2016 Giro d’Italia Route

Giro d'Italia map 2016

It leaked out the other day but RCS have today given full details of the 2016 Giro d’Italia route. All the stages are online at the Giro website but here’s a closer look at the route, the highlights and the likely contenders.

A theme? The presentation today didn’t really offer a story for the 2016. The pundits on stage were keen to say the Giro can be used to tell the story of Italy but didn’t put a story the route.

Giro d'Italia stage profiles

  • Three time trials, including one mountain stage
  • Six likely sprint finishes
  • Six stages over 200km in length
  • Seven mountain stages including five summit finishes

Route Summary: compared to 2015 this is a race with more time trials and an easier start. 2016 won’t have the breathless opening week we saw this year as the GC contenders went on the attack all the time. Instead it’s a classic route albeit with fewer mountain stages, there are only four high mountain stages. One for the all-round stage race riders? Perhaps but the mid-mountain stages reward the bold too.

The first three stages are in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands opening with a 9.8km time trial on Friday 8 May and then two road stages over the weekend, if you’re not a local this might not set your heart racing but the traffic calming measures on Dutch roads will prove highly stressful for the peloton before the transfer flight to south of Italy.

Giro Stage 6 Aremogna

Stage 6 features the first summit finish of the race. As usual the Giro’s first summit finish is a test of form but is not meant to settle things. Still the climb to the ski resort of Aremogna features some tough 7% ramps to force a selection.

Giro Stage 8 profile

Stage 8 goes to Arezzo and as the profile flashed up it looked bad for a moment with a flat finish: no uphill run into the historic part of town? Fear not the alternative is just as good, instead of the medieval flagstones the race will showcase the sterrata, better known to cycling fans as the strade bianche gravel roads on the climb of the Alpe di Poti.

Giro Stage 9 profile TT Chianti

Stage 9 is the crucial time trial. It celebrates the Chianti wines but vines are not merely a backdrop, the propitious terrain for wine-making means rolling hills and exposed roads. It climbs with 750m of vertical gain but the climbs are steady and on large roads, this is a course for time trial specialists and where some need to put time into the climbers.

Giro Stage 10 Sestola profile

Stage 10 is a medium mountain stage with hard climbing later on, revisiting Sestola which featured in 2014 – Pieter Weening won – but with a different route to the finish.

Giro Stage 13 profile Friuli Veneto

Stage 13 is looks small compared to the high Alpine peaks but there’s still 3,400m of vertical gain and some tricky descents, especially later on. The Cima Porzus is 8km at 10% chased by the climb of Valle, 6km at 8%.

Giro Stage 14 profile Corvara Maratona Dolomites

Stage 14 is a marathon mountain stage, literally so as it borrows the route of the Maratona dles Dolomites gran fondo and RCS and the Maratona have worked together to make this happen. Look at the six-pack of the climbs: Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, Campolongo, Giau and Valparola.

Giro Stage 19 profile Risoul

Stage 19 sees the Tour d’Italie ride over to France, weather permitting, via the interminable Colle dell’Agnello, aka the Col d’Agnel before the summit finish to Risoul which last featured in the 2014 Tour de France. It’s 12.5km at 6.9% and on a steady, regular road and enough to tease apart the pretenders and contenders.

Giro Stage 20 profile

Stage 20 is the final mountain stage before the procession to Turin. It’s just 134km and starts in France, in fact it’s very reminiscent of the trend in the Tour de France to feature a short and spiky mountain stage as the last chance and should offer action from start to finish.

Giro Snow

Provisional route?
The Giro has had problems with snow in the mountains before and the 2016 route is almost provoking Mother Nature with a series of high altitude passes, several of which will have to be opened prematurely in order to let the race through. Take the Col d’Agnel on the Franco-Italian border, at 2,744m it’s Europe’s third highest mountain pass and it normally opens in June but will be climbed on 27 May. Risky? Yes but it’s first a question of sending the snow-ploughs up early, then crossing fingers because any Alpine ride in May means hoping for the best but the high altitude raises the risks.

Three TTs
Three solo time trials in one race but is this enough to tempt a stage racer away from the Tour de France? We’ll have to see the Tour route on 20 October which is likely to have two time trials anyway. For the Giro there maybe three stages but it’s just with 61km in total and the third time trial is a pure mountain climb.

Long Days
There are six stages over 200km and if several present little difficulty beyond the distance it means fatigue adds up like compound interest.

The maglia rosa will be sponsored by ENEL, Italy’s largest energy company and a coup for the race as it lands a giant corporate sponsor to replace the smaller biscuit maker Balocco.

Giro-Tour double
Stage race specialists have to make a choice between the Giro and the Tour and as discussed before this is a problem for RCS are Contador’s struggles in July mean those who want to win the Tour will skip the Giro, leaving the Italian race without a lot of star names. 2015 was already supposed to be more accommodating and “human” but there’s no way to make a grand tour easy. The lack of stars doesn’t make the race less exciting, it’s all about the relative contests between riders and teams and if anything it could bring more surprises.

Nibali Giro podium

The Contenders
Will Vincenzo Nibali ride? There’s the small matter of Astana team politics with him and Fabio Aru working out who does what next year regarding captaincy for the Tour de France. It seems Nibali is likely to ride the Giro and Aru the Tour as the Sardinian is in the ascendancy. Either way both are the obvious picks. The Giro’s problem is attracting others away from the Tour de France.

Geraint Thomas Team Sky Tour de Suisse

Team Sky have so many riders it’s a question of who is surplus to requirements for July. Will Geraint Thomas go all in for his tilt at a grand tour or perhaps it’s new signing Mikel Landa with Leopold König and Sergio Henao as Plan B options?

Richie Porte time trial

There are some riders who could win the Giro if all goes their way but right now the Tour de France looks beyond them. Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran come to mind, especially given their abilities against the clock. Uran is moving to Cannondale-Garmin and would have a whole team dedicated to supporting him in the venture while Porte’s choice is dependent on his aims for the Tour de France and the competing ambitions of Tejay van Garderen and Rohan Dennis. Orica-Greenedge will have to plan for Esteban Chaves and the Yates Brothers. Robert Gesink rode high in the Tour de France and could be tempted by a shot at the Giro podium.

There are locals like Domenico Pozzovivo who will be joined by team mate J-C Péraud while former Ag2r La Mondiale rider Carlos Betancur has the talent but does he have the appetite… to win? Could Thibaut Pinot try? He’s an excellent climber, time trials well, rides better in the cold than the heat and thrives in Italy plus this is a chance to lead a grand tour away from the pressure-cooker environment of July. But he’s French and leads a French team so it looks impossible.

51 thoughts on “2016 Giro d’Italia Route”

  1. My prediction. TVG to announce he’s very excited by all the kilometres against the clock and wants to have a crack at this Giro. Also that way he becomes the obvious plan B for BMC’s Tour de France considering Porte (based on this year at least) has the form.

    • I’d been thinking it’s good for him and others to win the Giro before going for the Tour but BMC want to count on him and he’s gradually improving every year, he was close the podium this year in the Tour de France and it’s too tempting to skip, especially as he’s American and the US market is so important to BMC.

      • I don’t understand why more teams don’t try to bring younger Tour hopefuls through with wins/podiums at the other grand tours first. Think how much richer Andy Schleck’s palmares could have looked if he had been given this treatment

        • Yes, exactly. How much better for someone like, say, Bardet (OK, so he’s French) to have a genuine chance of winning the Giro, rather than a genuine chance of a top 5 in the Tour. Same goes for Dumoulin – and hopefully he will, because G-A can put Barguil in the TDF. There are so many who fit into this category.
          As much as I’ve complained about it, perhaps that’s an advantage of a good rider joining Sky – they do tend to put someone in the Giro.
          As for TVG being close to the podium in this year’s Tour, Inner Ring, that remains an unproven, as there was still an awful lot of cycling to do before he got there.

    • I hope that’s the case (only because my national prejudice wants Porte to be plan A for the Tour) but other news sites have been saying that Porte is going to the Giro.

      If this ends up the case, you wonder if it was worth leaving sky.

      • It’s worth leaving Sky to ensure that you have teammates for a wheel change in case of a puncture. BMC might not be the greatest GC team in the high mountains but on all other parcours they surround their team leader.

        • Well then lets hope Porte has learned 2 valuable lessons from the Giro: 1) dont dive off at the very last second to the opposite side of the roundabout from your team mates when you know you have a puncture. and 2) dont take a wheel from another team’s rider

          Learn from the above and he might do OK

    • Maybe he wants to do the Tour de France instead? After the Vuelta he’s staked a good claim especially as the Tour looks set to have two time trials. The first Dutchman to wear yellow since Breukink?

      • Perhaps you’re right. With Marcel Kittel gone, team Giant-Alpecin might want to have Dumoulin in the biggest race of the year… Though I think his chances in the Giro are much better, due to lesser competition /attention

      • Dumoulin did say after the Vuelta that his primary target for 2016 was the Olympics time trial.
        That will be in late Summer.
        Doing the Giro in May, with the opportunities against the clock and the start in Holland, may be a better possibility rather than the Tour a month or so later ?

        Any lessons learned from his Vuelta / WC ITT experiences (weight, power, fatigue) will be crucial, I feel.
        I’d like to see him try this Giro, and Giant Alpecin are adding climbers to their 2016 squad, so who knows ?
        It would be great to get that Vuelta dynamic again though (sorry Larry T !).

        • All fair points, but the Tour-Olympics example of Wiggins says that in theory it can be done.

          However, a Giro-Olympics-Vuelta-Worlds season may offer more chances at success than a purely Tour-Olympics one.

          • True, though Sky and Wiggins did have the weight / power thing off to a T then.
            And the 2012 Olympics were just a short trip across the Channel.
            Rio TT is on 10 August 2016, so quite tight after TdF.

            Dumoulin did indicate that he was prepared to put his GC chances on the back burner next year. Maybe his team and sponsors have other thoughts !
            Again, the Giro could be a compromise.
            It’s good that the Giro route offers a viable alternative for many in Olympic year.

  2. Gesink said in the Dutch press he wants to do the Giro, because the first part is the part of the Netherlands where he grew up. He thinks about doing the Tour in a more domestique role.

  3. What about Dumoulin as a contender? With the TT focus, start in the Netherlands and climbing being tough but not brutal surely this parcours would suit him and be a good opportunity for him to lead a team focused on the GC (good to see Giant have signed Ten Dam as a loyal domestique). As well as he did in the Vuelta is he really a great shout against Froome, Contador et al in peak form at the tour?

  4. Right as it has been leaked by Italian website Cicloweb some days ago… (I am not a staff nor a community member there, but I consider it’s fine to acknowledge that it was them who got the scoop – as most international press did, unlike the Italian one which readily copypasted to “ride the news”, but always omitting the source). Terrible graphics for the website, but worth a read if you’re familiar with Italian.

    That said, uhmmm, regression toward the mean, I guess. Last year was too perfect to be equalled.

    They take huge risks with this course, which is interesting but borderline. If it works, we’ll get fireworks – if it doesn’t, well we could easily get some three weeks of limited action. Some could say that it’s always like that, but, no, it’s probabilistic. An excellent course (like last years’) has got better chances to be lively.

    For example, we’ve got only *one* uphill finish longer than 10 kms. And it’s… 11 kms (Risoul). We’ve got very often downhill finales, which I love, but, hey, *six out of eleven* stages defined as high or medium mountain are actually downhill finishes! Not that the remaining five are pure uphill finishes as such: Sestola isn’t (7,4 kms barely averging 5%?!), which won’t prevent it from being a great classics-like stage out of pure length and hellish final 100 kms, but, definitely, not a great climb to make the definitive selection; both Andalo and Sant’Anna present a similar pattern: a Tour-style more or less lengthy 7-7,5% climb, then a recovery phase with a descent, itself of significant length (about 40% of the previous climb), a punchy finale with some 3 uphill kms.
    All that means that riders will have to *force* selection, slipstream will play a relevant role even uphill. If the climbers will go all out from far to undermine the ITT men who will probably be up in GC, will get a great spectacle. Yet, the risk of a procession until a sort of last hour sprint is high – I guess they must be *very* sure that Nibali will take part.

    In both the last week, five stars, decisive stages the risk of snow could reduce the significance of the stage as such, since it’s very hard to devise a comparable alternative course. Same zone, consecutive days: you’re concentrating the risks – if you’re lucky you win all, but if you aren’t, poor Giro: two out of three high mountain stages are gone!
    Bad weather apart, both the Agnello and the Bonette are really far from the finale: they’re separated from the following and final difficulty by some 40-45 kms. A bit too much. Again, it makes defense way easier than attacking and places a huge stress on tactics, especially teamwork. Great, but perhaps two different approaches would have been more promising.

    The dreaded “Giro climbs”, with long stretches around 10% of average gradient, aren’t very common in the 2016 route, if I’m not wrong. We’ve got shorter and steep slopes, but, say 4-5 kms around 10% are to be found only in three occasions, Porzus, Giau and Agnello, always quite far from the finale (30, 40 and 55 kms to the finish – the harder, the further).

    Fine ITTs, but the not-a-prologue and the uphill ITT lack a bit of *flavour*, IMHO. Yet, a welcome dosis of ITT kms, generally speaking. Not a huge quantity, but that’s balanced by a course that’s not terribile when climbs are concerned, as I said above. Bad idea, from a TV POV, to place ITTs in two out of four Sundays (the other are sprint stages!). Really hard to understand. I love ITTs, but they don’t usually produce top audiences.

    Once again, the stages I look forward to are the tricky ones, both those for finisseurs and punchy riders and those who could create dangerous GT situations although they aren’t “five stars”.

    All in all, a *big* responsibility is placed on riders, to make this work. They’ll be helped by a nearly absolute lack of transfers from stage to stage. Nearly every night, there will be a suitable hotel very near both to the previous finish and to the following start. That’s really fine, and it helps spectators (at least, Italian ones) to feel the sense of a trip and create some narrative through continuity – as I said, you need to be familiar with Italian geography, I suppose.

    • When the Italians change their parcours, there’s usually a reason 🙂

      I read that Elia Viviani is already talking of Giro / Olympics as 2016 goals.
      Looking at the dates of the Olympics (Aug 5 – 21), could this play a role in the Giro attracting more riders away from TdF this year – and the course offers more than usual to all types of riders ?
      And could we even see *gasp* the appearance of the new World Champion in the Giro ?

      • This is a really important factor next year – the Olympics. Many riders seem to fancy their chances on the Rio course for the road race, and the likes of Viviani are shooting for gold on the track.

        The Giro could well benefit.

    • I don’t much care for ITT so perhaps this is why (upon quick inspection anyway) we differ? I like this route, with the exception of the silly foreign excursion at the start. They should have put some sterrata into the Tuscany chrono stage, but overall I can’t complain, especially as they cover a lot of climbs and roads we’ve enjoyed past and present with our cycling tours. As to who shows up and who doesn’t and the weather – all we can do is wait and see. I’m biased as hell of course but La Corsa Rosa rarely (2009 was a dud in many ways, but not entirely) fails to excite me, even with the current Facebook crew at the helm. Bring back ZOMEGNAN!!!

    • With the shorter, steeper climbs and TT’s, I wonder if they are trying to entice Froome to ride.

      I too wonder about the downhill finishes delivering an action-packed ending. I guess we’ll all find out!

      I have preferred the Giro over the others for some time now and look forward to it again.

      • Fat chance. Those who pay his fat salary want him riding the Tour, not the Giro. He got a slap down last year over his hissy fit when the Tour route was announced.

        He’ll be lining up in Apeldoorn, assuming no injuries beforehand.

        • It will also be interesting to see how Froome, and other riders, manage the lucrative post-Tour criteriums with the Olympics so close at hand.
          They’re probably mutually exclusive actually.

          • The criteriums are embarrassing – particularly when you earn as much as Froome does.
            Olympic years aside, he should focus on preparing for the Vuelta, post-Tour and try to do the double, rather than his already bulging bank balance. Frankly, his team should insist on it.

          • See also: Cavendish’s shill-ing for the Abu Dhabi shilling – “What a way to finish the race season for everyone.” That’s not the end of the season, Mark. And the real race on the 11th is in France.

            As an aside – but also mourning the death of tradition (my support for Paris-Tours isn’t just about tradition, it’s about continuity: one can look back over previous winners, the history, etc.; rather than just throw it away for short term financial gain) – apparently Kiriyenka has the option to wear black shorts with his rainbow jersey, so is there any truth in Tinkoff-Saxo claiming that the UCI had banned these for Sagan? (Always sounded like horse manure.)

          • It’ll be interesting. There are 2 weeks between the Champs and the Mens RR in Rio. But countries will want riders out in Rio at least a week before to acclimatise etc. I think Froome etc may have to forgo the post-Tour crits next year.

          • Re: Kiriyenka, it’s not that he’s choosing to wear black shorts with the rainbow jersey. The regulations (1.3.067 to be precise) say that “The wearer of the world champion’s jersey shall be entitled to match the colour of his shorts to that of the jersey”. In other words, they can have white shorts (or presumably some all-rainbow concoction), otherwise they have to wear their approved team shorts (under reg. 1.3.035).

            As it happens, Kiriyenka’s standard team kit has black shorts, so he can keep them while wearing the rainbow jersey. But he’s not choosing a new option of black; rather he’s not taking up the option of white.

            Sagan, on the other hand, had the choices of white or the previously approved Tinkoff fluoro. The only way for him to wear black is for Tinkoff to go for predominately black shorts next year. I got the impression from Armitstead’s tweets that Boels-Dolman were planning to do so for her.

    • Yes, it is short on climbing – although so was the final week of this year’s Vuelta and that was the only interesting part of the race.
      But too little climbing, I’d say, although it makes a change for a grand tour.
      More worrying are the number of short climbs: I really hope we don’t end up watching something like the last few Vueltas, where the action is all in the last half hour.
      Certainly, Dumoulin will struggle to find a parcours more suited to him.
      And you’re right, they really need to learn to put the big mountain days on the w/e – when TV will generally show more hours of racing too – and not the TTs, which just aren’t much of spectacle.

    • There is quite a lot of riding at over 2,000m in there. Obviously that gives rise to the weather risk, but if those stages aren’t snowed off, perhaps there’ll be the potential for quite large time gaps as riders won’t be too used to racing at that altitude?

  5. I fancy Aru to do Giro to try and win another grand tour before trying for the tour.. Don’t think he is on same level as Froome & Nairo yet anyway.. Winning Giro would also further enhance reputation in Italy.. That would leave Nibali to ride Tour with one eye on Olympics!

    • I agree that Aru , like any young rider could use more GT experience before taking on the pressure cooker of the Tour. However, he is one of the only riders to actually beat Froome in a heads up duel. Twice, I believe at the 2014 Vuelta. Stage 11 and 18.

  6. Other sources state that Nibali is doing the Giro, and Aru the Tour. I like the look of the route, all those uphill finishes at the Vuelta got very samey. This is varied and will suit an alrounder. Definitely not one for Purito! I like all the descending, it’s a bit different and will bring spectacle. Who knows, it might even tempt Savoldelli out of retirement?!

  7. The Maratona is celebrating 30 years, that can’t be a coincidence. Well done to the Maratona organisers to get the Giro there, pretty much riding the same course! Eduard Tavella must be proud.

  8. Looks less like a mountain climber’s course compared to last Vuelta and if Tom Dumoulin is considering a grand tour this seems like a natural fit and allows time for the olympics. Dumoulin was a surprize and I think a lot of people can hardly wait to see him race 3 weeks again. And there can be an argument made that Dumoulin benefits if there are mountain stages which get shortened due to weather.

    Against Aru, too.

    It’s gonna be a long wait.

  9. Seems like one of the more sprinter friendly Grand Tours of late, especially considering the front-loading of sprint stages. I for one would be happy to see the Giro with a stronger field of sprinters than the B-lists they have fielded lately.

    • This does look much more like a traditional grand tour than what has been the norm of late, although it is still fairly light on TT miles. Sprinters have had a bit of a rough deal with routes lately so a few of them might be pleased with this. A Cav/Kittel/Greipel showdown would be very nice indeed, as well as the Giro regulars Viviani, Modolo and Nizzolo.

  10. Thanks for the preview – impressively rapid work. Looks a good, well-balanced course. If anything, a slight lack of summit finishes.
    Little mention of the mountain time trial – with ~9km of climbing out of 10.8km, it should have quite an impact.
    A few good descents to tempt Nibali. I’d have thought that both he and Aru would prefer to ride the Giro – knowing that they’re much more likely to win it. Certainly, Nibali’s been talking about wanting to do it for a while.
    I agree that having a ‘second-string’ of riders doesn’t diminish the spectacle – there are many with a good chance, even if Nibali rides.
    Landa is a much stronger bet than Thomas, as a proven three-week rider. Porte and Uran should be consistent, although you never know with Porte in the third week. Would be good to see Yates2 and Chaves really go for it.
    Riders should go for it – riders like Pinot and Gesink – why scrabble for 5th in the Tour (sponsors aside, for Pinot)? Same goes for Valverde: ride the Giro and the Vuelta, and have a final proper tilt at winning another grand tour.
    I shall miss Balocco – it was nice having a biscuit-maker as the sponsor; certainly more so than an ‘energy giant’.

  11. Why is Valverde not interested in the Giro? Would think this suits him well, he’ll make up in descents and TTs what he loses on Agnello surely. I know he’s never gone for the Giro, but did wonder why?

    • His ostensible love of coming third?
      He must know he’s never going to win the Tour, so why not do Giro and Vuelta? But the same was true of this year.
      Some teams need to sit their riders down and tell them to shelve their egos.

      • I agree with the comments about the olympics, certainly this must be going through Nibali’s head and who knows, maybe valverde who has good tt pedigree to boot. I think it’s too much to race to win the tour then travel to Brazil with medal hopes in the RR – we shall see. Perhaps riders like Cummings and the other opportunists could do both as they’ll still have gas in the tank.

    • Because he won’t give up on either the Tour or the Vuelta. If he wasn’t so fixated on the Tour he could have possibly won more than the one Vuelta a Spanish “neutral” service mechanic gifted him in 2009 by not always arriving tired after the TDF.

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