Giro d’Italia Route

The 2024 Giro d’Italia route has been published and here is a stage-by-stage look with all the profiles on one page and also some wider thoughts on the course. It looks easier, will it be better? Can organisers RCS tempt Tadej Pogačar to start?

Stage 1 – Saturday 4 May

Back to Torino, the industrial city at the foot of the Alps which hosted the start in 2019. It’s home to RCS boss and media mogul Urbano Cairo. The Giro struggles to get attention in Italy sometimes because of the final weeks of the football season, even amid the pages of house newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport. Here the race leans into the football theme with the Superga climb which will bring action but also evokes history, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the air disaster that wiped out a local football team. The Superga and Maddalena combo recall the thrilling 2022 stage won by Simon Yates but this time it’s just one climb of each rather than laps but that’s plenty for an opening day.

Stage 2 – Sunday 5 May

A scenic ride, the summit finish gets the attention but it’s via the “Zegna Oasis”, park created by the eponymous fashion designer before the Oropa summit finish. Listed as 11.8km at 6.2%, this includes the easy roads out of Biella that lead to a fierce 7km section that almost never goes below 8% as it winds up through the woodland with steep hairpins and passing signs to commemorate Marco Pantani’s win in 1999 shortly before he was ejected from the race because of his blood values.

Stage 3

Monday and a sprint stage as the race crosses the plains. Until fast finish in Fossano the likely talking point will be food and wine as it passes risotto rice fields and plenty of vineyards.

Stage 4

A start in Acqui Terme, famous for its “boiling spring” since Roman days but the race won’t reach boiling point until late as it crosses over the Ligurian hills to the Mediterranean and then takes up the Milan-Sanremo course from Savona to Andora, just after the Capo Mele.

Stage 5

After the previous day’s Milan-Sanremo déjà vu, more familiar roads with the Passo del Bracco, this time taken in the opposite direction to the 2023 Giro and then a finish in Lucca in one of the regional heartlands of Italian cycling. A likely sprint stage, especially if the weather’s pleasant.

Stage 6

The sterrato or strade bianche stage with three sections totalling 11.6km in the hills to the south of Siena. It’s a more gentle day than the 2021 stage to Montalcino but there’s still almost 2,000m of vertical gain. The second half of the stage is much more than the gravel bits with plenty of twisty roads and ramps.

Stage 7

The first time trial stage and the profile says it all, flat for 30km before 3km at 7% into Perugia. Two time trial stages in this race are an invitation to hulking homeland hero Filippo Ganna but can come at the expense of explosive climber Giulio Ciccone.

Stage 8 – Saturday 11 May

A hard day with 3,850m of vertical gain. Prato di Tivo’s been a regular in Tirreno-Adriatico, eg 2021, and hosts the second summit finish of the Giro. It’s a long climb on a wide road, a ski station summit finish of sorts but with a wild feel as it’s remote. Once again near the Gran Sasso, RCS will be praying there’s no headwind so as to avoid this year’s anticlimactic outcome to nearby Campo Imperatore.

Stage 9 – Sunday 12 May

The Giro is back to Napoli for the third year in a row and this time a possible sprint finish but with some tricky roads in the finale, no dragster finish. First via the volcanic campi flegrei said to be more risky than Vesuvius, then into the urban streets where the peloton has its own risk. At 206km it’s the longest stage of the opening week.

Stage 10

A start in Pompeii and the race reaches its southernmost point before heading north into the Matese hills and a summit finish on the Bocca della Selva, a long climb but rarely steep, a big ring kind of climb and a probable breakaway day but only 141km.

Stage 11

A sprint stage.

Stage 12

A fun stage with some of the wall climbs of Tirreno-Adriatico but none of the wildest ramps. There are six categorised climbs but more unmarked ones.

Stage 13

A sprint stage.

Stage 14 – Saturday 18 May

The second time trial stage and inland on rural, twisting roads where a good line saves seconds.

Stage 15 – Sunday 19 May

The tappone. In a Giro of shortened stages this is the longest stage of the race. A 220km marathon and 5,200m of vertical gain and, via an excursion on Swiss tarmac, goes to Mottolino, not so much a ski resort as a ski piste – for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Livigno. It’s via the main road to the Passo Eira, then a turn onto a small service road with sections from 9-17%. As a one way road up, the rest day after is planned to allow more time to get the race infrastructure down the mountain.

Stage 16

The Eira again and then Stelvio from Bormio and the Cima Coppi high point, but early in the stage and the springboard for a breakaway. Then a long procession into South Tyrol and Italy’s German-speaking corner ending in a summit finish above Ortisei with gentler gradients to start and then 3km at over 10% on the Panastraße.

Stage 17

The Dolomites and 4,100m of climbing compressed into 159km with the famous Selva and Rolle passes before the “new” Passo Brocon, climbed once from the north then a descent to the south before climbing back up another version of the southern flank. The stats on the profile say the first time is easier but the second time up is more uneven and has some steeper parts, neither side is savage.

Stage 18

A sprint stage as the race exits the mountains for a day via the prosecco vineyards. Arguably more importantly it’s an active rest day for the GC contenders who can recover a bit for the upcoming days.

Stage 19

A day for the breakaway? Surely that’s the base case on a stage with 2,700m that’s open to many types of rider but it’s also ambush territory on the off chance a rider has a slender lead and a rival with a strong team wants to hammer things.

Stage 20 – Saturday 25 May
Two ascents of Monte Grappa, 18km at an average of 8.1% but that’s with two brief downhills on the way so it’s more often 9% or more, especially on the upper slopes. The descents matter as much as the climbs, tricky in places.

Stage 21 – Sunday 26 May

A copycat stage of this year’s finish with a start in the Eur district and then the Roman criterium finish.

The Verdict
Duro but not durissimo in the words of RAI TV pundit Stefano Garzelli, hard but not very hard. Grand tours touring they’re higher, further, tougher always need a reset every few years but this could mark a change in style for the Giro with reduced distances likely to be a feature. The idea is riders will be less tired and willing to attack more, a reaction to two slow burn editions that maintained TV audiences but didn’t wow the crowds.

There are only four stages longer than 200km. 200 is just a round number and of course the time taken counts more. So while there were six stages over 200km last year, there were several more around the 190km mark such that the average distance, excluding TTs and the Rome criterium, was 193km. For 2024 it’ll be 173km. It is a much shorter Giro than before. Flatter too with 42,900m of vertical gain, this is partly a function of a shorter course but by design too, there’s 8,000m less than 2023 making it the least amount since 2010.

All the same it’s not a revolutionary Giro route, the stages aren’t that short and it’s not swapped the Alps for mid-mountains. It’s a cliché to describe the Giro as “backloaded” and it’s true once again, the third week in the Alps remains decisive. The risk remains that riders mark each other, biding their time while hoping rivals will fall away but hopefully it’s more lively. Let’s pray the sun shines.

The two time trials and reduced climbing might tempt Geraint Thomas again. Aleksandr Vlasov is fresh in the memory from his punchy riding in Lombardia but is less memorable as a GC contender but can still do it. João Almeida? Mentioning UAE brings us to the big question of whether this easier Giro can attract a star rider who fancies their chances at the Tour de France too? The course is a factor and we know the Giro pays appearance fees too but being easier is relative, especially if this means the race is ridden harder and a finisher wants to compete at the Tour de France.

The rumour mill chatter is Tadej Pogačar and his UAE team are being wooed by Giro organisers RCS. With the Tour de France treading on the Giro’s toes with the start in Bologna and racing via Torino, luring the Slovenian champ would be a riposte from RCS. But can UAE afford to go into the Tour de France for two years running without Pogačar in peak condition? No matter how easier this Giro might be, it’s still hard and awkward in terms of timing with less than five weeks between the finish in Rome and the start in Bologna. Still aiming for the double could suit everyone as if Pogačar comes in undercooked to the Giro then an al dente version might not run away with pink jersey and every selective stage along the way, plus there’d be less pressure in July where stage wins rather than yellow would be the yardstick by which he’d be measured. Lots of questions and it’s a dynamic, game theory scenario where if Pogačar does not start the Giro then rival teams might send more resources to the Giro, much like Ineos deploying their A-team in the Giro rather than the Tour this year although they all know getting a look-in at the Tour de France against Vingegaard, Evenepoel and Roglič is a tall order too. For now nobody’s said they’re doing the Giro so we’ll await the Tour route out the week after next and then the likely declarations over winter.

The 18 WorldTeams start. The best two ProTeams on the UCI rankings, Lotto-Dstny and Israel-PremierTech, get invites but will they both ride? The Belgian team sat out the Giro this year could repeat after a busy home classics season. We’ll see and there are two invites for RCS to allocate. Given the time trial stages are branded “Tudor time trial stages” it’s a safe bet to assume Tudor Pro Cycling is coming and pay-to-play arguments aside they’re a decent pick with De Klein for the sprints and Michael Storer in the mountains. Finally there’s UCI rule 2.1.007 that “the organiser of a Grand Tour must guarantee the participation in the race of at least one UCI WorldTeam or UCI ProTeam from the country of the organiser” and so it’s got to be an Italian team, take your pick between Corratec, Green Project-Bardiani and Eolo-Kometa which should be renamed Team Polti although a promised presentation due for September didn’t happen.

56 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Route”

  1. Thanks for the preview – if we assume that Vingegaard, Pogacar, Remco and Roglic will do the Tour (and Olympics afterwards) then the Giro has a real problem attracting the top riders next year.

    • Good point on the Olympics as doing the Tour will probably help and while the course is more for punchy classics riders….that’s Pogačar and the TT will tempt the other three.

      We’ll see with Pogačar. He might attack rather than sit tight on days when everyone is waiting for action but if he’s minutes ahead after two time trials and a couple of summit finishes it might be one of those “be careful what you wish for” scenarios for RCS.

  2. Overall, I really like the course design, but I think there’s a real risk that stages 15 and 16 are either shortened or diverted in some way. I really hope that RCS invest in snow removal early and often. It’ll be really frustrating if we have a queen stage mangled two years in a row.

  3. Fans with an eagle eye noticed that the maps of several stages didn’t correspond to the final profile but to harder versions. In fact, sometimes these same stages now make little sense. Will the climbs be brought back before May? Or was RCS just forced to go for a lighter a version?
    An easy course, let’s hope that it will be a serious race, which isn’t prevented as such by a modest route, although I suspect that’s not really the way to go for organisers. Every time in the past the Giro was struggling, they tended to go with the option of “lighter courses”, whereas what eventually worked at the end of the day was rather the other way around (not alone, of course).

        • Sunday – care to be more specific as to what editions those were? I struggle to understand what people like you want – a Tour de France…but in May…and in Italy…with all the same riders and teams as Le Grand Boucle in July?

          • It was gabriele´s – in my opinion well-informed and balanced – opinion, not mine.

            Besides, it´s not a question of what “people like me” want, it´s about what the Giro organizers wanted (and sought to achieve by going with the option of “lighter courses”, as gabriele put it).

  4. Not much gentler gradients above Ortisei, the Monte Pana is a wall of sort. But short. Having chosen the easiest version of Pinei, this calls for an uphill 2K long sprint for the GC men (the break will have fought it out a quarter of hour before). Meh.

    Well, or not. Maybe RCS is going for some sort of crazy show like Jumbo-Visma trying to make Wout win the overall maglia rosa with every sort of circus display… that would be fun, although more WWF than cycling. In that sense, we can expect literally everything, so who cares about the stages?

    • You’re right, Pana is steep as they turn off the main road for the final climb.

      Van Aert? Surely he’s craving a win in the classics. But hard to pick a winner among the other contenders, or to know who rides.

      • Hindley now Roglic will have bagsied the Tour for Bora? Ciccone if he doesn’t get ill or crash in the build up? Geoghegan-Hart? Maybe Ayuso? Kuss or anyone in a black and yellow kit? Giro’s with no obvious pick tend to be the better ones.

  5. This seems to be a GT with lots of sprinting opportunities. Any good sprinter but especially one who can get over a small hill should want this on their programme. Although it felt last year that even with some sprint stages at the giro and Vuelta that a number of teams where not interested leaving the field a little bare compared to normal.

  6. Help me out with a geography question (from a different continent), I thought Andora was in Spain. A casual mention of Andora (stage 4) here seems a bit odd.

    • Not to be confused with the Principality of Andorra.

      “The name of the city would be linked to a popular tradition[6], a tale that tells the sad story of Andalora. Legend has it that the Saracen prince Al Kadir, during a raid along the Ligurian coast, saw the beautiful Andalora (which means golden land) and wanted to kidnap her, tying her to the mast of his ship.

      Her betrothed, Stefanello, reached her at night, while the ship was moored near Capo Mele, but in a vain attempt to free her he was discovered and killed. Andalora, out of pain and in order not to remain in the hands of the Saracens, threw himself into the sea. The sacrifice of the two young men, again according to legend, pushed Prince Al Kadir to convert to the Christian faith. Since then the two neighboring towns of Andora and Stellanello have carried these names in memory of the two young people.”

  7. Pity they didn’t take up the three weekends idea and give themselves a point of differentiation. If they must have a rest day they could start on a Friday.

  8. Another very very poorly designed Giro. It is unbelieavable that having such a great country with so much potential they keep coming up with such crap. First two weeks look awful again, the Stelvio stage is a joke and why the hell do they end the Grappa stage with a descent? I could go on and on but can’t be bothered anymore.

      • It is, it really is and the more I look at it, the worse I find it. Where is there supposed to be some GC action apart from the TTs? The climbs are not selective at all. The mountaintop finishes are big ring climbs. I rode the Brocon just one day before the root was announced and it is not tough at all. Long yes, but mostly 6-8%. Grappa has a long downhill. Sappada and Valcalva are very easy. Livigno maybe, but then again the long drag up the Bernina is exposed and prone to wind, so we may have another stalemate. If Evenepoel rides it, he will run away with a win on the TTs alone. I can’t see how they want to tempt Pogacar with such a course design.

  9. I find it hard to judge a route from these profiles. All I’ll say is, in this years Giro there were quite a lot of mediocre stages where there was a sort of fairly easy climb early or midway in the stage and then a run down to a flat finish. There seems to be quite a few in this one too.

  10. Cian Uijtdebroeks complaining that he is not getting the support from Bora that he needs to improve his TTing. Important, given that the Giro is his target. I wonder if we can read anything into this 😉

    • Dirty washing in public! Straight from the Evenepoel playbook and letting rip out of frustration. Bora and Specialised paying his wages won’t appreciate.

  11. If Pog wants to win the Tour (which I assume is the case), then doing the Giro first is a terrible idea. Add in the Olympics and it seems even more crazy that he would try to stretch his form for the Giro.

  12. Regardless of the design of the Giro, it could turn into the most fun of the GT’s next year, as anyone who wants to get a GT jersey will have to do the Giro (or Vuelta).
    One of the 4 big names will win the Tour jerseys except the green and Philipsen, if he’s got this years’ form, will win that.

    • I can remember Bernal winning the 2021 Giro and many of us looking forward to the 2022 Tour with him against Pogačar and others only it didn’t happen. We can often look forward to these big clashes at the Tour but they’re far from certain to happen, having all four in peak condition at the start in Bologna is a big ask, no?

      • One pothole, one stray dog or somebody with a cardboard sign and someone’s season can be over, but it’s back to the problem of the Tour being so much bigger then the other GT’s. If they’re not doing the Tour, then it’s more then likely they’re sitting at home injured and not doing the Giro instead.
        Remco’s been chomping at the bit to do the Tour, Roglic has moved to Bora partly to do the Tour, Vingegaard has the Tour as his number 1 goal, and Pogacar (or at least the team mangement) has the Tour & Olympics as the main goals of the year. It will not be easy to try and get any of them to do the Giro.

    • It depends, in terms of media coverage a podium in the Tour can be more important to sponsors etc. It also depends on who goes, if lots of riders all think this then obviously with only one winner some of them risk finishing, say, fifth in the Giro as well.

  13. Is there a theme to this year’s Giro, an anniversary or story?

    The map looks the same. Same towns, same places, same shape with lots in the Alps and little in the south. Just shorter.

    Carapaz for the win!

    • Vaughters has already said that because of the amount of TT km’s, Carapaz is doubtful for the Giro –
      “From my perspective it’s not what we were hoping for if we were considering sending Richard to the race. That wasn’t the route that I was looking for,” Vaughters continues. “Now we’ll wait for the Tour de France route. Until that comes out, it’s impossible to say which rosters go where. 68km of time trials, you’re going to lose four to five minutes and while you can still do top ten, you can forget about winning. Maybe this is an opportunity for Ben Healy to try and ride GC.”

        • A TT’er who can climb a bit, or a climber who can do a decent TT seems to be the favourite types for the GC. Dumoulin would certainly be a GC contender, Vlasov has had too many bad days to be an equivalent, I think. Which leaves us with the “usual suspects” – Almeida, Ayuso at UAE, Thomas at Ineos, Hart at Trek (if he does the Giro) and Jumbo will have to put on their thinking caps to work out who to send for GC.
          Otherwise, this is a golden opportunity for young guys trying to make a name for themselves or get promoted up the pecking order – like Uijtdebroeks at Bora.

    • The theme is the reduced distance and altitude, to watch the presentation was to hear “less hard” said several times including by race organiser Mauro Vegni.

      The “shape” idea is interesting. I’d like to see a Giro one year with only 2-3 stages in the Alps and more instead in the Apennines where you can still have 4-5000m+ stages but easier said than done with the one way roads to a summit finish, lack of hotels, host towns with Olympic budgets etc.

      • Certainly sounds like a good idea to attempt to get more attacking racing. Long rolling hilly stages which don’t have to have a mountain top finish (like a one day classic) can produce a whole interesting day’s racing and not just a battle of GC favourites on the last climb.
        The logistics of course (as well as funding) can always be a headache.

      • It’ll be interesting to see if the desire to present an easier route is just because with the Olympics they think they are going to struggle to attract a decent field this year, or if its a long term step change.

        Re Pogacar, us fans are going to have to be disappointed at some stage. If we had our way he’d hit a peak for Strade Bianche and hold it through the spring classics, the Giro, the Tour and the Olympics. Then have a rest and come back for a stab at the Worlds and Lombardy. Its not really feasible.

  14. As ever, this GT offers stages that are the same for all the riders, so let’s see what they each can do with them. Don’t suppose the GC will end up with a worse rider just because the others didn’t like the parcours on offer.

  15. I think it’s going to be a good race, there is better mountain/TT balance than usual these days. I just hope it rains, freezes, and the weather is as unpleasant and selective as possible.

  16. Aside from the bizarre Stelvio stage I think this is a deceptively well-designed route that will encourage aggressive racing.

    Happy that RCS are trying something different.

  17. I don´t think anyone has accused you of trying to promote your cycling vacation business, it´s simply that linking to your blog without so much as a tiniest effort to contribute to discussion here is – in the opinion of many reader, including my humble person – is, well, a bit impolite towards our host.

    Say what you think you have to say here and THEN maybe link to the extended or more complete version in your blog entry.

    PS WHAT you say seldom winds anyone up, it´s HOW you say and ESPECIALLY how you then reply to something you THINK someone said (but didn´t) But, yeah, I can imagiue myself reading your blog 🙂

    • Sunday – based on your snarky response to my post I doubt you’d read anything I write here…so why do you bother making the snarky reply? And I’d say I DID say what I wanted to say here, contrary to your claim, then added the link if someone wanted to know more about why.
      Perhaps you’re new here but my mention/defense of the linkage was/is to save those uninterested from reading my opinion – and was based on previous posts expressing some fauxtrage about it…kind of like yours.
      Why not do what I do with Anon Y. Mous’ comments…scroll past/ignore ’em. We’ll both be happier. W Il Giro!

  18. snarky
    critical or mocking in an indirect or sarcastic way.
    “snarky remarks”
    bad-tempered or irritable.
    “Bobby’s always a bit snarky before his nap”

    I certainly didn´t intend my comment to be snarky and I wish you hadn´t read it as such. But, well, whatever. I give up, getting a point across to you is both a futile and an unthankful task. And I don´t say that to mock you in a sarcastic or any other way.

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