Italy’s Grand Tour begins with a time trial of 9.7 kilometres in Jerusalem. The technical and demanding course features a 9% ramp just before the line.
The 2nd stage runs from Haifa to Tel Aviv adn should be for fast finishers, while 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. Yet another opportunity for the sprinters.
After the Grande Partenza in Israel the Giro lands in Sicily. Both the 4th stage and the 5th stage are rather hilly, while the 6th stage brings the first proper summit finish of the 2018 Giro d’Italia 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 men and the 8th stage brings yet another summit finish, this time in Montevergine di Mercogliano after a 17.1 kilometres long climb at 5%. 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 second rest day the Giro continues on rolling to hilly roads to Gualdo Tadino (stage 10), while the 11th stage runs to a punchy and demanding finale in Osimo. The 12th stage travels to Imola for a finish on the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – a race circuit.
The race to Imola could be interesting for sprinters and the same goes for stage 13. The next day is something totally different. The 14th stage travels over Monte di Ragogna, Avaglio, Passo Duron and Sella Valcalda before a final haul up Monte Zoncolan – a 10.1 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 11.9%.
The second week’s last day is not for the faint of heart either. Stage 15 takes in four intermediate climbs before another summit finish – this time in Sappada.
Running through the Vallagarina vineyards near Lake Garda, the 16th stage is an individual time trial of 34.2 kilometres. So this is where title defender Tom Dumoulin should definitely land a blow if he wants to win the Giro again. Following the 17th stage to Iseo – sprinters or attackers? – the GC-contenders have no option but to be ready for a three-day finale in the Alps.
Stage 18 is set to 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, which is a 7.2 kilometres toil at more than 9%.
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: Col Tsecore (16 kilometres at 7.7%), Col de Saint-Pantaléon (16.5 kilometres at 7.2%), and the final haul up to Cervinia (18.2 kilometres at 5.3%).
The 2018 Giro d’Italia ends 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