Yesterday La Flamme Rouge posted what it believes are the full list of stages for the 2018 Giro d’Italia. The official presentation takes place next month, and I’m sure there are lots of loose ends to deal with, including apparently the City of Rome not having made up its mind yet about hosting the final stage. Never change, Italy.
Anyway, here’s the list. I screen-capped it below but recommend stopping by their site for more details.
Obvious highlights are the MTFs, and we can see at least Etna, Monte Zoncolan, Cervinia, and Monte Jafferau, which Will can tell you all about. From the France side it’s got a lot of dirt and gravel, but I’ll not be shocked if the Italy side is tarmac and/or the race stops well below the 2800 meter summit.
But those stages aren’t very knowable without some info about the climbs before the finish, so whether this is an insane climb-fest or just a moderately, uh, insane climb-fest won’t be certain for another few weeks. But there are some things to say about it now.
A full 60km of time trialling over three stages may make it enticing to the reigning champion Tom Dumoulin, who is undoubtedly disappointed by the Tour de France route. That’s on the high side for a Giro, though not nearly historic. It’s actually 8km short of this year’s Giro, but three ITT stages is a different animal than two.
The shape of the race is unique, to say the least. After three days in Israel, it’s on to Sicily for three more before arriving on the boot. Never in the race’s history has it taken so long to get to the Italian mainland, though Sicily isn’t far removed in any sense. Still, for planning purposes, covering the Boot from stages 7 thru 21 is serious business, and the Giro makes an unprecedented beeline northward, as opposed to its usual meandering ways.
Again, courtesy of La Flamme Rouge. My favorite of the transitional stages will be the Apennine route from Pesco Sannita to Campo Imperatore.
Campo Imperatore is Italy’s version of the Rocky Mountain interior, with broad hihg-altitude plains surrounded by distant jagged peaks. Apparently it’s sometimes called “Little Tibet,” which isn’t a total misnomer except for maybe another 3000 vertical meters. The area is on an historic sheep-herding/migration route which bypassed Napoli and the coast because there were too many bandits. Anyway, that could be truly spectacular, and probably a bit snowy on the margins. It’s rated a mid-mountain event but will involve plenty of climbing.
From the fan’s perspective, this will be a never-a-dull-moment tour of the country, and the Holy Land. The Giro sure knows how to put on a show...