Cycling is a sport led by tradition, and though the bikes, individuals and colourful jerseys always change, the ceremony remains, and few cycling customs are held as sacred as this: of the three Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia comes first.
Typically held in May when riders test their fresh legs over Italy’s famous peaks in a fight to finish in the Maglia Rosa. And while for the 103rd edition the Giro will retain much of its history and tradition, it will follow an exciting Tour de France, which finished in Paris just a few short weeks ago.
The change of schedule promises not only to shake things up as temperatures dip to near-freezing on the high climbs, this year leading up to Cima Coppi along the famed switchbacks of Passo Stelvio. It has also reshaped the field, with several prominent riders challenging La Corsa Rosa for the first time in their careers as the condensed cycling season opens up opportunities to new riders.
Yet no matter the month or whether the Giro comes first, second or last in the Grand Tour line-up, one thing is certain: with thousands of kilometres from the start in Sicily to the top of the final podium in Milan, including unpredictable conditions and the unforgiving gradients of both the Alps and Dolomites, an odyssey of thrill and drama awaits the riders of Italy’s boldest bike race that is sure to carry the Giro tradition forward in 2020.