MILAN (VN) — The route of the 2013 Giro d’Italia is roughly known with less than 48 hours to go until the official presentation. Today, Italy’s Tuttosport newspaper predicted the stages much to the ire of organizer RCS Sport, owner of rival newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Giro will start in Naples on May 4 and race to the north for a grand finale on May 26. According to Tuttosport, Brescia will host the closing party instead of Milan, the usual stop and headquarters of RCS Sport. The Turin-based newspaper predicts a proper mix of mountains and time trials for defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp). If anything, the mixture is TT-heavy and could be enough to attract Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky).
“For me I would like to see Brad go out of this sport, not that he won’t as it stands already, but as a legend,” coach Shane Sutton told Cycling Weekly yesterday. “I think the legendary status could be enhanced by winning the three grand tours.”
The Giro will not feature 100 kilometers of time trialing like this year’s Tour, but a team time trial, a mountain time trial and an especially long individual test could convince Wiggins to start the race. According to the newspaper, the race will close its first week with a time trial of around 50km from Gabicce a Mare to Saltara.
After this year’s edition, which saw the northernmost start in grand tour history in Herning, Denmark, the organizer gives greater attention to the south. As announced in June, the race starts in Naples, but the rumored team time trial will take place the following day. According to recent reports, the volcanic island of Ischia will host the second stage and the first time trial. Mark Cavendish (Sky), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) or another sprinter, therefore, will have a chance to wear the maglia rosa on day one.
The race leaves Campania and skirts around the boot’s edge of Italy to touch Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia before turning north. The long TT and laps on the world championships circuit in Florence will close the first weekend.
The race transfers to the far northeast for the start of the second week and the first big mountain stages. After the Erto stage, to honor the 50th anniversary of the Vajont Dam tragedy, the route zigs west and zags back east. Heading east, according to Tuttosport, the Giro will visit Treviso and Busseto to honor Andrea Pinarello and the 100th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, respectively. From Busseto, the 13th stage will visit Cerasco with a short ramp that should please 2012 runner-up Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha).
The Jafferau will kick off the third, and what could be the decisive, week. Saturday’s stage will climb from Bardonecchia, tucked in northwest Italy, up the Jafferau at 1908 meters. RCS Sport will confirm the stage on Sunday, but it already announced the following day to the Col du Galibier last week at Interbike. Crossing into France, the race covers the Col du Télégraphe and finishes on the north face of the Galibier. It is the opposite side from where Andy Schleck won in the Tour last year, but just as high at 2645 meters. It is the first time the Giro has visited the Galibier.
The race travels back east with three important stops: its second rest day, a stage over the Gavia and the Stelvio passes and one to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. La Gazzetta dello Sport announced Tre Cime yesterday and Tuttosport revealed the Val Martello stage on Friday. Starting from Ponte Di Legno, according to the newspaper, stage 19 will travel up the Passo del Gavia, down to Bormio, up the Passo dello Stelvio and drop into the valley before one final kick to the line. The riders will permanently sort the general classification the next day to Tre Cime, the Giro’s first visit since 2007 and home of Eddy Merckx’s famous ride in 1968.
The final stage should start in Risese Pio X and finish in Brescia, offering another day for the sprinters. RCS Sport, however, will only finalize the details for this stage and the entire route Sunday at the official presentation.
The possible 2012 Giro d’Italia stages
Saturday, May 4, Stage 1: Napoli-Napoli
Sunday, May 5, Stage 2: Ischia (TTT)
Monday, May 6, Stage 3: Sorrento-Ascea Marina
Tuesday, May 7, Stage 4: Policastro-Serra San Bruno
Wednesday, May 8, Stage 5: Cosenza-Matera
Thursday, May 9, Stage 6: Mola Di Bari-Margherita Di Savoia
Friday, May 10, Stage 7: San Salvo-Pescara
Saturday, May 11, Stage 8: Gabicce a Mare-Saltara (TT)
Sunday, May 12, Stage 9: Sansepolcro-Firenze
Monday, May 13, Rest day
Tuesday, May 14, Stage 10: Cordenons-Montasio
Wednesday, May 15, Stage 11: Cave Del Predil-Erto (Vajont)
Thursday, May 16, Stage 12: Longarone-Treviso
Friday, May 17, Stage 13: Busseto-Cherasco
Saturday, May 18, Stage 14: Cervere-Bardonecchia (Jafferau)
Sunday, May 19, Stage 15: Cesana Torinese-Galibier, France
Monday, May 20, Stage 16: Valloire, France-Ivrea
Tuesday, May 21, Rest day
Wednesday, May 22, Stage 17: Caravaggio-Vicenza
Thursday, May 23, Stage 18: Mori-Polsa (TT)
Friday, May 24, Stage 19: Ponte Di Legno-Val Martello
Saturday, May 25, Stage 20: Silandro-Tre Cime Lavaredo
Sunday, May 26, Stage 21: Riese Pio X-Brescia