Giro d’Italia Guide

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Here’s the Giro d’Italia guide. There’s a concise preview of every stage, with my quick take on the day added. Use the links to find your way around the stage previews, the rules and the other points. From now until the end of the race you’ll find the page linked at the top of the screen, desktop users can look for “Giro” in the bar at the top and if you visit via your mobile then “Giro” on the drop-down menu.

There will be daily stage previews and more on the race and Italian cycling in the coming weeks.

Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Rest day
Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6 | Stage 7 | Stage 8 | Stage 9 | Rest day
Stage 10 | Stage 11 | Stage 12 | Stage 13 | Stage 14 | Stage 15 | Rest day
Stage 16 | Stage 17 | Stage 18 | Stage 19 | Stage 20 | Stage 21 |

In addition there will be coverage throughout the race with detailed daily previews of the stages as well as post race analysis of the key moments, commentary and a look at Italian cycling, culture and more.

Route summary

A more balanced Giro with three time trials and a reduction in climbing, albeit all relative given a third week that tours the Alps from one end to the other. There are eight likely sprint finishes but a couple have spiky climbs that could thwart the heavier sprinters in their quest for points and the red jersey competition. There are seven mountain stages, five of which have an uphill finish.

Now on to each stage. Note the annotations where TV = Traguardo Volante or Intermediate Sprint and R = Rifornimento or Feed Zone.


Stage 1 – Friday 6 May

As flat as a pizza, the 9.8km opening time trial will create an instant hierarchy for the overall classification. There are several 90 degree bends along the way but with wide and sheltered roads this is for the powerhouse riders who can hold an aero tuck at 55km/h.


Stage 2 – Saturday 7 May

One for the sprinters with a small climb thrown in just so they can award the mountains jersey to someone but it’s no canal bridge, it’s a proper berg that’s a kilometre long. The finish includes laps of Nijmegen, birth place of Eddie van Halen so perhaps the victor will make an air guitar victory salute?


Stage 3 – Sunday 8 May

Back to Arnhem again via a mountains jersey contest and a likely sprint finish with finishing circuits around the town. A rest day awaits for some but for many it’s a long transfer to the south of Italy.


Stage 4 – Tuesday 10 May

The race resumes in Italy and the riders will be in no doubt as they pedal alongside the shimmering Mediterranean and past aromatic bergamot groves. The route darts inland now and then to add a climb. The race arrives into the finish town and then tackles with a sharp climb which tops out at 18% just 7km from the finish.


Stage 5 – Wednesday 11 May

An uphill start makes for a good launchpad for the day’s breakaway. If the rest of the day looks hilly the climbs are steady before a lap around Benvento including some cobbles the finishing straight.


Stage 6 – Thursday 12 May

The first uphill finish of the race but it’s too strong to call it a summit finish. There are 7% slopes on the way and an outside chance a very confident climber launches their move here to stun the others but it’s more a climb for punchy riders who can push a big gear rather than pure climbers and we should see the big names finish together.


Stage 7 – Friday 13 May

A stage across the Apennines before finishing in the plains and a flat run to Foligno. It should be a chance for the sprinters but look to see if any breakaway specialists took it easy on the previous day to save themselves for a raid here.


Stage 8 – Saturday 14 May

It could have been a flat rush to the line in Arezzo, perfect for the sprinters but once they reach the finish line they head out for a 10km long climb which is unpaved and reaches 13-14% in places before a tarmac descent and the scenic finish in Arezzo, uphill and paved with flagstones, as seen before in Tirreno-Adriatico.


Stage 9 – Sunday 15 May

One of the most important stages of the race, this 40km time trial through the Chianti vineyards will reshape the overall classification, a chance for some to gain time and others to flounder like fish out of water. The profile looks hilly but many of the climbs can be tackled in an aero tuck and the descents are fast and reward those who can spin their top gear.


Stage 10 – Tuesday 17 May

After the rest day comes a day of work with barely a metre of flat. The big climb of the day to the Pian del Falco ski resort is 16km at 5% but the final three kilometres are 9-10% before a tricky descent and then a 5-6% drag to the finish line for 7km. There should be a good battle for the stage win even if it’s likely to be indecisive for the overall classification.


Stage 11 – Wednesday 18 May
227km north towards the foot of the Alps and a profile that begs you to tune in late. The Forcella Mostaccin is a tough little climb above Maser, home of Sidi, that will have riders tightening their shoes as it’s 2.5km at 8%. There’s a claimed max of 16% but you’ll need your theodolite to find that. There’s 19km to go from the top to the finish but this includes a twisting descent and then some narrow roads with few flat sections to get a chase working.


Stage 12 – Thursday 19 May

A big day for the sprinters and a recovery day for the GC riders, TV watchers and preview writers alike who will all look to coast as much as possible. There are two finishing laps around Bibione, the seaside town that’s got Italy’s second longest beach (after Rimini in case you needed to know).


Stage 13 – Friday 20 May

At first glance this looks hilly and nothing more but ride the 170km and you and your knees would be cursing that casual glance. This is a very hard stage through the spiky Friuli region with steep roads and the mechanics will be busy fitting low gears and perhaps even compact chainsets for this stage.


Stage 14 – Saturday 21 May

A classic day in the Dolomites with many of the range’s best known climbs and a route that mirrors much of the popular Maratona gran fondo. The race goes beyond 2,000m above sea level five times and there’s more climbing in between. Expect two races here, a breakaway racing for the stage win and behind them the contenders for the overall classification testing each other. How early do the climbers have to attack in order to distance the others? Watch for the tricky finish and the Mür dl Giat, dialect for “Wall of the Cat” and a cruel 19% ramp with 5km to go.


Stage 15 – Sunday 22 May

A brave decision by the organisers to put a second time trial on a Sunday afternoon, prime time but will stage offer gripping television? For the riders this is a challenging test and far more than a tilt up the the mountain. Instead there are ever-changing gradients that incite the strongest to accelerate where they can and punish the weaker riders.


Stage 16 – Tuesday 24 May

Who had a successful rest day? Here’s a very short but explosive mountain stage. The Passo della Mendola is a long and gradual climb while the road the Fai della Paganella was used in the recent Giro del Trentino where Mikel Landa was so at ease as he contained attack after attack.


Stage 17 – Wednesday 25 May

A day away from the mountains as the race heads for the Adda valley, one of the hotbeds of Italian cycling, a late chance for the sprinters and breakaway contenders.


Stage 18 – Thursday 26 May

The race heads for the Alps and a very spiky finish. Pramartino is 4.6km at over 10% before the race drops into Pinerolo. You can’t see it on the profile above but it’s got a sharp climb, 500m up a narrow, stone-paved road that averages 14% and peaks at 20%.


Stage 19 – Friday 27 May

Say bonjour as the Giro crosses into France via the giant Colle dell’Agnello, the highpoint of the race – assuming it’s open and clear of snow – and fingers crossed the sun is shining because this should be a stunning day on the bike, at least until the steady ski station access road to Risoul which isn’t as scenic. It may look familiar as it’s where Vicenzo Nibali triumphed in 2014 on his way to winning the Tour de France.


Stage 20 – Saturday 28 May

The last day to win the Giro and what a course. At just 132km and an uphill start. the town of Guillestre will hum to the sound of riders warming-up before the Cols de Vars, a hard climb but a mere taster before the giant Bonette. Then comes the Col de la Lombarde and the race returns to Italy via a twisty descent a short but still significant final climb to the finish.


Stage 21 – Sunday 29 May

Basta! The final day is a parade as the race turns its back to the Alps and heads for the wealthy industrial city of Torino, home of Fiat and Lavazza coffee and a likely sprint finish.


The unmissable stages
Anything can happen during the Giro but there are some stages that matter more than others.

Stage 6 – Thursday 12 May: the first uphill finish
Stage 8 – Saturday 14 May: the offroad climb, the uphill finish in Arezzo
Stage 9 – Sunday 15 May: the 40km Chianti time trial stage. Maybe it won’t be gripping TV but it is decisive
Stage 10 – Tuesday 17 May: a hard mid-mountain stage
Stage 13 – Friday 20 May: the steep Friuli mountain stage
Stage 14 – Saturday 21 May: the day of the Dolomites
Stage 19 – Friday 27 May: a big mountain stage, albeit with a steady finishing climb
Stage 20 – Saturday 28 May: the final mountain stage, a coronation parade or is the race still up for grabs?


TV viewing
The race will be on according to where you are in the world. Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France.

Italian host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage with pre- and post-stage broadcasts, experienced commentators as well as roving reporters on motorbikes to add extra coverage from the breakaway or the back of the peloton.

As ever cyclingfans.com, cyclinghub and steephill.tv are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds. The finish is expected for around 5.15pm CET each and every day between Apeldoorn and Torino.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+
The Cauberg May 3, 2016 at 11:04 am

Nice brief summary. By the way, was it not Rafal Majka who won at Risoul? Also, where is that 500 m climb in Pinerolo, the finish?

The Inner Ring May 3, 2016 at 11:09 am

Majka won the stage but was not a GC threat, I was thinking of how Nibali trounced everyone else, having given them a pasting the previous day too in Chamrousse. The Pinerolo climb is right in the town.

The Cauberg May 3, 2016 at 11:17 am

It reminds me of the Rodez stage of last year’s tour in that case.

The Inner Ring May 3, 2016 at 11:23 am

It’s very different, not a big wide climb to the line but a sharp rise on a narrow road with stony paving and then a drop to the line. Hard to think of a direct comparison, it’s like something out of Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Cauberg May 3, 2016 at 11:30 am

Strade Bianche?

The Inner Ring May 3, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Look up the Via Principi D’Acaja in Pinerolo on Google’s Streetview to see for yourself

Richard S May 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

I always love the first week of the Giro, a season highlight.

The Inner Ring May 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm

It’ll be interesting to see how the big teams approach it, especially whether Astana try to rip up the race early.

RonDe May 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Much as I would like to see Landa win the Giro (he deserves it after being made Aru’s unwilling mule last year), I just don’t see how he does it on this parcours. Not enough mountain top finishes and too much time trialling. Its between Nibs, Valverde and Tom Dum for me and probably the first two of those. Landa will be at least a couple of minutes behind at half way I doubt doubt but there are few places he can get decent chunks of time back. A very all-round parcours for me if not ITT heavy a la Tour 2012.

Richard S May 3, 2016 at 2:13 pm

I’ve got a feeling Zakarin could do well. It depends how he goes over 3 weeks I suppose. Supposedly Dumoulin isn’t going for GC but if he’s up there after the first two TT’s I’d imagine that’ll go out the window.

RonDe May 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Unless Astana/Movistar go attack crazy from the off it wouldn’t surprise me if Dumoulin is in the lead at the half way stage before any proper mountain stages. Landa will probably be minutes down at this point. Its all set up for an all-rounder.

noel May 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

would have thought a fully firing Thomas might have been a better bet at this course than Landa…

J Evans May 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Landa seems a much better climber – and is proven over three weeks. Thomas has never shown that ability, but it would be interesting to see him try – that is apparently his aim.

J Evans May 3, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Similar amount of individual TT kms as last year, with slightly less of it being flat, plus this year, as you say, Landa won’t be being held back by his team. And apparently he’s been working on his TT (although they always say that).
I’d bet on Landa being on the podium and he could well have the matching of Valverde, if not Nibali. They’ll all have to attack Dumoulin in the mountains and Uran is worth watching too – just for his consistency.

noel May 4, 2016 at 11:07 am

all good points JE, as you say it all depends on whether all that TT work pays off… it’s a shame Kelderman isn’t here – a climber who can TT well…
…I note that Peraud, Uran and Chaves were both more than 30s down on Nibali in the shortish TT in Tirreno…

J Evans May 4, 2016 at 11:53 am

T-A’s a long time ago, so form might (should?) be very different now – although I wouldn’t expect Chaves to be much cop in a TT.

irungo txuletak May 4, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Don’t believe Landa is mentally strong enough to win a 3 weeks GT. I am curious about Dumoulin, but I won’t put my money on him – he has been far from impressive so far this season. I think it is between Nibali and Valverde, but the former will have to prove to be better than in the last races.

noel May 4, 2016 at 3:24 pm

can Majka TT at all?

gabriele May 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

@noel
Majka is no time-trial star, but in the past he’s often been quite good in hilly TT (besides uphill TT, obviously). If he can nip Chianti as he did with Barolo, he won’t be that far back after the long ITT. However, past Vuelta’s last ITT was quite disappointing and his last results in Romandie weren’t too encouraging, either, even if the prologue was affected by the weather and the other ITT confirmed that an in-form Majka shouldn’t lose more than 80-90″ from the Chianti winner (which means even less – or slight gains – when compared with other GC climbers).

H May 3, 2016 at 2:33 pm

You’ve got the date of the parade as Sunday 31st May, but it must be the 29th – I remember the dates because I’ve got a lovely MTT to watch on my birthday! Great preview.

MinorinUltras May 3, 2016 at 3:03 pm

A small correction- the Fai della Paganella climb at the end of stage 16 is the exact same as the one used during the Giro del Trentino. They only changed the finale (from Cavedago, Giro del Trentino went downhill while they will climb to Andalo in stage 16).

inthedrops.net May 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Yes they just turn left after the descent instead of going right towards Spormaggiore and Mezzolombardo like in Trentino.

The Inner Ring May 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Thanks, the way they passed Mezzolombardo got me confused.

Anonymous May 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Bless you!

Cormac May 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Excellent resource, will be a bookmark for the next three weeks. Hopefully with the all round nature of the course we see a wide open battle for GC.

This made me smile

a recovery day for the GC riders, TV watchers and preview writers alike who will all look to coast as much as possible

Larry T May 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm

BRAVO! Buon lavoro. Next best thing (to me anyway) to Bicisport’s printed “La Guida del Giro” which I just got today. Had to have ’em order another copy for a friend. I’d like to see Nibali win again, but more than that I’d like a close, exciting race right up until May 29. Now I need to start checking my calendar of obligations to see if I can get away to see any stages live, in-person. W Il Giro!

Cormac O'B May 3, 2016 at 9:18 pm

Whilst Stage 15 mightn’t be the best for TV viewing on a Sunday, it will surely make for absolutely massive crowds?

Seems like a brilliant day to spend roadside.

Andrew Folpe May 3, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Indeed- it would be difficult to imagine anything more pleasant than being in Tuscany, drinking their wine and eating their food, and watching the Giro go by.

Larry T May 4, 2016 at 10:08 am

Andrew – Stage 15’s in the Dolomites, but the food and wine there is pretty good too. 🙂 The weather might be another thing though, I’d say close to 50% of the Giro stages I’ve seen live in the past 2+ decades have been in less-than-ideal weather. But that’s one of the things that make La Corsa Rosa so much more challenging than LeTour.

Ecky Thump May 4, 2016 at 12:08 am

The race using both World War II bridges at Nijmegen and Arnhem?
The Giro as Operation Market Garden, and TdF as Operation Overlord.
Coincidence, significance..?

irungo txuletak May 4, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Again a very beautiful route this year for the Giro. (for me usually the best of the GT with respect to it).
Will just miss Kontador to spice it a bit, but with Nibali, Valverde and Landa (maybe Majka too), we will probably have a good show.

Chris G May 5, 2016 at 10:09 am

This tweet below from Cancellara makes it look like Tom Dumoulin will almost certainly be in pink tonight. 2/1 still available with some bookies for him to win tomorrow’s stage, looks like free money to me!

“Bad luck hit me yesterday after training,stomach flu/Fever put me in bed.full rest today and stay positiv for tomorrow #prolog @giroditalia”

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: