As one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia is understandably steeped in heritage and tradition. While that is a positive thing in many aspects, it can sometimes mean that the race becomes stuck in its ways and less attractive to cycling’s modern audience – who are normally treated to live TV coverage of each stage from the get go. With the 2024 Giro d’Italia route, however, it seems that race organisers RCS have listened and acted on feedback to create a punchy, versatile route with shorter stage distances, as well as a day out on the gravel of Tuscany and multiple time trial stages.
In fact, 2024 will be the shortest edition of La Corsa Rosa since 1979, with the organisers seemingly trying to invite attacking racing with stages that hover at around 175km and 200km throughout the three weeks. Multiple days begin with uphill starts which should form prime terrain for a breakaway to establish itself, while mountain stages are scattered throughout the race – this should make for an interesting general classification battle. With a total of 68.2 kilometres of time trialling from stages seven and 14, RCS seem to be trying entice the biggest Grand Tour riders of this generation such as Remco Evenepoel, Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard to their race.
While there is a relatively light helping of high mountains in the Giro compared to the Tour de France, those in the fight for the pink jersey will still face some significant challenges. The final week of the 2024 Giro d’Italia is packed with climbing – stages 15, 16 and 17 look like a brutally difficult series of mountain stages, with stage 16 including the famed Stelvio ascent. In the hope that the general classification battle will be fought to the very end, stage 20 will include two climbs of Monte Grappa, before the race concludes with a traditional flat sprint stage in Rome. In fact, there’s a lot for the sprinters to like in this Giro d’Italia, too, with – by our reckoning – eight potential bunch finishes.
Giro d’Italia 2024 map and route
Organisers of the Giro d’Italia also seem to have listened to demands for shorter transfers between stages, with the route being much more tightly packed than in years previous. The Grande Partenza is in Turin on Saturday, May 4, before the race heads down the Ligurian coast towards Lucca. From then, the race passes through Napoli before heading back up the Adriatic coast to Lake Garda.
The high mountains begin on stage 15 as the riders head high into the Alps, via Switzerland. Riders will spend their final rest day at altitude in Livigno and the third week of racing is littered with mountains in the Dolomites. One long transfer back to Rome will finish the 2024 Giro d’Italia on Sunday, May 26.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage one - Venaria Reale > Turin, 136km
Stage one kicks off in the suburbs of Turin and finishes in the city centre. There are three climbs during the stage, the first of which comes after 50km and offers the first KOM points of the race. Thirty kilometres later the riders will face the Superga climb which is 4.9km long at an average gradient of 9.1%. The last climb of the day is the Colle della Maddalena – 6.1km long and with an average gradient of 7.4%. From the summit of the Maddalena there are 30km of riding to the finish line in Turin, half of which is downhill. This looks to be a stage for the puncheurs of the peloton.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage two - San Francesco al Campo > Oropa, 150km
General classification riders will need to be in good form early on in the 2024 Giro d’Italia, with the first summit finish in the race already arising in stage two. The run-up to the finishing climb to the Santuario di Oropa is relatively straightforward with 85km of rolling roads. Things will kick off when the peloton begins the Oropa climb, however – it spans 11.8km and climbs at 6.2% gradient with sections of up to 13%. The difficulty of this descent lies in its irregularity, with the gradient constantly shifting.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage three - Novara > Fossano, 165km
Stage three brings the first opportunity of the race for the fast men of the peloton. While the finale features some false flat sections, the stage is expected to come down to a bunch sprint in the streets of Fossano.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage four - Acqui Terme > Andora, 187km
This is another stage which can be put down as one for the sprinters. The only obstacles are the Col di Melogno climb midway through the stage and the final Capo Mele short climb on the approach to the finish. These shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for the fast men though and, unless there’s some opportunistic attackers, stage four should also come down to a bunch gallop for the line.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage five - Genova > Lucca. 176km
Sprinters rejoice, this is the third stage in a row for you. The peloton will head from Genova to Lucca with just two climbs on the menu. The first is the third category Passo del Bracco which comes after 62km of racing and the second is the fourth category Montemagno climb which the peloton summits just under 20km from the finish line. These might put some sprinters out of contention, but it's most likely that the majority will remain in the peloton and have a chance to sprint.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage six - Viareggio > Rapolano Terme, 177km
Stage six of the 2024 Giro d’Italia has the potential to be decisive, not because of the elevation metres on the stage but because of the gravel roads that the riders will need to tackle. Starting from Viareggio the peloton will tackle the Vidritta and Bagnaia sections of the Strade Bianche, followed by a new Pievina section. There is a slight uphill finish to Rapolano Terme, as well as numerous climbs along the route.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage seven - Foligno > Perugia, 37.2km
The first race against the clock comes on the seventh day of racing in the 2024 Giro d’Italia. A flat, largely non-technical 37.2km time trial to Perugia should see some extremely fast average speeds that will only be stilted by the final fourth category rise into Umbria’s capital city of Perugia.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage eight - Spoleto > Prati di Tivo, 153km
The first real climbers stage of the race comes on stage eight as the riders face some tough ascents in the Apennines. With plenty of elevation gain throughout the day, the riders climb the Forca Capistrello climb first, which is 16.3km long. They then reach the Croce Abbio after around 100km of racing before heading down a fast descent to the foot of the final Prati di Tivo climb which is 14km at 7% average.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage nine - Avezzano > Napoli, 206km
On paper, stage nine could be another opportunity for the sprinters, but this will largely depend on how aggressive the peloton decides to race the final series of short punchy climbs. While things begin downhill from Avezzano, there are a number of steep kickers in the approach to Napoli which could provide the springboard for attacks to upset the fast men.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 10 - Pompei > Cusano Mutri (Bocca della Selva), 141km,
The day after the riders will have been treated to their first rest day of the 2024 Giro d’Italia, things begin again with a bang. Stage 10 begins calmly as the peloton head through Nola and Montesarchio on flat roads, but the climbs kick in quickly after that with the Taburno and the Camposauro ascents. After a short descent, the long final climb to Cusano Mutri will be tackled, spanning 18km at 5.6% average gradient – with pitches at 10%.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 11 - Foiano di Val Fortore > Francavilla al Mare, 203km
The spotlight shines back on the sprinters in stage 11 with a route that leads to the Adriatic Sea through Molise. There are some rolling roads to contend with earlier in the day but the last 80km of stage 11 are straight and flat for a finish which is almost nailed-on to be a bunch kick in Francavilla al Mare.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 12 - Martinsicuro > Fano, 183km
Stage 12 might not have the highest elevation gain of the 2024 Giro d’Italia but it will be challenging for the riders due to the repeated short, steep climbs that come in the final two thirds of the route. There are approximately 10 punchy ascents to contend with that will be prime terrain for the puncheurs in this Ardennes Classic-style stage. The final climb comes at 12km from the finish line which should allow a breakaway to make it to the finish and avoid a bunch sprint.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 13 - Riccione > Cento, 179km
Another chance for the sprinters comes on stage 13 with a simple, pan-flat stage to Cento.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 14 - Castiglione delle Stiviere > Desenzano del Garda, 31km
The second time trial of the race is presented to the riders on stage 14, with a 31km flat time trial to Desenzano del Garda. This is a stage which is expected to suit the time trial specialists – the road is almost constantly slightly downhill which should lead to extremely fast riding.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 15 - Manerba del Garda > Livigno (Mottolino), 220km
Stage 15 sees the start of a tough week of mountains and it is also the longest stage of the 2024 Giro d’Italia at 220km. The first climb of the day is the Colle San Zeno which is 13.8km long at 6.6% average gradient. This is followed by a short descent before the riders climb steadily up the Camonica Valley to pass Aprica. To round off an extremely tough stage the riders will face the Passo d’Eira which with the last 2km climbing up the Mottolino ski slope. Overall, this is expected to be one of the most crucial general classification battles of the race to this point.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 16 - Livigno > Santa Cristina Valgardena/St. Christina in Gröden (Monte Pana), 202km
There will be no time for the riders to rest after the brutal finish to stage 15, as stage 16 offers up even more mountainous terrain. Interestingly, 2024’s Cima Coppi – the highest point in the race – comes early in this stage in the form of the Stelvio Pass, a 20km climb that is famous in the Giro’s history. The placement of the climb so early in the day means it may not be as crucial as expected, but the organisers may have opted to do this in case of poor weather conditions which means the climb would not be able to be tackled. It’s all downhill from the top of the Stelvio to the final climb of the day: a long climb to Castelrotto and Passo Pinei with steep pitches of over 15% – this will be an important day for the maglia rosa contenders.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 17 - Selva di Val Gardena/Wolkenstein in Gröden > Passo del Brocon, 154km
Stage 17 is another extremely challenging climbing stage, with a brutal amount of elevation gain despite its short distance. The intense day will begin with the Sella Pass (8.9km at 7.4% average gradient) followed by a flat section in the Fassa Valley. After that, the riders will tackle the 19km Passo Rolle, then the shorter, third category Passo Gobbera. The 13.3km Brocon Pass comes for the first time with around 50km of the stage remaining, and the riders will pass it for a second time to finish the stage. At 14km long with an average gradient of 14%, this is prime ground for another showdown between the GC men.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 18 - Fiera di Primiero > Padova, 166km
A well-deserved easier day for the climbers comes on stage 18 with a flat, slightly downhill stage to Padova. There’s one small climb in the opening part of the day but otherwise the riders can enjoy a cruise around the flat Prosecco lands before arriving in Padua in an expected bunch sprint.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 19 - Mortegliano > Sappada, 154km
Stage 19 can be described as a middle mountain stage with some tough climbs but none as hard as those the riders will have faced in the Livigno a few days before. The peloton will climb steadily uphill to the summit of the Passo Duron before a short descent until they climb again up the Sella Valcalda. The final ascent to Sappada is tackled soon after – it is 8.5km at an average gradient of 4.7%.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 20 - Alpago > Bassano del Grappa, 175km
The penultimate stage of the 2024 Giro d’Italia is the final chance that the climbers will get to make any significant changes to the general classification. While the opening is relatively flat, the first ascent of Monte Grappa climbs comes after 80km of racing. Spanning 18.2km at an average gradient of 8.1%, the Monte Grappa is extremely challenging, especially when tackled twice in one stage. There is a fast descent to the finish in Bassano del Grappa where the stage winner will be decided.
Giro d’Italia 2024 stage 21 - Rome > Rome, 126km
Just like in the 2023 edition of the Giro d’Italia, the final stage will be somewhat processional for the general classification contenders, but it will be a crucial opportunity for the sprinters. The riders will do an initial out and back to the coast before ending the Giro with laps of the city circuit in a stage which is almost certain to end up in a bunch sprint.
Map and stage profiles courtesy of RCS Sport
Cover image: Zac Williams/SWpix