Hungary will host the Grande Partenza of the 105th Giro d’Italia this year, which begins May 6 in Budapest and three full weeks later ends May 29 on home soil in Verona. All three Grand Tours will have foreign starts in 2022, with the Tour de France starting from Copenhagen and the Vuelta a España setting out from Utrecht.
Budapest was originally slated to host the start in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the race and the revision of the route, with the start instead taking place in Sicily. The Giro’s last foreign start was in 2018, when the race began in Israel, and the race had also set out from the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland during the preceding decade.
The 2022 course for the Giro d'Italia covers 3,410.3 kilometres with a total of 51,000 metres of climbing across three weeks of racing. There will be just two time trials, on stage 2 in Budapest and stage 21 in Verona, totalling 26.3km. With its mix of flat, hilly and mountain stages, organisers RCS Sport saved the key days of climbing for the third and final week, including back-to-back mountain days on stages 16 and 17, then the final weekend in the Dolomites.
You can see our complete route breakdown by individual stage here.
The first week begins in Hungary with three days of racing, including the Grand Tour’s first ITT at 9.2km sandwiched between two flat road days. An uphill finish on stage 1 and a likely bunch sprint on stage 3 will make this interesting in the early battle for the pink jersey. After an early rest day, stage 4 features the first mountain challenge with a summit finish at Mount Etna. After one more day in Sicily, which ends in Vincenzo Nibali's home town of Messina, the race finally heads to the Italian mainland.
After this, the route moves north along the Tyrrhenian coast and into the Apennines, via Napoli where the riders will tackle a full-on crit race around the city on stage 8. The second block of racing ends with a big day in the mountains, and a double ascent of Blockhaus, ending in a summit finish on stage 9.
Week two offers a number of hilly stages, including finales for puncheurs in Jesi and Genoa on stages 10 and 12 respectively, or perhaps possibilities for breakaway specialists, and a fiendish hilly circuit race around Turin on stage 14, where punchy riders will flourish and the GC battle may ignite. There are also two opportunities for the sprinters, on stages 11 and 13. A mountainous stage 15 in the Alps brings the week to a crescendo with category 1 ascents of Le Fleurs and Verrogne ahead of a summit finish at Cogne in the Gran Paradiso National Park.
After the third rest day, the final week opens with one of the toughest days of the race. Stage 16 provides 5,540 metres of climbing with three tough first category climbs that lead to ‘Montagna Pantani’ on the route, the Santa Cristina. This is chased by yet another day in the mountains, with some stunning scenery and two category one climbs on the menu for stage 17. From there, the race leads to the final chance for the sprinters, with a finish in Treviso on stage 18, before two back-to-back climbing stages in the Dolomites. Stage 19 is the easier of the two, although the category climb of Mount Kolovrat in Slovenia, where the race spends part of the day, is a tricky prospect.
Stage 20 is the final test - a daunting day of climbing, including the Cima Coppi - the highest point of the race - which is reached atop the Passo Pordoi at 2,239 metres, followed by a summit finish on Marmolada. The 17.1km time trial in Verona closes out the race, which may already be decided by that point. If not, the overall champion may claw back a few precious seconds on the final Sunday of the race.
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