Giro d’Italia route reveal – for the first time in five steps – ended today and we can finally see what the riders are supposed to face in may. While, as usual, you can find all the interactive maps on our website – let’s take a look of what RCS Sport decided to put on the table for the first Grand Tour of the season.


Giro 2022 fix one of the greater mistakes of the 2021 edition – having an excessively backloaded route: in 2021 there was only one high mountain stage in first 13, the Rocca di Cambio one, won by Bernal and in which few seconds were given in the GC gaps between the main contenders. This led to a first part of giro ridden very conservative for the GC riders before the mountain stages with breakaway making always it to the finish line in non-flat stages making the race a bit boring before Cortina (with exception of Montalcino stage). 2022 route introduces two Mountain Top Finishes, Etna and Blockhaus with proper length and hardness in comparison to the ones we were used to in last two year. Route continues to be backloaded following the format of previous years of having a third week relatively more hard than the rest but there are now chances to test riders also before the decisive week.

With a general overview Giro keeps it’s identity of a “true bike race” compared to the Tour de France “kermesse”. The pink race organizers decided to put again a proper hard route for climbers, following the current cycling historical moment of inserting more hard stages with small gaps possibly happening anywhere rather than having the “d-day” in which you can gain minutes and turn the GC completely upside down. This is something that will recurr in this Giro route as if we see each one of the stages, especially in the mountains, we’ll find out that each stage it’s hard but could’ve been drawn outstanding the rest: there is a flaw in each one of the mountain stage drawn by RCS even if they can be considered hard enough taking them alone.

A plus are instead the medium mountain stages day: these are someting that Tour de France always missed out in last years despite Stage 20 of Vuelta, Stage 5 of Tirreno, Stage 7 of Pais Vasco set a clear trend during last season: a stage all up and down made it uncontrollable on the road can make serious damages for the GC – giro tried to put some traps of this type on the route – but let’s see it in the details.

(A small thing you should take into account while looking at profiles: the first sprint is likely to be the sprint for ciclamino points, while the second is likely going to be the bonification sprint, giving 3-2-1 seconds for GC).

Grand Depart

First three stages doesn’t say too much, seems the classic Grand Depart with some small-gaps-stages without saying too much for the GC. Visegrad could’ve been harder (and that was the intention of the local organizers) but ended still being a GC day from the start – a crash or a bad positioning will cost you time. The “prologue ITT” – because that’s the length – being put as stage 2 will feature an interesting outcome: GC riders will start all in the final and won’t be sparse during the day as if it was in Stage 1 having anomalies like in Bologna with all GC in first part. Battle for the first “maglia rosa” not given straight to Ganna in Day 1 with the ITT makes the first finish interesting because it’s usually something you see in TDF Stage 1, not Giro.

First week

The best realization of first week not being like the last years as in the Stage 4 the riders will already face the Etna. The side (last 14 km) it’s the same used in 2011 when Contador won the stage on Rujano and Garzelli setting a first milestone in his second Giro victory. The climb as usual has the characteristics of not being too hard but being long and with 6-7% regular slopes all the time (more like a TDF climb than a Giro one). Being the top of a volcano with nothing around in the area wind will be the key to see gaps. In any case this will be indeed the classic day in which we won’t know who’ll win the giro, but who will not win it filtering the GC.

After two sprint stages there is the first “trap stage” of Giro with the finish in Potenza. This is a 198 km day that has more positive denivel than Alpe d’Huez TDF 2022 stage, so surely a day to be taken into account. Monte Scuro is far from the finish line, it’s only the first week but can definitely be a climb to set traps and broke the peloton in groups putting some rivals out of GC if you are brave enough to make it a GC day: it’s a 6 Km climb, almost 10% average – no flat until finish. A Vuelta Stage 20 scenario here is unlikely to happen and this stage would’ve been good as Stage 20 but this can be a good day to try, especially if you lost time in Etna.

Stage 8 is the first surprise of the day with Giro this year going with two circuit stages, one in Napoli and one in Torino. In the italian press this stage was rumored to end on Monte di Procida to celebrate Procida as Italian Culture Capital for 2022 but at the end will end in Napoli. It will be indeed a breakaway day as the circuit is too soft for the GC but enough to take out the sprinters. While Monte di Procida could’ve deliver and hardest race day as finish, the 39 km from the KOM to Napoli will indeed be good to see the breakaway battle for the stage.

An high mountain stage with a demanding mountain top finish is so scheduled for the second sunday of the race with Passo Lanciano followed by Blockhaus. There is a bit of disappointment here for the hardest side of Passo Lanciano/Blockhaus being… the one they’ll do in the descent (that at this point will also be a technical one). Finish is the same of Giro 2017 stage 9 when Quintana won appearing without any doubt the strongest rider on mountains in that Giro. Unfortunately for him, there were also ITTs, but that’s another edition. It will anyway be indeed a big GC day with not small gaps like last year (14 riders in 12”) but entire riders being already out of GC contention: in 2017 the 10th rider was over 2 minute, there was not Passo Lanciano before and stage was only 148 km long.

Second week

The first disappointment of the Giro opens up as soon as you see the opening of the second week. After 2021 Tirreno and the news of a “Muri” stage in the Marche region, I would’ve expected something else – instead what is proposed it’s not a “Muri” stage that can compete with the “Sterrato” stage of last year but a stage in which the climbs taken are much softer. Length can be a factor here (194 km) but not expecting any battle. The stage is followed by the classic trademark of the latest Giro edition – the big “Piattone” (long flat stage) in Emilia Romagna. It worked so much in last years having rider not even wanting to go in breakaway because there were no KOM points on stack and limited prizes that peloton last time took a nap and went regular pace before Pellaud attack. So why not doing it again? I mean, just do a little detour and insert at least one easy climb, come on Giro!

Genova stage is another good day for GC. Race will be back on Passo del Bocco descent for the first time after Wouter Weylandt tragedy. Race will then follow some steep climbs before the Monte Becco that is a 10 km @ 7% climb – have no idea about the descent here. Expecting some GC action here considering the following day it’s a sprint. Worth mention for stage 13 that will face Colle di Nava from the opposite side of Sanremo 2020. The climb it’s a true climb: it’s 11 km @ 6.2%. If resistent sprinters would like to make some selections the day can be interesting here as it’s also the penultimate chance for them (even if they’ll have to chase/lead for 100 kms).

Torino stage is amazing. It’s a 153 Km up-and-down circuit all the day. This can be a chaos stage all around. Bric del Duca (that’s it’s basically Superga climb) will be one of the key moment of the day. The problem of this stage is one only: riders can hold back something as there will be a mountain day following. Cogne stage it’s different compared to the usual ones because the Mountain Top Finish it’s an easy one. It’s a stage designed for long-range attacks with a rest day following and a mid-climb harder than the final one like Verrogne. While i think this it’s a good stage for the “there is no tomorrow” day, in the second weekend with two other mountains stages following after the rest day it may be a breakaway day.

Third week

Giro d’Italia 2022 made me excited when I saw that intentions was to put back Mortirolo in the route. Except…. we got Aliexpress Mortirolo. Monno side is not even comparable to the Mazzo di Valtellina one. Sure, Santa Cristina back in the route it’s a good thing, Grosio descent is technical (see 2012 stage won by De Gendt for references), Teglio is steeper but Giro lost a big chance here to re-propose one of the most epic finals – the Merano-Aprica 1994 one with Crocedomini (also here from the easier side) instead of the Stelvio. This is the main problem of this giro – there are a lot of hard stages but none of them is above the other as a decisive day: this would’ve been a good candidate as the one. Final is indeed hard and this stage also being after the rest day will surely define the GC but having Mortirolo used in this way with Aprica wanting to host a MTF it’s a slap in the face of Giro d’Italia history.

Lavarone stage featured an uphill start with Tonale then a long up and down to Pergine Valsugana before re-introducing a climb that was mostly featured in Giro del Trentino: the “Passo del Vetriolo”. Both climbs of this stages are hard and with a sprint in the next day no doubt that there will be attacks. Considering Aprica the day before, this is a day in which you can send your rival into crisis.

Will go fast on sprint stage featuring Muro di Cà del Poggio again in giro. Even here it’s another chance to drop some pure sprinters, better than the Cuneo stage, as it’s only 50 km to the line. The last friday it’s a trip to Slovenia where there is a stage classified as medium mountain but that would be high mountain if this was TDF. Kolovrat climb is 10 Km at 9.1%, so it’s indeed steep even if it’s 43 km to go. It’s unlikely that considering what’s coming next there will be attacks, but who knows.

Stage 20 is the big disappointment of this Giro. It’s not about the baby-length for being the decisive stage but it’s about the climb disposition. Fedaia is steep – so it’s working better as penultimate climb. If you want to end on Fedaia, it’s fine, but here again we had a precedent set in 2008 of a good (and short) stage. Don’t know if someone will try to go “all-in” on Pordoi with such a steep finish and for being a stage 20 the risk is to end up anti-climatic and everyone waiting last 6 kms to try to attack and win the giro. It’s steep enough to have big gaps if you go full gas.

The final ITT in Verona is more or less the same route of 2019 with Torricelle. Will be significant only according to GC gaps and set a trend of a really low amount of KMs in Giro. Giro went back to origins in ITT Kms after having good editions with the 1h ITT in the middle setting the gaps for the mountains.


Giro d’Italia 2022 – Global Elevation

Giro 2022 continues to follow a dangerous thread in the stage races, reducing ITT Kms and preferring quantity over quality. It will be indeed a good giro to follow on TV (unless it rains? Standards shall improve definitively in comparison with last year). Stages taken out of the whole route context have good intentions but lacks a bit of balancing in the overall context. Resistance won’t be tested on a single stage day (maybe in Aprica) but on the whole three weeks like in 2016 edition won by Nibali with the sicilian able to make gaps in two short but hard stages.

It’s also comprehensible on the other hand after what happens in the last years RCS not wanting to have the risk of the queen stage being altered by snow or rain or rider protests and with this route surely an alteration will have a minor impact on the global outcome. Hoping in athletes doing all the route this time the giro suits indeed the climbers over the all-round riders, fixing some of the flaws of 2021 edition but not entirely doing a route in pure “Giro” style spreading the difficult across more stages in comparison with the past.

See you in may for the hardest race in the world’s beautiful place.

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