Italy’s Grand Tour begins with a time trial of 9.7 kilometres in Jerusalem. The course is rolling and the finish is slightly uphill.
The 2nd stage runs from Haifa to Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, so fast finishersbe eyeing their chances. The predominantly flat route amounts to 167 kilometres.
Stage 3 of the Giro is going to be a hot and long affair. Following the start in Be’er Sheva the 226 kilometres course runs through the Negev desert to finish in Eilat on the Red Sea. So that’s the desert from its northern end all the way to its southern end. The expected rainfall is zero and the temperature in May is around 26 degrees Celsius.
Fernando Gaviria was the best sprinter in the recent Giro d’Italia: he won four stages.
The riders face three stages in Sicily after the Grande Partenza is Israel. Following Monday’s rest day in Catania, the first two Sicilian legs are both hilly. The 4th stage travels to Caltagirone and the 5th to Santa Ninfa before the 6th stage brings the first proper summit finish of the 2018 Giro on the flanks of Mount Etna. The climb goes to an Observatory and will be roughly 30 kilometres.
Back on Italy’s main land stage 7 should be for the fast finishers as the race goes on flat roads to Praia a Mare. The 8th stage brings yet another summit finish, this time in Montevergine di Mercogliano after a 17 kilometres climb at 5%. The last time the Giro d’Italia visited the place was in 2011, when Bart de Clercq took the stage. Damiano Cunego and Danilo Di Luca did also win here in the past. The first week of action concludes with stage 9 to the Gran Sasso in the Apennines. Yes, that’s for the climbers, too.
Following the rest day the Giro continues on rolling to hilly roads to Gualdo Tadino (stage 10), while the 11th stage runs to a gentle climb in Osimo. The 12th stage travels to Imola, where Ilnur Zakarin took the stage honours after a rain soaked race in 2015. Back then, the race finished at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, which is the arrival in 2018, too.
The race to Imola could be interesting for sprinters and the same goes for stage 13. The route from Ferrara to Nervesa Della Batagglia features a modest hill with 20 kilometres remaining, and that’s it. The next day is something else. The 14th stage conclude with a summit finish on Monte Zoncolan and is set be 181 kilometres of torture. The riders face intermediate climbs up Monte di Ragogna, Avaglio, Passo Duron and Sella Valcalda before the final haul up the Zoncolan is 10.1 kilometres at 11.9%.
The last day of action in the second week is not for the faint of heart either. Stage 15 brings four intermediate climbs before another summit finish – this time in Sappada.
Stage 16 is an individual time trial of 34.5 kilometres. It runs through the Vallagarina vineyards near Lake Garda, starting in Trento and finishing in Rovereto. Following the 17th stage to Iseo – sprinters or attackers? – the riders should be ready for a three-day finale in the Alps.
Stage 18 will finish in ski resort Prato Nevoso before the 19th stage leaves from Venaria Reale to travel via the intermediate climbs up Colle del Lys, the (partly unpaved) Colle delle Finestre and Colle Sestriere to an arrival at Monte Jafferau. The final mountain stage ends in Cervinia, where Fabio Aru soloed to victory in 2015. It’s yet another onslaught with three huge climbs in the last 80 kilometres.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia is set to finish with a flat parade stage in Rome.
Giro d’Italia 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Stage 14: Monte Zoncolan
Stage 19: Colle delle Finestre
Stage 19: Colle di Sestriere
Stage 19: Monte Jafferau