2014 Giro Route

Much of the route has been known thanks to official promotion by RCS and leaked details. But today’s presentation is the chance to supply all the details because if we knew the start and finish towns for a stage, now we know which mountain passes will come between them. It’s also the chance to present the race as a whole and present a theme.

The 2014 theme of the presentation was “a more humane Giro” meaning fewer long transfers. Look closely at the map above and you’ll see one day’s stage finish is not far from the next day’s stage start. Similarly the stages are shorter, gone are the 240km Alpine raids of the final week with more vertical gain than Everest, instead a typical mountain stage is “just” 170km. Human yes, but probably more energetic too with faster finishes.

  • Nine uphill finishes of which five are “summit” finishes in the high mountains
  • Eight “sprint” stages
  • One team time trial, one classic time trial, one mountain time trial

But for all the talk of themes things don’t always go to plan. The 2013 Giro was billed as an international race with the presence of Bradley Wiggins and others only for the Brit to reacquaint himself with his feminine side on the descents, although he put it more bluntly. Gesink and Hesjedal also left the race and with Nibali, an Italian won. The surprise guest was Jack Frost’s Italian cousin as snow and rain fell for weeks despite the official theme song for the race of Mezza estate or midsummer.

Another theme was Marco Pantani, several stages in the race are remakes of Il Pirata’s greatest hits as the race revisits his greatest victories. Pantani’s enduring legacy is probably something for long thesis. Yes he excited millions in Italy but now they know he was on drugs, both performance enhancing and later narcotics before his sordid death. But it speaks to nostalgia that grips Italian cycling, where the heroes of the past are rightly venerated but there’s a firm sense that the past was better than the present. So we end up looking forward to a race in 2014 that will be looking back to 1999.

Note that the Tour de France will have a memorial theme linked to the 1914-1918 war but Italy went to war in 1915, an obvious theme for 2015. That said Stage 6 climbs to Montecassino, scene of a large battle in 1944 and the race will reference this.

Where The Race Will Be Won
In the mountains. As ever the riders make the race but obvious strategic points await. Stage 5 sees the first uphill finish but there are some obvious tactical points and that cliché of a “decisive third week”. Here’s the stage by stage take:

Stages 8: the first of two mountain stages in the under-rated Apennines, this 174km stage climbs Monte Carpegna (7.8km at 8.3%) before 18km at 6.3% average to Montecopiolo although you can see it’s steeper than the average. The final section to the finish line is 13%.

Stage 9: the weekend in the Appenines continues although here they have a totally flat start before climbing. The finish on the Passo del Lupo above Sestola is 10.7km at 6% but again with many steeper sections.

Stage 12: the 46km Barbaresco to Barolo time trial is crucial, on rolling roads to suit powerful riders as they barrel along wide roads past precious vineyards. The media will adore this stage thanks to the press room buffet alone.

Stages 14: the Alpe Noveis is 8.9km at 7.9% before the steep Bielmonte and the finish to Oropa and its sanctuary but there’s no rest for the riders as the face 11km at 6.2%.

Stage 15: a day spent in the big ring and then a sudden shift to the inner ring with a sharp finish to Montecampione (18.6km at 7.8%) but a solid 10% for the finish.

Stage 16: just 139km but the first five star mountain stage with a long summit finish at Val Martello but before the Passo Gavia and the Passo di Stelvio which is the 2014 Cima Coppi too. This is identical to Stage 19 of this year’s race that was cancelled because of the snow.

Stage 18: a big day over the hard Passo San Pelegrino, the new Passo del Redebus before the climb to the Rifugio Panarotta, 16km at 8%.

Stage 19: the Bassano to Monte Grappa time trial is a well known route, it gets used every year for an open event and the record is just over an hour. It’s a tough climb and remember the mountain TT in this year’s Giro allowed Nibali to put 58 seconds into the second placed rider Samuel Sanchez and he was close to catching podium finisher Cadel Evans. In other words, Monte Grappa could allow for even bigger time gaps

Stage 20: the Passo del Pura and the Sella Razzo on the way to Monte Zoncolan. This is the last day to win the race. It’s hard and infamous with 10km at 12% and at times 20% sections. But it’s almost too hard because its steep slopes cancel any tactical interplay, the climb becomes a private contest against gravity where each performance is the expression of a power/weight ratio.

The Contenders
Inviting foreign contenders brought plenty of foreign interest but the Giro-Tour double looks a tough call. So before we even think who could win the race we need to know who will ride. This is not easy because many riders and teams have their minds on the off-season and besides, the Tour de France route has yet to be officially unveiled. It seems probable that Vincenzo Nibali will target the Tour next year. It made the presentation awkward at times as riders heaped praise on the race but then got shy about actually showing up.

Sky’s Richie Porte wants to lead his team into the Giro, he’s been solid in 2013 but it’s another thing to aim for a grand tour. Compatriot Cadel Evans said today he’s “almost 100% certain” to ride; the same for Ivan Basso. OPQS’s new recruit Rigoberto Uran is another candidate to move up. Nicolas Roche welcomed the Irish start but will the steep climbs of Italy be too much? Movistar had a great Giro this year but the Spaniards don’t have much sponsor interest in Italy – even more since they’re losing Pinarello – and will surely keep Nairo Quintana fresh for the Tour.

Climbers vs The Rest
The Barolo time trial is long at 46km but the climbers should find ample compensation during the race, especially the final week, especially as the Giro awards time bonuses. Could this tempt Joaquim Rodriguez back? The high number of summit finishes means it’s a race skewed towards the climbers or all-rounders in the mould of Nibali or Alberto Contador.

But one of the best things about the Giro is the daily variety and the 2014 route offers plenty of chances for breakaways to get away, there is plenty of space in-between the ambition of the sprinters and the GC contenders.

There are four spaces but one is reserved for the winner of the Coppa Italia, currently led by Androni Giocatolli. Assume they get an automatic invite and Bardiani-CSF are the other obvious pick. The Vini Fantini team is applying for a licence under a temporary name of “Yellow Fluo” and the squad’s future is yet to be determined and they brought the race into disgrace with Danilo di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio. But the Giro needs Italian wildcard invitations to liven up the race.

Colombia did reasonably well but their best riders have been poached by other teams. NetApp-Endura could ride but with Europcar applying for the World Tour, the German0-Californian squad could find the door is open for a ride in the Tour instead. MTN-Qhubeka have been wooing RCS and a ride seems likely but again July is possible given Cofidis and IAM will get invites but the next two picks are not so obvious once we go beyond NetApp-Endura and MTN-Qhubeka.

52 thoughts on “2014 Giro Route”

  1. I guess Lampre will want Rui Costa to win the Giro for them. Any pro-Continental team that wants a wildcard might try to sign Horner. He’s probably expensive, but so was DiLuca.

  2. Too much summit finishes, too much “youtube cycling”, waiting until the last 10 kilometres to see some real action. So boring, so predictable. The Vuelta a España virus will be spreading through italian roads next spring. I don’t like it, at all.

    • why dont you like summit finishes? And how are they predictable? I personally prefer this to a guy who wins a couple TTs then holds on for a couple mountain stages. As much as I love the Tour de France I prefer watching the Giro and Vuelta despite the number of GC contenders.

    • Summit finishes=Youtube cycling? Arrivo in salita, or summit finish is what defines gran tour racing.
      Nothing worse than having an iconic climb neutralized by a finish in the valley. The older tifosi at the cafes are all waiting for the summit finishes. Sprint stages or what the Italians typically call a “tappe di trasferimento”, or a transfer stage are fun for 2-300 meters. But as the people will say, not enough suffering to capture the “valori antichi” or old values of cycling.

      • This is not about mountain stages vs. sprint stages. Everybody love summit finishes, but we don’t need nine of them in the same race (or twelve, as seen in the last Vuelta). Why must every alpine stage -or even all the medium mountain ones- finish on the top of the last mountain? Building up so much summit finishes in the same only trivialize them. Who cares about Montecampione, just to pick one of them, if there are Val Martello, Panarotta and Zoncolan still waiting? Who will try a long range attack on the earlier mountain passes if there’s always the last boss waiting? Why don’t they put the finish line of an Appenine stage after a tricky descent? They’ve drawn the route in the simplest way.

          • This has been the Vuelta’s bet for last two years, and in terms of TV audiences and attention from the media, it has worked really well for them. But I felt a bit stupid sitting in front of tv watching an absolutely dull show one day after another until the last kilometres, when the roads suddenly got steeper and everything exploded like fireworks. It might be a good 30 minutes tv show, but this is cycling for people who don’t really like cycling.

            And sorry for my poor english, it’s not my first language.

    • I’m not with you here Vern. I hope you’ll be eating your “so boring, so predictable” prediction by the start of the third week of La Corsa Rosa. As Herbie Sykes wrote in Maglia Rosa “…despite the meddling of those who claim to know better, the Giro is still Italy’s race, the country in microcosm.”
      We’ll be there in 2014!

    • @ Vern

      Absolutely agree. I think the Vuelta has become a very dull race with it’s lather-rinse-repeat of near identical stages with summit finishes each day. What I would like to see is more rolling, hilly stages that are difficult to control. Prudhomme has tried to work these into the Tour parcours but none of the teams and riders have shown the imagination to make use of them. After all the most exciting stage of this year’s Tour was the day to Bagneres de Bigorre which wasn’t a summit finish.

    • Scarponi was at the presentation but told them he wasn’t sure what team he’ll be riding for next year. We can expect Pozzovivo to be there but we’re quickly running out of Italian GC candidates.

      • I assume that it all depends on the Tour route, but will there be any pressure from the organisers (and sponsors) on Nibali to ride?? I think Vino has already stated that 2014 he will target the Tour, can this change??

        • The Tour is a hell of a bigger deal for sponsors than the Giro (except Italian ones, maybe). The Kazakh oilmen will get more out of him winning the Tour than winning the Giro again.

          • Froome and Nibbles look head and shoulders above the others on GT GC right now. It’d be a shame if they didn’t face off in the Tour next year, then we could also get an exciting scrap between the rest for the giro. Otherwise we’re facing the dull prospect of Nibali cruising untroubled to the Giro win and Sky crushing the TdF once again…

  3. MTN-Qhubeka should receive no more invites to any races until they change their kit immediately. And the paint on their bikes. Gold-ish yellow and black? Disgusting. Their kit makes me year for the days of Foonton-Serveto…

    It’s pitiful when I saw more exciting kits at the local cx race this weekend than a team fielding the defending Milan Sanremo champ!

    • I disagree, Ron. I think it’s nice to see some variation on the black with blue themes that 85% of the bunch seem to have. I wouldn’t wear the MTN kit, for sure. But I don’t have a problem seeing it in a race. And it’s the sponsor’s colours, so not really the call for the team to make.

    • In many ways you have noticed it so it’s worked. Taste is always personal and Italy’s teams go for odd looks with Lampre’s pink, sorry fuchsia, the fluo yellow of Vini Fantini or the text-heavy jersey of Androni Giocattoli.

      • I reckon we should have a raffle to see if we can get Salvio to put an “INRNG” logo somewhere on the Androni jersey – admittedly there’s not much space left but it must go pretty cheap!

  4. Not a bad route by any means. Although I disagree with the “crescendo” concept of mountian stages being harder than the one before (thus inviting riders to spare themselves for the following day), this is just another 21st century Giro. If the JTL affair does not mean anything (God, please), Froome could take this race at 90% of his out put, and still destroy the TdF. Otherwise, Horner and Valverde are the kind of riders who could take it. This one’s for the climbers… Where are those Giri with 100km of flat TT, and just 2-3 monstrous dolomitic marathons? Just as balanced… but way more intense!
    Abd by the way… Barolo, Barbaresco, Grappa…. all of it alcoholic and expensive. With this crisis going on, I thought Italy wanted to stay sober and low-budget. 🙂

  5. I like the route, a good balance which should help attract some quality riders.

    I expect several riders with GC aspirations, but knowing they can’t beat Chris Froome in France, to instead take their chance in Italy.

    Richie Porte, Uran, maybe Rui da Costa now he is with Lampre, Dan Martin maybe? Basso, Evans, etc.

    I hope the weather is better in 2014.

  6. He argued with the nice route and amount of climbing, but:
    1. This year’s Giro had to cancell most of the climbing due to bad weather, so even TdF suited better for the pure climbers, not to speak of Vuelta.
    2. I suspect yet another untold motivation – to avoid leadership issues with Valverde. Remember that both GT Colombian podiums – Uran and Quintana – did NOT start as team leaders. Uran now changed the team to become one and Quintana plans to change the Tour.

  7. The Giro will always be my favorite Grand Tour. But Ireland? I think the Tours are suddenly Giro/Tour/Vuelta de Europe now. Is is marketing? More cashflow required. I really don’t know these things. Maybe I am a purist in that way.
    As for contenders…Nibali, Rodrigues with Valverde (although not sure who team leader will be), Costa? Quintana? Movistar is hot right now. Hope that continues into 2014. Can’t rule out Sky…Froome, Wiggins, Porte? Who will be hot in 2014?
    God I love this sport!

  8. I just love the Giro 2014 route graphic. Let’s admit it, Giro is way ahead of Tour and Vuelta in design and image (presentation video is awesome as well).
    About the Pantani homage, it’s funny that Giro kicked him out in 1999 when he was wearing the Maglia Rosa in the penultime stage. Still, i miss this guy in the peloton.

Comments are closed.