By Sam Millne

The 2021 road season has only just come to a close but cycling’s wheels never stop spinning and next year’s Giro d’Italia route has been announced by organisers RCS Sport.

Beginning on May 6, the race will take place over 21 stages in just over three weeks, then culminate in a 17.1km individual time trial around Verona.

2022’s event will be the 105th edition of the Giro and will start in Budapest with a 195km stage in and out of the Hungarian capital.

Complete with a sharp incline at the end, the Maglia Rosa will likely be worn by a more punchy rider at the end of day one, leaving the purer sprinters to wait until stage three for their day in the spotlight.

From then on, the parcours looks somewhat more like what we’re used to in La Vuelta – a less hilly route in general but with serious mountains when they arrive.

With regards to the favourites, at this point, we’re mostly guessing who will take part in the year’s first grand tour.

We do know that Tadej Pogačar hinted at competing earlier this year but has since kept his cards close to his chest; as has fellow Slovenian star Primož Roglič whose main goal will likely be the Tour de France after losing in dramatic style to his compatriot in 2020 and crashing out last July.

Reigning champion, Egan Bernal is one man who will likely return.

The Colombian said: “With these six high mountain stages it is clear that the 2022 Giro d’Italia will be another tough one.

“The first uphill finish on Etna will be important and could really cut out from the GC (general classification) those who are not at 100% on form for the first week of the race.”

 

After three days in Hungary, which will be hosting a grand tour for the first time, the race will fly to Sicily before meandering up through the country and into the Alps.

Backloaded with mountainous stages in the third week, the final few days will see the riders take on parts of the Italian Alps before a grandstand finish on the penultimate day.

If there isn’t already a time gap back from the leader, possibly created on Mount Etna in the first week, Stage 15 and Stage 20, in particular, look set to be the deciding days on which the general classification will be determined.

On May 22, Stage 15 will see the peloton face a duo of first category climbs before a long but steady rise to Cogne.

With two big efforts already in the legs by the time the riders reach the last climb, stronger teams could see an opportunity to launch attacks early on.

The penultimate day comes to a climax near the top of the Marmolada, the highest mountain of all the Dolomites.

Before reaching the Marmolada, the route takes the peloton up two steep climbs. The first of the stage’s three consecutive ascents has gradients of over 15%, whilst the scaling of Passo Pordoi can get as steep as 18% in parts.

The last mountain of the 2022 Giro d’Italia is the aforementioned Marmolada and features a ride through the picturesque ski resort of Malga Ciapela.

 

Despite conquering some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes, the riders’ minds won’t be on the scenery.

Those competing for the Maglia Rosa, who know they can make ground in the final time trial, will be put under constant pressure by the purer climbers of the bunch, who will need a decent margin before going to Verona.

Those who can do both, well they’ll likely be wearing pink on the podium come May.

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