Friday is the start of the first Grand Tour of the season, the 100th Giro d’Italia. Beginning on the island of Sardinia in Alghero the 100th edition will visit all but four of the nation’s 21 regions and features two time trials, along with celebrated climbs like Mount Etna, the Blockhaus, Mortirolo, Oropa, Stelvio, Monte Grappa and Pordoi.

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Legendary riders like Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi and Marco Pantani are honoured with start and finish town choices, as well as specific climbs. Three of the five summit finishes come at the end of stages 139-km or shorter.

Steven Kruijswijk will make sure to stay out of trouble in the mountains this year.

Canadian Cycling Magazine examines the Corsa Rosa and its key stages. This week CCM will also analyze the top contenders to win the maglia rosa.

Giro d’Italia Overview

After three days on Sardinia, the Giro sees an early rest day next Monday with a transfer to the island of Sicily. The first of two days on the island features the first of five summit finishes, this one on Mount Etna.

Over on the mainland, the race makes its way from the toe to the heel–Calabria and Puglia–and up the back of the boot along the Adriatic Sea. On the last day before Rest Day 2, the riders face the second summit finish on the dreaded Blockhaus climb of the Abruzzo region.

What some might deem to be “Week 2” kicks off with Stage 10, the first time trial in Umbria, the the longest of the two chronos. The race heads northwest into Tuscany and the Po Valley before the third summit finish in Oropa. A mountain stage in the Bergamo Alps comes the day before the final rest day.

The last week stays in the Alps for five mountain and medium mountain stages running northeast, with the last two summit finishes.

The Giro concludes with a 29.3-km time trial to Milan on Sunday, May 28.

The Key Giro d’Italia Stages

Stage 4

The real climbing will begin on stage 4, starting in Cefalù and finishing 180-km later on the slopes of Mount Etna. After 57 dead flat kilometres comes the exhausting 31-km, 5% ascent of the Portella Fermina Morta. The summit clamber to Rifugio Sapienza covers more than 1300 vertical metres in 18-km at 7.2%. Count on at least one of the pre-race contenders losing a big chunk of time here.

Stage 9

The second mountaintop finish will be held on stage 9, just before the second rest day, a 139-km jaunt from Montenero di Bisaccia to the formidible Blockhaus, a nearly 30-km climb taken in two parts. After an 8-km “warm up”, the road goes down for a stretch before tilting up 8.5% for 13.2-km to the summit of the Passo Lanciano. Here, Eddy Merckx won very early in his career.

Stage 10

The first stage after rest day two is a rolling 39.2-km time trial through Umbria’s Sagrantino vineyard region. It’s got an uphill kick and two distinct hills, San Marco, peaking at the 15-km mark, and Le Corone, where the second time check will be taken. Pure climbers will be undone by the course.

Stage 14

After Appenine medium-mountain Stage 11’s start at Gino Bartali’s birthplace in Ponte a Ema near Florence, the race’s next mountaintop finish, coming at the conclusion of Stage 14 from Castellania to Oropa, is a homage to both Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani. The 131-km stage is mostly flat until reaching the final climb that rises for 13-km at 8%.

Stage 16

It’s hard to consider a leg of a race the queen stage if it has a downhill finish, but Stage 16 following the final rest day is a beaut. It features a double climb of the Passo dello Stelvio, where Ryder Hesjedal and Joaquim Rodriguez did battle in 2012. The 227-km stage requires the riders to climb the legendary Mortirolo and then the Stelvio twice, first from Bormio before descending the Trafoi hairpins and climbing back up via Switzerland and the Umbrailpass.

Stage 18

Another doozy, this time in the Dolomites, Stage 18 from Moena to Ortisei includes five big climbs over the Pordoi, Valparola, Gardena, Pinei Panidersattel and the Pontives all in 137-km. Brutal.

Stage 20

After Stage 19’s tough summit finish on Piancavallo, the 2017 Giro’s penultimate stage and final mountain showdown sees the peloton climb Monte Grappa and then clamber up the switchbacks of the Foza climb before finishing 15-km later in the Asiago mountain valley.

Stage 21

The 100th Giro d’Italia finishes with a flat 28-km time trial to the Duomo in Milan on May 28. It’s a return to the format that saw chronos conclude Giros from 2008 to 2012, the latter race against the clock the setting for Hesjedal to overcome a 31-second deficit to Rodriguez and win the pink jersey by 17-seconds.

2017 Giro d’Italia

Stage Date Start–Finish Distance
Stage 1 Friday, May 05 Alghero–Olbia 203 km
Stage 2 Saturday, May 06 Olbia–Tortolì 208 km
Stage 3 Sunday, May 07 Tortolì–Cagliari 148 km
Rest day Monday, May 08    
Stage 4 Tuesday, May 09 Cefalù–Etna 180 km
Stage 5 Wednesday, May 10 Pedara–Messina 157 km
Stage 6 Thursday, May 11 Reggio Calabria–Terme Luigiane 207 km
Stage 7 Friday, May 12 Castrovillari–Alberobello 220 km
Stage 8 Saturday, May 13 Molfetta–Peschici 189 km
Stage 9 Sunday, May 14 Montenero di Bisaccia-Blockhaus 139 km
Rest day Monday, May 15    
Stage 10 Tuesday, May 16 Foligno–Montefalco 39-km TT
Stage 11 Wednesday, May 17 Firenze–Bagno di Romagna 161 km
Stage 12 Thursday, May 18 Forlì–Reggio Emilia 237 km
Stage 13 Friday, May 19 Reggio Emilia–Tortona 162 km
Stage 14 Saturday, May 20 Castellania–Oropa 131 km
Stage 15 Sunday, May 21 Valdengo-Bergamo 199 km
Rest day Monday, May 22    
Stage 16 Tuesday, May 23 Rovetta–Bormio (Cima Coppi: Stelvio) 227 km
Stage 17 Wednesday, May 24 Tirano–Canazei 219 km
Stage 18 Thursday, May 25 Moena–Ortisei/St. Urlich 137 km
Stage 19 Friday, May 26 San Candido/Innichen–Piancavallo 191 km
Stage 20 Saturday, May 27 Pordenone–Asiago 190 km
Stage 21 Sunday, May 28 Monza–Milano 28-km TT



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