Giro d'Italia
Ready for Rosa

The mercury is rising ahead of the ‘grande partenza’ of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday 11th May. The 102nd edition of the Corsa Rosa immediately pitches the riders into its relentlessly combative route, with the first of three Individual Time Trials, an 8km test from Bologna up to the hilltop San Luca sanctuary to claim the year’s first Maglia Rosa.

21 stages later the riders reach Verona – with so much to be won or lost along the 3,518.5km route. The General Classification fight will be fierce, but as this year’s race, almost entirely ridden in Italy, also features six mountain stages with around 46,500m of climbing, the Points and Mountains classifications will make for epic battles.

The updated start lists are submitted to the race organisers – here’s what to expect:

Team Jumbo-Visma ’s Primož Roglič was recently reminiscing with media about his days as a fan, watching the 2013 Giro from the roadside.

“I remember it very well. It was a very steep finish, and Rigoberto Urán won. I was standing there with the other fans when the riders went past. Wow.”

Back then the Colombian was riding for Team Sky, on a fizik Aliante saddle, and looking for a GC podium, now it’s the Solvenian’s turn on his Antares 00. And it’s the three time trials combined with the climbing that could well play into the 29-year-old’s favor. While the Italian riders will naturally attract the most of the fans’ attention, this year’s route pushes the riders north-east in the final week, closer to Roglic’s homeland.


Primoz Roglic

Team Ineos’ roster of riders remains constant from the Team Sky days, but the leadership of its first Grand Tour team is unfamiliar, youthful and exciting.

With Chris Froome electing not to defend his title, Geraint Thomas also concentrating on the Tour de France, and the highly talented 22-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal – who was expected to lead for the Giro 102 – suffering the misfortune of a broken collarbone, it’s a serendipitous opportunity for a young duo sharing the helm of the GC charge for the 102nd Giro: Pavel Sivakov, 21-year-old Russian winner of April’s five-stage Tour of the Alps, and the British rider with whom he combined so successfully in that race, Tao Geoghegan Hart: the 24-year-old came second overall, having picked up two stage wins.


Pavel Sivakok

Movistar Team’s line-up also features a late change. With World Champion Alejandro Valverde, who was initially planned to be a GC lead, forced to withdraw as he recovers from injuries sustained in a crash on his 39th birthday, leadership duties fall solely to the Spaniard’s compatriot Mikel Landa, who is hoping for a return to his brilliant best form, after a tough 2018.

Landa has previously hit the final GC podium at the Giro, as well as winning three individual stages and the Mountains Classification; and there is no doubt that his motivation is high to regain the winning feeling for himself and team team.


Mikel Landa

AG2R La Mondiale have decided to keep their powder dry on their most experienced General Classification campaigner, Romain Bardet, enabling him to focus purely on riding the Tour de France this season, rather than compete the Giro d’Italia as well. So after fighting eight Tours de France, 30-year-old Tony Gallopin is set to start the Corsa Rosa for the first time, as the GC leader.

Having already achieved stage wins at the Tour and Vuelta, he’d love to ‘complete the set’, although the stage hunting may come from elsewhere in his predominantly French pack: Alexis Vuillermoz is a dangerous puncheur and one to watch.


Tony Gallopin

There will also be poignancy in the 2019 Giro, with a number of riders wearing special edition shoes – called Infinito R1 19 19 – that commemorate the centenary of the historic 1919 edition. Their eye-catching design includes a reflective material – see if you can spot them.