Giro d'Italia 2022 - Stage 1 preview

Stage 1: Budapest to Visegrád

Date: May 6, 2022

Distance: 195km 

Race times: 12:20-17:15 (CEST)

Stage type: Flat

The Grande Partenza of the 105th Giro d’Italia takes place in Hungary. Originally scheduled to host the stages in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic stymied the first-ever Eastern European start to a Grand Tour, but two years later, the dream has finally become a reality for Hungarian cycling fans.

Beginning in the capital Budapest, the first stage is a mostly flat affair. It heads south from Budapest and then west towards the first intermediate sprint in Székesfehérvár, a former trade hub in central Hungary. The peloton will then swing north, and spend close to 100km traversing flat, mostly agricultural land, heading up to the northernmost point of the stage, Esztergom, on the border with Slovakia. Here sees the day’s second chance for the points jersey contenders to sprint for the maglia ciclamino.

A short ride west remains toward Visegrád, a stunning town on the picturesque Danube Bend. The run-in to the finish line will invite the first fireworks of 2022’s first Grand Tour. While listed as a flat stage, the short, steep fourth-category climb to the castle of Visegrád means the pure sprinters may be denied. Instead, the choice to delay the prologue-style time trial until stage 2 offers a priceless opportunity for the puncheurs to go to work in the battle to become the first wearer of the maglia rosa. 

The likes of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) look like strong candidates for this honour, though there’s no doubt that the stage was designed with hometown boy Attila Valter in mind. The Groupama-FDJ rider featured prominently in the early stages of last year’s Giro, making a name for himself by defending the pink jersey with honour and passion, and he will rightly be the centre of attention as his nation plays host for the first time in the Giro’s history.

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Katy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has published interviews, features, and previews in Cycling News, Rouleur, Cyclist Magazine and the British Continental. She also writes opinion pieces on her own website and is a frequent contributor to the Quicklink podcast. 

She is obsessed with the narrative element of bike racing, from the bigger picture to the individual stories. She is a cyclocross nut who is 5% Belgian and wonders if this entitles her to citizenship. Her favourite races are Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Vuelta.

In her spare time Katy is a published short fiction and non-fiction author.

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