The official route for the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia is due to revealed on Tuesday, October 25 in Milan. However, one day ahead of the official presentation, what appeared to be the stages maps and profiles appeared on several Italian websites after Italian journalist Michele Bufalino – who revealed details of one of the first-ever hidden motors, and the Cicloweb site discovered the maps on the official race website.
By tweaking web page addresses, the two managed to discover the hidden pages and quickly published the maps and profiles, revealing the true severity of the 2017 race.
The 2017 Giro d'Italia will begin in Alghero on May 5 and finish with a flat 28km time trial to Milan on May 28.
In between, there are numerous mountainous stages that will produce a challenging Giro d'Italia. Two time trials on stage 10 in Umbria and stage 21 to Milan are expected to temper the climbing but the maglia rosa will surely be won or lost in the mountains come next May.
A taste of the climbing will begin as early as stage 2 with a 208km lumpy route from Olbia to Tortoli, but the leaked details suggest there are six mountaintop finishes along with five other generally mountainous stages for a route that will see the peloton racing over the Blockhaus, Mortirolo, Stelvio, Monte Grappa, Pordoi, among others.
The real climbing will begin in Sicily on stage 4. The stage will begin in Cefalù and finish 180km later on the slopes of Etna, at the 1,892m Sapienza Rifugio, after passing a mid-race ascent over the Portella Femmina Morta. It seems perfect for Vincenzo Nibali to send his local fans wild.
The second mountaintop finish will be held on stage 9, after 139km race from Montenero di Bisaccia to the mighty Blockhaus, a nearly 30km ascent. Here Eddy Merckx won a historic stage in the 1967 Giro d'Italia.
Next in line for mountaintop finishes is stage 14 from Castellania to Oropa in homage to Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani. The 131km stage is mostly flat until reaching the final climb that kicks up for 13km at 8%. It is remembered Marco Pantani's remarkable ride in 1999 when flatted at the foot of the climb but chase, caught and passed all his rivals.
There is also stage 17's 219km beginning in Tirano but ends with a more gradual run-up to Canazei.
Stage 18 from Moena to Ortisei includes five king of the mountains over the Passo Pordoi, Passo Valparola, Passo Gardena, Passo di Pinei Panidersattel and the Pontives on the way to the finish line. It will be the so-called 'tappone' of the race in the stunning Dolomites.
The last of the mountaintop finishes will be on stage 19 to Piancavallo but there are other mountainous stage with testing descents to the line before reaching the final time trial in Milan.
Stage 16 will arguably be one of the toughest challenges and most spectacular of the 2017 Giro d'Italia. The 227km stage profiles indicates that the riders will have to climb the Mortirolo and then the Passo dello Stelvio twice – first from Bormio, before descending via the Trafoi hairpins and climbing back up the Stelvio via Switzerland and the Umbrailpass.
While not quite a mountaintop finish, the Giro d'Italia's penultimate stage 20 and final mountain stage will climb the Monte Grappa and then cover the switchbacks of the Foza climb before finishing 15km later in the Asiago mountain valley.
We can only wait for the full route to be revealed on Tuesday evening to see if these profile are accurate and to see the rest of the route of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage from the presentation with interviews and analysis of the 21 stages.