Giro d'Italia 2018 odds
Who wins Giro d'Italia 2018?
2018 Giro d’Italia - Guide
What is the race?
The Giro d'Italia is an annual 23 day race held in Italy, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1909, except when it was stopped for the two world wars. The Giro is a UCI World Tour event, which means that the teams that compete in the race are mostly UCI ProTeams.
Along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro makes up cycling's prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours. The race takes place in May. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same, with the appearance of at least two time trials, and a passage through the mountains of the Alps including the Dolomites.
The Giro was created by the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. At the time La Gazzetta's rival, Corriere della Sera, was planning on holding an Italian wide bicycle race of its own, building on success of their automobile race. La Gazzetta successfully held The Giro before their rivals, raising funding through asking for donations. The prize money even came from a Casino!
In 1909, 127 riders set off from Milan and completed 2,488km over 8 stages. The first Giro was won by Luigi Ganna. As the Giro gained prominence and popularity the race was lengthened, and the peloton expanded from primarily Italian participation to riders from all over the world.
Eight summit finishes and two individual time trials feature on the route for the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
The race will start in Israel, making this the first Grand Tour to ever to take place outside of Europe. The Grande Partenza starts in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem with a time trial. Stage 2 and 3 take riders to Tel Aviv and Eilat, where riders and teams fly back to Italy. Stages 4 to 6 take riders across the island of Scilly, over the volcanic Mount Etna. Then the route takes riders up to northern Italy. Stages 7 to 10 goes through Abruzzo, with the Grand Sasso Climb. From there The Giro is set to visit Imola, home of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and the San Marino Grand Prix. From there, riders take on the famous Zoncolan Mountain at stage 14. Next up the Veneto region through the Dolomites,and the gravel roads of Colle dell Finestre at stage 19. Stage 20 is summit finish in the Sking town of Cervina. Turning its back on Milan, The Giro will finish in the nation's capital, Rome through the city's narrow streets.
Stages to look out for
Stage 6: The summit finish at Mount Etna via the steep Valentino approach makes stage 6 the toughest proposition of the opening week.
Stage 9: Ending in Gran Sasso d'Italia, at 224km, this is one of the longest staged in the Giro. Although there are just three categorised climbs en route, there is scarcely a metre of flat once the flag drops in the province of Benevento.
Stage 14: The climb of Mount Zoncolan is the most visually spectacular of the entire Giro. Monte Zoncolan is one of the Giro d'Italia's most feared, etched into Italian folklore with its epic stories. On slopes in excess of 20%, riders will be forced to grind their way up the mountain. The Zoncolan is so brutal it even reduces the best riders to a zig-zag grind to the top.
Stage 19: To Bardonecchia, the race ascends the long Colle del Lys, before the mighty Colle delle Finestre rears into view. At an altitude of 2178 metres, the Finestre is the Cima Coppi, the highest of the Giro. It grinds upwards for 18.5km between 9 and 10% all the way, with asphalt giving way to dirt road for the eight kilometres preceding the summit. After a short descent, the race takes on the gentler, 16km climb to Sestrie, before the short but steep haul to the finish on the Jafferau, situated above the ski resort of Bardonecchia.
The 2017 race was won by Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), helped by is strong performances in the time trials.
Three riders have won The Giro 5 times; Alfredo Binda (1925-33), Fautso Coppi (1940-53) and Eddy Merckx (1968-74).
Who does it suit?
The Giro is suited to a strong climber, with high summit finishes guaranteed, and time trial specialists, as two time trials stages always feature. The 2018 route has shorter time trials, and finishes with steep climbs so may favour climbers this time. The Giro is perfect for aggressive riders, as the race is less controlled than in the tour, with opportunity to pounce.
What to see?
From Jerusalem to Rome, the is lots of opportunity to soak up the race:
Jerusalem: Join The Giro at the start in Jerusalem. With sites linked to the very foundation of religion, it is a unique city. Fragrances of incense, coffee and candles fill the markets. Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian quarters each add their own distinct experience.
Catania: Stage 4 sees the riders take off from Catania, the second largest city of Sicily. With a stately Baroque centre, terrific street markets, great food and a bubbly nightlife, it’s surprising that tourism is only starting to grow; and Mount Etna provides an excellent view of the race and the area.
Abbruzzo: Stage 7 enters Abruzzo. This lesser known and undiscovered region has lots going for it; this includes lakes, the Adriatic coastline, national parks, imposing mountain ranges, UNESCO heritage sites, some of the most beautiful medieval towns in the country, and an eclectic and diverse cuisine that changes from the beach to the mountains.