2020 Giro d'Italia to start with 9.5km Budapest time trial

The 2020 Giro d’Italia will begin with a 9.5km individual time trial in Budapest and take in two additional road stages in Hungary that will favour the sprinters. The Hungarian Grande Partenza was confirmed in April of this year, and full details of the three opening stages of the 2020 Giro were unveiled at a presentation in Budapest on Thursday.

The opening time trial on May 9 will start from Heroes’ Square in Budapest and follow a route along the Danube before entering the old city and climbing to the finish in the Castle district. The final ascent of 1.5km with an average gradient of 4% will be the first classified climb of the 2020 Giro.

Stage 2 is a 193km leg from Budapest to Györ that should present an opportunity for the sprinters. The stage sets out from Heroes’ Square and takes in the early and gentle ascent of Svábvár. The largely flat course is broken up in the finale by the short climb to the abbey at Pannonhalma 22km from the finish before a flat and fast run-in to Györ.

The fast men should again be to the fore on stage 3 from Székesfehérvár to Nagykanizsa. There are no categorised climbs on the 197km course, which runs along the shores of Lake Balaton.

In a break with recent Giro starts outside of mainland Italy, the 2020 race will begin on a Saturday rather than a Friday, which implies that the race will resume in Italy on stage 4 without the early, additional rest day that featured following the starts in Ireland (2014), the Netherlands (2016), Sardinia (2017) and Israel (2018).

As per recently revised UCI regulations, Grand Tours can now only exceed 23 days in length once every four years, “in order to organise the start in a non-adjacent territory to the country of the event and/or requiring a long transfer.”

Nagykanizsa is some 400km from the Italian border. RCS Sport has already confirmed that Sicily will host three stages of the 2020 Giro, though it is as yet unclear if those stages will immediately follow the Hungarian excursion. Sicily will host the Grande Partenza of the 2021 Giro.

“This will be the 14th time that the Giro d’Italia starts from abroad and the first time from this part of Europe,” race director Mauro Vegni said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “There will be three stages on Hungarian soil that will allow riders to race in places that are still little known in professional cycling.

“When we choose the site of a Grande Partenza, the tradition and sporting passion of the area is one of the many aspects that we evaluate. We’re certain that many Hungarians will line the roads of the Giro making these days of sport unforgettable and unique.”

2020 Giro d’Italia:

Stage 1 – Saturday, May 9: Budapest, 9.5km ITT
Stage 2 – Sunday, May 10: Budapest-Györ, 193km
Stage 3 – Monday, May 11: Székesfehérvár-Nagykanizsa, 197km

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