Ciao, here’s an overview of all the Giro stages. There’s the stage profile and a short preview for every day, as well as more on TV coverage and the big stages to watch.
If you want this info over the coming weeks it’s also at inrng.com/giro and available via the fixed “Giro d’Italia” link at the top of the page for desktop users or the drop-down menu for mobile browsers.
Last year’s route suited the climbers, this year’s even more so with just 26km of time trials, the fewest since 1962… when the route didn’t have a TT stage but this reflects the trend in recent years where summit finishes don’t create big time gaps while even a short time trial can put minutes between the GC contenders. As usual the summit finishes get bigger and bigger leading to the Alpine third week. This time there are more chances for the sprinters compared to the past two editions too.
Stage 1 – Friday 6 May
A road stage to Visegrad and an uphill finish to the castle, it’s a touch reminiscent of the Namur citadel finish of the GP de Wallonie but longer and on a wide tarmac road. Here it’s five kilometres at 5% but the slope bites towards the top. This is a stage open to many, from in-form sprinters who can surf a slipstream all the way to the top, to punchy riders and the GC contenders too.
Stage 2 – Saturday 7 May
A time trial over 9.2km, it’s a big boulevard course designed to show off Budapest. The final kilometre includes cobbles with a steep kick up to the finish.
Stage 3 – Sunday 8 May
A sprint stage that ends on the shores of Lake Balaton.
Stage 4 – Tuesday 10 May
After travel to Sicily and a rest day for the riders, a summit finish atop Mount Etna. It’s to the same site where Jan Polanc won in 2017, but to get there it’s climbed from the other side and there’s a steep middle section. Ideally it should provide an early skirmish among the GC contenders without big time gaps but Etna is a 22km climb and this could shape the whole race.
Stage 5 – Wednesday 11 May
The Giro has a lot of vertical gain and days like this help the count, the Mandrazzi climb is gentle but goes on for some time. It also offers the breakaway some mountains points and the stage should be for the sprinters.
Stage 6 – Thursday 12 May
A trip up the citrus tree packed coastline for the sprinters.
Stage 7 – Friday 13 May
An intriguing route with over 4,500m of vertical gain, as much as any Alpine stage and constant climbing and descending. With the TT and the Etna summit finish some will be well down on GC so there’s a good chance for the breakaway and for the current race leader post Budapest TT/Etna summit to lease the maglia rosa for a week to someone else. There’s a steep uphill finish in town but don’t expect medieval streets and flagstones, it’s a big road between large apartment blocks in the strange town of Potenza, a city in the mountains where locals ride escalators to get about.
Stage 8 – Saturday 15 May
A circuit race around Naples, a hilly 19km loop repeated six times, it’d make a good worlds circuit.
Stage 9 – Sunday 15 May
The big Blockhaus summit finish awaits. “Summit” of sorts as it only finishes at 1650m when the top of the road goes to 2,000m. But it’s enough, Nairo Quintana won here last time in 2017, beating Thibaut Pinot and the surprise of Tom Dumoulin. Talking of surprises, the race came here in 1967 and an infamous newspaper headline the next day was “Un velocista belga supera i nostri scalatori“, or “Belgian sprinter beats our climbers”… the young Eddy Merckx of course.
Stage 10 – Tuesday 17 May
A gentle start after the rest day up the Adriatic coast before turning inland. The hills of the Marche are steep (and often cracked and potholed) and a lot of sprinters can be dropped. The race borrows some roads from Tirreno-Adriatico and passes through Filottrano to pay tribute to the late Michele Scarponi.
Stage 11 – Wednesday 18 May
A sprint stage and a classic, of sorts, as the Giro takes the Via Emilia Roman road once again. It’s being dubbed the food stage and will promote the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Stage 12 – Thursday 19 May
Another intriguing route in the arid Ligurian hills behind Genoa because the final can reward attacks. The route’s been changed and softened a touch since the presentation last November and this is now the longest stage too, just. Monte Bocco’s not a hard climb but it’s the accumulation of climbs and twisting descents that should make for some sport. Away from racing the day will use the new San Giorgio bridge, built after the Ponte Morandini disaster.
Stage 13 – Friday 20 May
The day starts in Sanremo and traces the route of La Primavera backwards for a while before heading inland – still on the Sanremo route but the exceptional edition of 2020 – to tackle the Colle di Nava and the outside chance a team forces the pace to eject any struggling sprinters. But with 100km to go there’s a likely sprint in Cuneo with the Alps now visible on the horizon.
Stage 14 – Saturday 21 May
Another circuit race, this time it’s got the Superga climb outside Torino and its sister climb across the same ridge, the Colle della Maddalena, plus the Santa Brigida climb and more. It’s only 153km but there’s 3750m of vertical gain and all on twisting roads, there’s little time to rest at all.
Stage 15 – Sunday 22 May
A mountain stage into the Aosta valley and instead of riding straight up the valley, the route rolls like a snowboarder in a half-pipe. First it’s up to the left for the Pila ski lift, then back down to the valley floor, then up to the right and back down. They’re both hard climbs and have been used by the U23 Giro della Valle d’Aosta race. The final one to Cogne is more of a gradual drag on the whole but you’d hesitate to call it a big ring climb because of the steep start. It’s the sort of place where Richard Carapaz could power away from the pure climbers and the race goes out of Cogne to finish in Lillaz, just as the Giro della Valle d’Aosta race did last summer.
Stage 16 – Tuesday 24 May
A huge day in the mountains, a reported 5,440m of vertical gain and at 200km, the longest of the mountain stages this year and presumably the longest day on the bike. Sure the Mortirolo is climbed via the easier side from Nonno but it’s still hard, plenty of 8%. The road to Teglio is marked as a sprint but it’s a tough climb to get there and the final Santa Cristina climb is almost always above 10% for the second half.
Stage 17 – Wednesday 25 May
The day starts up the Tonale, a chance for the breakaway to go clear but the battle could go on during the descent and the steep climb to Giovo could be needed. The “Passo del Vetriolo” is a tough, awkward climb – although the name’s an invention by the Giro, seemingly no such place exists on the ground – and the descent is toboggan-style to the valley and then comes the Menador climb to Monte Rovere, the Kaiserjägerweg road and one of the fringe benefits of history as this was an old military road, once built to kill but now a scenic ride up the cliffside and through narrow tunnels.
Stage 18 – Thursday 26 May
A sprint interlude and active recovery day of 151km but we’ll see which sprinters remain in the race and whether the breakaway can have an advantage. The Ca’ del Poggio wall features to spice things up but there’s 50km to get it together before Treviso.
Stage 19 – Friday 27 May
A detour to Slovenia, the new Yorkshire, but first a dash through Buja, a village of sorts, perhaps even a collection of villages, but home to Il Rosso di Buja, Alessandro de Marchi, so guess who is going in the breakaway? Listed as a mid-mountain stage, you can make a good argument to delete the mid- prefix. Kolovrat is Slovenian for “spinning wheel” but good luck spinning your wheels here as it’s 10km of 10%. The final climb is 7km at 5% but note the dip in the middle, the final 4km are a more selective 7-8%.
Stage 20 – Saturday 28 May
The last hurrah in the mountains and a big day. There’s an early climb thrown in before a dash up the valley into the Dolomites and the steady San Pellegrino and Pordoi climbs before the mean Marmolada and its double-digit gradients. Weather permitting.
Stage 21 – Sunday 39 May
Verona and déjà vu with the same course where Chad Haga won in 2019 complete with the arena finish and where Primož Roglič overhauled Mikel Landa – of course – to climb onto the podium.
The unmissable stages
Anything can happen during the Giro but there are some stages that matter more than others, some suggestions for the must-watch days:
- Stage 1 because the maglia rosa is there for the taking
- Stage 4 with the Etna summit finish and to see if any GC bids come unstuck early
- Stage 9 for the Blockhaus summit finish
- Stage 14’s circuit race around the Superga makes for a hard race
- Stage 16 because of the Mortirolo and Cristina climbs, the tappone
- Stage 17 with more climbing and some tricky mountain backroads
- Stage 20 for the San Pellegrino, Pordoi and Marmolada trilogy
- Stage 21 as the final TT to settle the race
All stages will be broadcast live from start to finish although we’ll see what this brings, it happened last year and the early phase sometimes had “lite” production means until the big show started later. After the fiasco of missing TV images last year because of wet weather, the production’s been outsourced from RAI to Euromedia who do the Tour de France coverage for France Télévisions which means if it rains we should still get the pictures.
Italian host broadcaster RAI offers the richest coverage with experienced commentators as well as roving reporters on motorbikes to add extra coverage, it’s on TV and radio in Italy and the geo-restricted website RAI.it. It’s also on Eurosport-GCN for English-language coverage. The timing varies but as a rule the finish is expected for around 5.15pm CEST each day.