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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, December 1, 2017

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. - Langston Hughes

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia clarifies naming of Jerusalem stage

Israel was threatening to withdraw support of the three opening stages of the 2018 Giro that are to take place in Israel over the Giro's calling the site of the first stage "West Jerusalem". In response, the Giro posted this note:

RCS Sport would like to clarify that the start of the Giro d’Italia 2018 will take place from the city of Jerusalem.

During the Presentation of the 2018 race course, technical material containing the wording “West Jerusalem” was used, due to the fact that the race will take place logistically in that area of the city.

That particular wording, devoid of any political value, has been removed from any material related to the Giro d’Italia.

Giro Italia stage 1 map

The original 2018 Giro d'Italia stage 1 map

2018 Giro d'Italia stage 1 map

Revised 2018 Giro d'Italia stage 1 map

Reactions to the 2018 Giro d'Italia route

This came from Lotto-Soudal:

Yesterday, the route of the 101st Giro de Italia was unveiled. The first Grand Tour of 2018 starts in Jerusalem on Friday 4 May. After spending three days in Israel, the Giro peloton will head to Sicily for stages four, five and six. Afterwards the riders will set foot on the Italian mainland and will cross that from south to north. On Sunday 27 May the Giro ends with a stage in the capital Rome.

The number of time trial kilometers is limited to 9.7 kilometers on day one and 34.5 kilometers in the sixteenth stage. There are not many opportunities for sprinters, with only seven stages that are marked as flat. The climbers will be enthusiastic about the course as there are eight summit finishes, among other on the Etna and Zoncolan.

Lotto Soudal sports director Bart Leysen shares his first impressions of the route of the upcoming Giro.

Bart Leysen: “The riders have a hard and exhausting Giro ahead of them. I think there will be maximum five sprints. There are two sprint stages in Israel and we can also expect a sprint at the end of the first stage on the Italian mainland. The twelfth stage to Imola is also a flat stage, but with less than fifteen kilometres to go the riders face a climb that will very likely be too tough for sprinters. A day later the sprinters have more chance of battling for victory. And then they will have to wait until the last stage.”

“I don’t think it will be a walk in the park for one rider and his team to control the race for three weeks. The positions on GC will switch several times. The course in Sicily is tough and there are a lot of narrow roads. Those three stages will already influence the GC. Due to the nature of the Giro course it could be fatal for a GC rider to wear pink early in the race and that creates opportunities for breakaway riders. Although those guys will need to climb well if they want to claim a stage win. You can compare the Giro to the Vuelta as there are hardly any flat stages.”

“The first pink jersey will be at stake in a time trial and that’s why we might take Victor Campenaerts to the Giro. The first rider who claims the pink jersey will probably wear it three days, until the first stage in Sicily. Of course we will also need to have a sprinter in our team and riders who can climb and aren’t afraid to attack. Hopefully we can continue the success we had in the past Vuelta.”

Here's what Team Quick-Step Floors had to say about the route:

Two stages against the clock and a plethora of summit finishes will spice up next year's first Grand Tour.

A 9.7km-long individual time trial will kick off proceedings at the 101st edition of the Giro d'Italia (4-27 May), with the race starting from Israel for the first time in history. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat will play host to the first three stages, before the peloton will travel to Italy, for a hat-trick of stages in Sicily, where the riders will tackle the infamous Mount Etna for the second consecutive year, but from a different side this time.

The Apennines will feature in the second week, after the summit finishes to Montevergine di Mercogliano and Campo Imperatore, but the first stern test of the race – and a potential decider in the fight for the overall standings – will arrive on stage 14, when the riders will go up the grueling slopes of the Monte Zoncolan, the climb which has debuted in the Corsa Rosa nearly two decades ago.

Week three will bring fireworks, as the race will visit Prato Nevoso, Bardonecchia, Cervinia or Cole delle Finestre and its gravel roads, but also see the overall contenders take on a 34.5km time trial between Trento and Rovereto; long story short, a parcourse that should deliver opportunities aplenty for the stage hunters, but also for the pink jersey favorites. Rome, which will bring down the curtain over the race with a flat stage, will feature for the first time in history as start and finish of a non-ITT stage.

In the 14 editions Quick-Step Floors has raced since the team's inception, back in 2003, the squad managed by Patrick Lefevere has won 21 stages; five of these came at the most recent edition, thanks to the likes of Fernando Gaviria and Bob Jungels, who also took home two of the Giro's prestigious jerseys (cyclamen and white). In 2018, our team will aim to be again among the main protagonists of the season's first Grand Tour.

"Next year's edition offers a nice mix of mountains, sprints and hilly stages, which will make for an interesting race. For sure, we'll once again bring a good squad comprising motivated riders, who'll have some opportunities to win a stage. It will not be easy, as the Giro is one of the toughest races in the world; there's rarely an easy day there, so nothing will come for free", said Quick-Step Floors' sports director Davide Bramati.

In his 17 years as pro, Bramati has participated on twelve occasions in the Corsa Rosa, so it's a safe bet to say the race has no secrets for him anymore: "I think the route is harder than the one of this year. There are less time trial kilometers and some really hard mountain stages, especially in the final weekend. Of course, the sprinters will have their chance; from what I could see, there will be somewhere between four and six, maybe seven stages for them. Although the final days of the Giro will be decisive, we can't neglect the opening week, with three mountain top finishes on the menu. As always, the battle for the general classification will start early in the Giro."

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