The 2022 Giro d’Italia will feature the race’s lowest amount of time trialling in sixty years, with just 26.3km on the route. RCS Sport completed its protracted route presentation on Thursday by confirming that the race will conclude with a 17.1km time trial finishing in the Arena in Verona.
The Giro also includes a 9.2km time trial on stage 2, giving the event its lowest total mileage against the clock since 1962. On that occasion, there were no time trials on the route as Franco Balmamion claimed the first of his two consecutive overall victories.
"The two time trials will have an important role to play: the first one because it should assign a new maglia rosa that could be worn for several days while the second one could be the decider of this Giro and will definitely change the general classification," said race director Mauro Vegni.
The Giro has previously finished with a Verona time trial on four previous occasions, most famously in 1984, when Francesco Moser divested Laurent Fignon of the pink jersey amid some controversy. On the Giro's last visit to the Roman amphitheatre in 2019, Chad Haga took stage honours as Richard Carapaz sealed overall victory.
As in 2019, next year's final time will start and finish in Verona, taking in the climb of Torricelle, which featured on the World Championships course in 1999 and 2004.
After presenting the flat, hilly and mountain stages separately over the three previous days, RCS Sport confirmed the precise layout of the 2022 Giro d'Italia on Thursday. The race will get underway in Budapest on May 6, while the first action on Italian roads will come in Sicily on stage 4 with a summit finish at Mount Etna.
A summit finish on the Blockhaus on stage 9 brings the first week to a close, while the second week will feature a number of hilly stages, including finales for puncheurs in Jesi, Genoa and Turin, before a mountainous leg to Cogne on stage 15.
The third week begins with back-to-back mountain stages, as stage 16 brings the race over the Mortirolo and Santa Cristina to Aprica, while stage 17 to Lavarone features the tough Salita del Menador.
Following a tricky medium mountain stage in Friuli with an uphill finish at Castelmonte on stage 19, the Giro's final weekend takes in a demanding Dolomite tappone over the Passo San Pellegrino, Passo Pordoi and Passo di Fedaia ahead of the final time trial to Verona.
Although the toughest mountain stages are spaced out a little more than in previous editions, the route remains a demanding one, with a total of 51,000m of climbing across the three weeks.
“This Giro has been developed in order to give the riders the opportunity to fight for the maglia rosa and GC from the very first few stages. It will be one of the toughest routes in recent years with almost 51,000 metres of elevation gain,” said Vegni, who described stages 16 and 20 as the "key" days of this Giro.
“There will be a lot of difficult stages as soon as we return to Italy after the three in Hungary. We wanted to include a selection of mountains in the route that have shaped the history of our race such as the Santa Cristina - which will be the Montagna Pantani - the Mortirolo, the Pordoi (Cima Coppi) and the Passo Fedaia at the foot of the Marmolada."
Hungary, Sicily and the Blockhaus in week one
The 2022 Giro gets underway in Hungary on Friday, May 6 with a road stage from Budapest to Visegrád. The uphill finale in the citadel, not to mention the proximity to the Slovakian border, might well convince Peter Sagan to take a tilt at the first maglia rosa, but it remains to be seen if his new TotalEnergies squad will be among the wildcard invitations.
The following day sees the first of the Giro’s two individual time trials, a 9.2km test that brings riders from Heroes’ Square in Budapest across the Danube to an uphill finish in Buda. The Grande Partenza concludes with a flat run along Lake Balaton to Balatonfüred that should favour the sprinters.
After the Giro’s first foreign start in four years, the race takes in an early rest day to facilitate the long transfer to Sicily and, for the fourth time in six years, the corsa rosa will take in a summit finish at Mount Etna. This time around, the Giro takes in a two-part ascent, starting the climb from Ragalgna, as in 2018 when Esteban Chaves won, and then descending briefly to switch to the final approach from Nicolosi, which featured in 2011.
A flat and fast run to Messina brings the short Sicilian sojourn to an end on stage 5 and the sprinters should have another chance to shine when they cross the strait and take a stage along the Tyrrhenian coast from Palmi to Scalea.
The terrain turns rather more rugged on stage 7, with some 4490m of climbing on the agenda as the race takes in the mountains of Calabria and Basilicata on the road to Potenza. A day later, the Giro goes back to Naples for the first time since the 2013 Grande Partenza, with a circuit race in the volcanic Campi Flegrei ahead of a seafront finale on Via Caracciolo.
The summit finish at Blockhaus brings the curtain down on the opening week, with the Giro again tackling the steepest and longest of the climb’s approaches, as it did in 2017, when Nairo Quintana claimed the stage and the maglia rosa, while eventual winner Tom Dumoulin underlined his credentials with a fine display.
A second week for puncheurs
The Giro’s second week, as can often be the case, is light on set-piece general classification stages, but it should be no less fascinating for it, with a series of punchy finales open to interpretation by the more inventive overall contenders.
The race resumes after the rest day with a day in the Marche that could have been lifted from Tirreno-Adriatico. Stage 10 brings the gruppo up to Sant’Ignazio di Montelupone and through Recanati, the birthplace of poet Giacomo Leopardi, as well as to Filottrano, the homeplace of the late Michele Scarponi. The climb of Monsano features in the finale as well as a series of unclassified muri on the run-in to the finish in Jesi.
The sprinters will enjoy another opportunity on the trek north to Reggio Emilia on stage 11 before another tricky, hilly stage from Parma to Genoa, which takes in the climb and descent of the Passo del Bocco, where Wouter Weylandt tragically lost his life on the 2011 Giro. After the descent to Chiavari, the route takes in the category 3 Ruta, by way of Chiesa Vecchia, and then the new category 2 ascent of Monte Becca, before the drop to the finish in Genoa.
The staccato rhythm of week two continues with another flat stage from San Remo to Cuneo – in some ways, the reverse of the novel 2020 Milan-San Remo route – before an intriguing day in the hinterland of Turin on stage 14. Just 153km in length, the breathless stage nonetheless crams in some 3,470m of climbing by taking in two-and-a-half laps of a circuit comprising the Colle della Maddalena, Superga and the Roccia Santa Brigida.
The second week concludes with a mountainous day in the Alps, as the race takes in the category 1 ascents of Le Fleurs and Verrogne ahead of a summit finish at Cogne in the Gran Paradiso National Park. The gradients may not be the stiffest, but some 46km of the final 80km will be uphill and the climbing will inevitably exact a toll.
Grande finale in the high mountains
The climbing continues after the Giro’s third and final rest day, with one of the toughest stages of the entire race. Stage 16 takes in a troika of category 1 ascents, with the Goletto di Cadino and the Mortirolo preceding the stiff final ascent of Santa Cristina and short, fast descent into Aprica. Although the Mortirolo is climbed from its ‘gentler’ – its all relative – Edolo approach, there is nothing mild about this stage, which totals 5540m of climbing. The Santa Cristina, meanwhile, was the scene of Marco Pantani’s dismissal of Miguel Indurain on the 1994 Giro and, inevitably, it has been branded as the ‘Montagna Pantani’ on the 2022 route.
The race remains in the high mountains on stage 17, which takes in the Passo del Tonale immediately after the start in Ponte di Legno. After a long descent into Moser country in Palù di Giovo, there is a wickedly tough finale to proceedings, with a new approach of the Passo del Vetriolo followed in quick succession by the steep, hair-pinned Salita del Menador, which brings the race up the Kaiserjägerweg, a road laid out by Austro-Hungarian troops during the First World War. A rippling, 8km plateau brings the race from the summit to the finish in Lavarone.
A respite of sorts arrives on stage 18, with a flat run to Treviso, before a day in Friuli and Slovenia that should not be underestimated. Stage 19 is billed as a ‘hilly stage’ but it takes in the new, category 1 ascent of Monte Kolovrat, which climbs for 10km at almost 10%, ahead of the category 2 uphill finish at Castelmonte.
The final weekend of the Giro, meanwhile, sees its toughest mountain stage, the Dolomite tappone from Belluno to the Passo Fedaia, beneath the distinctive precipice of the Marmolada. The stage takes in three category 1 climbs as the race goes above 2,000m of altitude for the first time. The Passo San Pellegrino is followed by the Cima Coppi, the highest point of this Giro, the 2,239m-high Passo Pordoi. The stage finish, meanwhile, is on the fearsome Passo Fedaia, where the notoriously steep and straight section at Malga Ciapela could turn the Giro on its head right at the last.
And yet it doesn’t end there. If the 51,000m of climbing fail to separate the pretenders for the maglia rosa – and that was the case in 2020, when Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley entered the final day in a virtual dead heat – then the 17.1km time trial in Verona will serve as a penalty shoot-out. The time trialling kilometres may have been pared back to a minimum on this Giro, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be decisive, as the 2017 Tour de France already demonstrated.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - the stages
Stage 1, May 6: Budapest – Visegrád, 195km
Stage 2, May 7: Budapest – Budapest, 9.2km (ITT)
Stage 3, May 8: Kaposvár – Balatonfüred, 201km
Rest Day 1, May 9
Stage 4, May 10: Avola – Etna, 166km
Stage 5, May 11: Catania – Messina, 172km
Stage 6, May 12: Palmi – Scalea, 192km
Stage 7, May 13: Diamante – Potenza, 198km
Stage 8, May 14: Napoli – Napoli, 149km
Stage 9, May 15: Isernia – Blockhaus, 187km
Rest Day 2, May 16
Stage 10, May 17: Pescara – Jesi, 194km
Stage 11, May 18: Santarcangelo di Romagna – Reggio Emilia, 201km
Stage 12, May 19: Parma – Genova, 186km
Stage 13, May 20: Sanremo – Cuneo, 157km
Stage 14, May 21: Santena – Torino, 153km
Stage 15, May 22: Rivarolo Canavese – Cogne, 177km
Rest Day 3, May 23
Stage 16, May 24: Salò – Aprica, 200km
Stage 17, May 25: Ponte di Legno – Lavarone, 165km
Stage 18, May 26: Borgo Valsugana – Treviso, 146km
Stage 19, May 27: Marano Lagunare – Castelmonte, 178km
Stage 20, May 28: Belluno – Passo Fedaia/Marmolada, 165km
Stage 21, May 29: Verona – Verona, 17.1km (ITT)
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