Giro D'Italia: Il Percorso 2017

Cycling

ByTheMinCycle

The 2017 edition of the Giro D’Italia is the 100th running (riding?) of the event and organisers RCS Sport have set up a route that runs generally South to North and uses as a showcase many of the most famous mountain passes in the event’s long history. The race starts from Alghero in Sardinia on Friday 5th May, before presenting the final Maglio Rosa on May 28th in Milan.

There are six mountain top finishes for the climbers, the first coming as early as Stage 4 in Sicily, on Mount Etna. Stage 9 finishes with the climb of the Blockhaus, almost 30km of upward travel. There are two time trial stages, that may well prove to have a minimal effect on the overall standings, such is the level of climbing to be undertaken over the three weeks.

In addition to those six mountain top finishes, there are three further mountain stages. This leaves maybe eight stages to be targeted by the sprinters, although with a number of these being fairly lumpy, the opportunities are there for long breakaways to steal the glory. Lets take a look at each of the stages.

Stage 1 – May 5th – Alghero to Olbia – 206km This will be the first time Alghero hosts a Giro stage so quite a coup to get it as the Grande Partenza. The route to Olbia follows the northern coast of Sardinia, so there’s scope for on shore breezes to cause the peloton a few issues. The course is lumpy with three category 4 climbs along the way, the last of which crests just 20km from the finish.

Two intermediate sprints also break up the stage, these carry time bonuses of 3s, 2s and 1s for the first three riders across the line. There’s also time bonuses at the finish of 10s, 6s and 4s. Olbia has hosted a stage once before, in 1991 when the stage started and finished there, Philippe Casado edging out Didier Theuex in a photo finish.

Stage 2 – May 6th – Olbia to Tortoli – 221km Using the organiser’s rating category, this stage receives two stars out of five, making it a “medium mountain” stage. It makes the most of Sardinia’s hilly inland areas, with a long uphill drag on an uncategorised climb taking the riders to the first of two intermediate sprints.

That is followed by the descent to the foot of the 3rd category Nuoro climb, and later the 2nd Category Genna Silana, which is crested with 47km remaining. The final 10km are flat, with the finish a near 2km dead straight run to the line. As in stage one there are time bonuses of 10s, 6s and 4s at the finish and 3s, 2s and 1s at the sprint points.

Stage 3 – May 7th – Tortoli to Cagliari – 148km The shortest of the three Sardinian stages is also the flattest. Just a single 4th category climb to get the legs pumping.

The final 10km are completely flat and as they approach a fourth ever finish in Cagliari the riders will find wide roads with no tricky corners, but a handful of roundabouts. Once again there are time bonuses available on the two intermediate sprints and at the finish.

Stage 4 – May 9th – Cefalu to Etna – 181km After a rest day, the circus transfers to Sicily, the “phony war” comes to an end. This stage is rated with four of five stars, despite being just 181km long. The first summit finish of the Giro starts out relatively benignly with 57km of flat cycling, before tackling the Cat2 Portella Femmina Morta, 33km of climbing at an average gradient of 4.5%.