|Friday the Giro d'Italia starts, the first Grand Tour of the season. This year the Giro caravan makes a trip to Northern-Ireland and Ireland. Belfast is the place to start the 97th edition. A team time trial of just over 21 kilometers will open the Italian stage race. Next the riders get two flat stages in (Northern-)Ireland. On Monday the 12th of May there's a first rest day, then the peloton takes the plane to Italy.
The 97th edition of the Giro has nine uphill finishes, four of them in the medium mountains and five in the high mountains. In the fifth stage the better climbers can already test the legs. The 200 kilometers long stage finishes on a fourth category climb. Also the day after there's an uphill finish, in Montecassino. One has to look out not to lose precious time. After a sprint stage to Foligno the real climbing begins. In stage eight to Montecopiolo it's up to the GC riders. Also in the ninth stage, to Sestola, there's some climbing to do. On Monday the 19th of May there's another rest day.
In the second week two flat stages, two mountain stages, one medium mountain stage and an individual time trial are scheduled. During the tenth stage probably the sprinters will battle for the victory. The next day the longest stage is planned. Here early escapees could grab their chance. The time trial goes from Barbaresco to Barolo over a distance of almost 42 kilometers with a fourth category climb. After another flat stage to Rivarolo Canavese, the GC riders have to work again in stage 14. The exhausting stage passes over a climb of third, one of second and two of first category. The final climb to finish place Oropa promises fireworks. Also the final of the fifteenth stage - just before the third rest day - promises to be hard. The peloton then finishes on Plan di Montecampione, which has parts up to 12%.
The third week will be the toughest with three mountain stages and a climb time trial. On Tuesday the 27th of May the caravan heads to Val Martello via the mythic Stelvio. The next day escapees get a chance to survive in the stage to Vittorio Veneto. The 18th stage starts in Belluno and goes among other over the Passo San Pellegrino followed by an uphill finish in Rifugio Panarotta.
The climb time trial to the Cima Grappa will be a battle between the favorites for GC. The last clash is expected in the penultimate stage. The finish on the notorious Monte Zoncolan can make some more changes to the ranking. The Giro d'Italia ends after a stage of 172 kilometers in the streets of Trieste, more than likely with a bunch sprint. Once arrived in Trieste the Giro is over and the riders will have covered 3499.9 kilometers.
Stage 1: Friday 9th of May: Belfast - Belfast TTT (21,7 km)