Hilltop finale for opening day of 2022 Giro d'Italia in Hungary

The 2022 Giro d’Italia will start with three stages in Hungary, including an uphill finale on the opening day in Visegrád and a 9.2km individual time trial in the heart of Budapest on stage 2. 

RCS Sport unveiled the details of the Hungarian Grande Partenza at a presentation in Budapest on Wednesday, where Attila Valter, wearer of the maglia rosa on this year’s Giro, was among those present.

RCS Sport has indicated that the remainder of the 2022 Giro route will be presented in instalments during the next week. The flat stages are due to be unveiled on Monday, with the medium mountain stages following on Tuesday and the high mountain stages coming next Wednesday. The finale of the 2022 Giro – expected to be a time trial to Verona – will be unveiled next Thursday.

The start in Hungary was initially slated for 2020 only to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with last year’s delayed Giro eventually starting from Sicily. The race had been due to begin with an individual time trial, but that test has now been placed on the second day of a much-revised Grande Partenza schedule.

The 2022 Giro will instead get underway with a road stage from Budapest to Visegrád on Friday, May 6 before a 9.2km individual time trial through the heart of the Hungarian capital the following day.

The sprinters should again come to the fore on the corsa rosa’s final day in Hungary, which takes the gruppo along the shore of Lake Balaton from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred.

The first rest day of the 2022 Giro follows, allowing the race caravan to make the long transfer to Sicily for stage 4, which will take place on Tuesday, May 10. 

In 2022, all three Grand Tours will begin abroad and so start on a Friday, with the Tour de France setting out from Copenhagen and the Vuelta a España starting in Utrecht.

The first maglia rosa of the 2022 Giro will be awarded atop a category 4 climb in Visegrád near the Slovakian border. It's a finale that appears to lend itself to the talents of Peter Sagan, though it remains to be seen if his TotalEnergies squad will be invited to the race.

The 195km stage takes the gruppo through the plain to the west and north of Budapest, passing through Székesfehérvár and Esztergom, though the terrain becomes a little more undulating in the finale on the shores of the Danube. The road climbs through the final 5km at an average gradient of 5%, and the finish line of stage 1 will be in the citadel of Visegrád, in the shadow of the castle.

The city centre time trial in Budapest, that was initially slated to kick off the 2020 Giro, will now serve as stage 2 of next year’s race. The 9.2km circuit starts in Pest and then crosses the Danube before a hilltop finale in the centre of Buda. The start is in the striking Heroes’ Square and after running by the Danube, and past the parliament and the statue of poet Attila József, the route crosses the Danube by way of Margaret Island. The course then begins to climb on the river, with pitches of up to 14% and cobblestones leading to the finish on Buda Square.

Stage 3 from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred should offer the sprinters an opportunity to contest the win. The 201km stage takes the Giro along the shores of Lake Balaton, with the short category 4 climb to Tihany Abbey the day’s only classified ascent. The flat and fast run in appears to lend itself to a bunch sprint.

The three stages presented on Wednesday offer a different challenge to the Hungarian Grande Partenza that was originally outlined for the postponed and altered 2020 Giro. On that occasion, the race was due to get underway with the Budapest time trial before two flat stages to Györ and Nagykanizsa.

Another key difference is that the 2022 Giro will feature a rest day between the Grande Partenza in Hungary and the opening road stage on Italian roads, which is expected to take place in Sicily.

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