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Road Racing

Preview: Your stage-by-stage breakdown of the 2022 Giro d’Italia course

Three countries, 21 stages, 3,445.6 km, 50,580 metres of climbing, and a whole bunch of reasons to tune in.

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It’s time for the first Grand Tour of the season: the 2022 Giro d’Italia. The 105th edition of the “Corsa Rosa” starts on Friday May 6 with the first of three stages in Hungary – the 14th time the Giro has started beyond Italian soil – before a “rest day” for the entire circus to make its way down to Sicily. There are two days of racing on the Mediterranean’s largest island, before the Giro heads to the Italian mainland.

Over the next couple weeks the race works its way north then west into the mountains, before sweeping east in the closing days. The 2022 Giro ends with an individual time trial in Verona.

In total, the riders will cover 3,445.6 km with 50,580 metres of climbing over the course of 21 stages. Read on for a breakdown of all 21 stages in this year’s route, perfect for working out which stages to watch, or for planning out your picks in a fantasy competition

Stay posted for our preview of the contenders and other riders to watch at this year’s Giro, coming soon.

Stage 1: Budapest to Visegrád (195 km) | Friday May 6

This looks like your standard flat stage to start a Grand Tour … until the final 5.6 km. After a very flat day, there’s a climb to the finish that averages roughly 5%, making for a fascinating start to the Giro. With the first maglia rosa up for grabs, the battle will be fierce on the final climb. Don’t be surprised if there’s quite a sizeable group at the top.

Who’s it for: Strong climbers with a punchy finish. Expect the GC contenders to be thereabouts.

Stage 2: Budapest ITT (9.2 km) | Saturday May 7

Much like the opening stage, this short TT effort is mostly flat, until the final few kilometres. That final ramp is about 1.5 km at 5% with a section reaching 14% right at the start. We can expect the maglia rosa to change hands here, but to whom?

Who’s it for: The time trial specialists, but the short distance probably opens up the list of possible contenders a little.

Stage 3: Kaposvár to Balatonfüred (201 km) | Sunday May 8

The final day in Hungary is the first real opportunity for the sprinters. As you can see below it’s a very flat stage with only the most minor of climbs towards the end. The final 50 km take the riders along the shores of Lake Balaton. Could that mean the opportunity for wind?

Who’s it for: The sprinters.

Stage 4: Avola to Mt. Etna (172 km) | Tuesday May 10

After a day off for the long trip down from Hungary, the riders are greeted with the race’s first mountain-top finish in Sicily. Mt. Etna is Europe’s largest volcano and a popular destination for Italy’s most important race. While there are multiple routes up the mountain and possible finish locations, this year’s Etna visit ends with 22.8 km at 5.9% – a proper test.

Who’s it for: Hard to predict, but probably the breakaway. In the last three visits to Mt. Etna, all three have been won by a breakaway rider. Stage win aside, this is an important first test for the GC men.

Stage 5: Catania to Messina (174 km) | Wednesday May 11

The second and final Sicilian stage could unfold in a number of ways. There’s a big climb early in the stage that’s the perfect launchpad for a breakaway to get clear and ride away to contest the stage win. But that climb isn’t especially difficult, so if some sprinters are able to get over it in the main bunch, there might be enough impetus to chase down the break ahead of a sprint finish. Could be an interesting one.

Who’s it for: Probably the breakaway, but the sprinters might have their chance.

Stage 6: Palmi to Scalea (192 km) | Thursday May 12

As described in the official racebook – the ‘Garibaldi’ – “the route is undemanding” for this first day on the Italian mainland. There’s a few little lumps and bumps along the way as the riders begin their trek north, but this should be a bunch sprint.

Who’s it for: The sprinters.

Stage 7: Diamante to Potenza (196 km) | Friday May 13

With 4,510 metres of elevation gain, this is the most climbing of any stage so far. It’s a tough day across the Southern Apennines that starts out easily enough with a coastal jaunt, before four categorised ascents and plenty more climbing besides. The finish is a little tricky: 350 metres at 8% with a maximum grade of 13%.

Who’s it for: Looks like a perfect day for the breakaway.

Stage 8: Napoli to Napoli (153 km) | Saturday May 14

An interesting stage that features four laps of the Monte di Procida peninsula circuit, and a section where the riders retrace their steps back into Napoli. There are plenty of little ascents throughout the day (2,130 metres of climbing in total) but this seems like it’s destined to end in a bunch sprint, perhaps from a reduced bunch.

Who’s it for: The sprinters, particularly those who aren’t fazed by a bit of climbing.

Stage 9: Isernia to Blockhaus (191 km) | Sunday May 15

Giro organisers give each stage a star rating from one to five, with five being reserved for the race’s most difficult stages. With 5,000 metres of climbing in the Apennines of central Italy, stage 9 is the first of three five-star stages in this year’s Giro.

Within 40 km of starting the stage the riders will already have three designated climbs behind them, but the hardest climbs will still be ahead. The stage ends with back-to-back ascents of two tough Cat 1 ascents: the Passo Lanciano (10.3 km at 7.6%) and Blockhaus (13.6 km at 8.4%). Difficult day!

Who’s it for: Breakaway riders will fancy their chances, but it could well be a GC contender that wins this stage. Either way, an important GC day going into the second rest day.

Stage 10: Pescara to Jesi (196 km) | Tuesday May 17

After the second rest day, the riders return to action with a stage of two parts. The first 100 km along the Adriatic coast is pancake flat, but after Civitanova Marche “the route takes in a succession of mild and steep ascents or even ‘walls’, with no pause for breath”.

There’s only 1,760 m of climbing throughout the day, so it’s not an Alpine stage by any means, but that second half will make for some interesting racing. After a downhill run towards Jesi, there’s a slightly uphill drag to the finish.

Who’s it for: Probably the sprinters, but an opportunist who takes a well-timed flyer might be in with a shot.

Stage 11: Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia (203 km) | Wednesday May 18

The profile below tells the story. This is a pan-flat day through Emilia-Romagna which will almost certainly end in a bunch sprint.

Who’s it for: The sprinters.

Stage 12: Parma to Genova (204 km) | Thursday May 19

A reasonably challenging stage defined by three Cat 3 climbs. The last of those, Valico di Trensasco, is likely to be the most important. It’s 4.3 km at a punchy 8% and it peaks around 30 km from the finish – a lovely little launchpad for a daring opportunist.

Who’s it for: A bit of a tricky one to predict. Could be one for the breakaway, could be a reduced bunch sprint, could be a small group or solo winner with a late move. A wide-open stage.

Stage 13: San Remo to Cuneo (150 km) | Friday May 20

By this point the riders are getting close to Italy’s mountainous northern reaches, where the hardest stages lie in wait. But stage 13, which starts in the iconic San Remo, isn’t particularly tough.

The Colle di Nava (10.3 km at 6.6%) is the only real difficulty for the day, but that comes within the first third of the stage. It seems likely the sprinters will be keen for a shot at the finish in Cuneo (a gradual, uphill drag) so a bunch sprint of some variety seems the most likely outcome.

Who’s it for: Probably the sprinters.

Stage 14: Santena to Torino (147 km) | Saturday May 21

In the words of the Garibaldi: “A short but intense stage which leaves little time for the riders to catch their breath.” This stage is flat to start with, but anything but flat after about 20 km. There’s just five categorised climbs for the day, but with 3,000 m of climbing in 147 km, there’s plenty of other ascending on tap for the riders too.

This stage incorporates two laps of a 36.4 km circuit that includes Superga (5 km at 8.6%), a climb best known for its traditional role in Milano-Torino, and the Colle della Maddalena (3.5 km at 8.1%). From the top of the final climb there’s a technical descent to the finish.

Who’s it for: The opportunists. The early break will fancy its chances, but a late move, probably on the Superga or Colle della Maddalena, seems a great way to win.

Stage 15: Rivarolo Canavese to Cogne (178 km) | Sunday May 22

After an easy-enough start, this stage gets pretty serious in the second half. The stage ends with three Alpine climbs back-to-back, all of them over 10 km long. The Pila-les Fleurs climb is 12.3 km at 6.9%, then it’s into the Verrogne climb (13.8 km at 7.1%). The stage ends with the 22.4 km ascent to Cogne, which averages 4.3% but starts out much steeper than that.

A challenging stage in north-west Italy before the final rest day!

Who’s it for: Seems like a big day for the GC riders.

Stage 16: Salò to Aprica (202 km) | Tuesday May 24

The riders are welcomed back from their final rest day with a monster of a stage. This five-star stage comprises four challenging climbs: 19.9 km at 6.2%, the Mortirolo (12.6 km at 7.6%), 5.6 km at 8.2%, and finally the Valico di Santa Cristina (13.5 km at 8%). From the top of that final climb, it’s 6.2 km to the finish, mostly downhill. And that downhill? It’s “highly technical on narrow road and with sharp gradients”. The descent ends about 1.4 km from the line, after which it’s gradually up. With 5,250 metres of climbing, this stage is no joke.

Who’s it for: The GC men.

Stage 17: Ponte di Legno to Lavarone (168 km) | Wednesday May 25

Another tough stage with more than 3,700 m of climbing on tap. There’s a decent climb right out of the start – the perfect opportunity for a breakaway to get clear – before a long descent leads into a tough back half of the stage. The main challenge: two Cat 1 climbs in the final 50 km. The first is the Passo del Vertrilo (11.8 km at 7.7%) followed by the Monterovere (7.9 km at a tough 9.9%). From the top of that final climb it’s undulating, downhill, then uphill to the finish line.

Who’s it for: Looks tailor-made for a breakaway, unless of course there’s enough interest from the GC men.

Stage 18: Borgo Valsugana to Treviso (152 km) | Thursday May 26

The last opportunity for the sprinters at this year’s Giro. There are a few tight turns in the closing kilometres, but nothing that should stop this from being a regulation bunch sprint.

Who’s it for: The fastmen who’ve battled it through the mountains to this point.

Stage 19: Marano Lagunare to Santuario di Castelmonte (178 km) | Friday May 27

A tough mountain stage that spends some time in Slovenia and includes roughly 3,200 metres of climbing. There are two Cat 3 climbs in the first half of the stage, but the day’s toughest challenge will be the Kolovrat climb in Slovenia. It’s 10.3 km long with an average gradient of 9.2% but most of the climb is above 10%. This climb peaks about 45 km from the finish, which could make it a great launchpad for someone from the early break, or indeed from the peloton.

After a lengthy descent, the last 7.1 km of the stage averages 7.8%. Tricky little stage.

Who’s it for: The breakaway, most likely, but important for the GC riders with only one mountain stage remaining.

Stage 20: Belluno to Marmolada (168 km) | Saturday May 28

The third and final five-star stage in this year’s Giro has roughly 4,500 m of climbing in store. As described in the Garibaldi, this is “a colossal stage through the Dolomites and the last summit finish of the 2022 Giro d’Italia.”

The stage is defined by three, back-to-back climbs that start with more than 100 km still to race. The Passo di San Pellegrino (18.5 km at 6.2%, after 30 km of gradual climbing in the lead-up) the Passo Pordoi (11.8 km at 6.8%), and finally the Passo Fedaia (14 km at 7.6%) This final climb takes the riders right to the finish line, with the final 5.5 km of the ascent averaging more than 11%.

In short, this is a very tough final stage in the mountains and the last opportunity for the climbers to make any progress against their rivals.

Who’s it for: The GC men.

Stage 21: Verona ITT (17.4 km) | Sunday May 29

The Giro ends with an individual time trial in Verona that’s defined by a stepwise climb of around 4.5 km (5% average). That climb peaks a little over halfway through the stage, after which it’s downhill then flat to the finsh line.

This stage doesn’t appear to be too technical, but there are a couple of twists and turns before the finish at Verona’s Piazza Bra.

Who’s it for: The TT specialists. The Giro is likely to have been decided by this point.

Must-watch stages

Not able to tune in to all 21 stages? Here are the days we’d recommend you prioritise:

Stage 1: An uphill finish where the first maglia rosa will be awarded.
Stage 4: The first proper mountain-top finish, on Mt. Etna.
Stage 9: The Blockhaus summit finish.
Stage 14: A potentially interesting finish with the Superga laps.
Stage 15: A big mountain stage ahead of the final rest day.
Stage 16: A massive day in the mountains with four tough climbs.
Stage 20: “A colossal stage through the Dolomites”.

Which stages are you most interested in watching at this year’s Giro d’Italia?

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.