Stage previews for the 2018 Giro d’Italia
In addition to the time trial kicking things off in Jerusalem, the 2018 Giro d’Italia also tackles two more stages in Israel. Stage 2 takes riders on a mostly flat voyage from Haifa to Tel Aviv, where sprinters will be looking to mark their ledgers in one of the race’s limited opportunities for bunch finishes. Stage 3 follows with a hilly ride to Eilat.
Then things shift back to Italian soil, where eight mountainous stages and several other hilly ones await. The race heads from Israel to Sicily on the first rest day. On the island, two hilly stages await the peloton prior to a summit finish up Mount Etna.
In the first week, riders will travel thousands of miles off the bicycle in addition to several taxing stages on two wheels.
And that is just a prelude to all the climbing yet to come.
In stage 7, the sprinters will get what is likely the first bunch finish since the stage 2 ride from Haifa to Tel Aviv. The ride up the western coast from Pizzo to Praia a Mare will cap the first week with a rare opportunity to shake out the points classification.
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Then two more summit finishes await in the Apennine Mountains for the pack. And that is all just in the span of a little more than a week.
Then the riders head north, first to the east. While in the northeastern part of the country, the Giro passes through iconic sites such as the summit finish Monte Zoncolan in the Carnic Alps on stage 14 and a ride through the Dolomites (including an intermediary sprint through former 1956 Winter Olympics host Cortina d’Ampezzo) on stage 15.
Heading west, the race tackles several tough Alpine climbs through Piedmont and toward the French border. The final three stages before the finishing stage in Rome all involve tough climbs. Stage 18 takes riders up a summit finish to Prato Nevoso.
The queen stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia is undoubtedly stage 19. The stage profile takes riders over four Alpine climbs, including the Colle delle Finestre that is this year’s Cima Coppi (high point) of the race. They will also tackle the climb to Sestrière before another summit finish on Bardonecchia. Three days of hell conclude with three late Category 1 climbs including a summit finish at Cervinia. The loop concluding the Giro d’Italia in Rome is mild by comparison.
In total, eight stages feature summit finishes. Over the course of the 21 stages, the peloton will tackle 39 climbs and slog up over 44,000 meters of elevation gain. Six other stages feature undulating profiles that will offer little rest for riders’ legs.
In addition to the Jerusalem time trial to start the race, riders will also have to tackle a longer time trial in the final week from Trento to Rovereto. By the end, riders who make it all the way from Jerusalem to Rome will have put in more than 3500 kilometers (2200 miles) in the saddle.