickedly invites them. First they tackle the 2,757 metres monster from the Bormio-side before descending via the famous 48 hairpins on the Trafoi-side. The second ascent is via Switzerland and the Umbrailpass before plunging down to Bormio. This brutal exercise totals 227 kilometres.
In stage 17 the route travels over Aprica and the Passo del Tonale, while the finish lies in Canazei after a long and steady climb. Stage 18 takes in the Pordoi, Valparolo, Gardena and the Passo di Pinei for an uphill finish in Ortisei, while the Piancavallo ski resort hosts the finish of stage 19. Muro di ca’del Poggio, Monte Grappa and Foza are climbed in stage 20, leading to Asiago. The last 15 kilometres are on rolling to slightly descending roads.
Stage 21 is a flat 28 kilometres ITT from Monza to Milan.
Giro d’Italia 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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