The 2024 Giro d’Italia route can be explained in a few numbers: 21 stages, 3,321 kilometres of racing, 68.2km of time trialling, six summit finishes and seven mountainous stages, all between Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 26.
Yet the route of the 107th edition of the Corsa Rosa also forms the geographical tapestry on which three weeks of deep dives into the history of cycling’s second biggest stage race and fresh, mostly exciting chapters of the race simultaneously combine.
Some parts of the 2024 route are wholly unprecedented, too, others are steeped in Giro d’Italia tradition. The former are sure to provide an extra, intriguing dimension or perspective next May, the latter will see another layer added to the drama and spectacle that has unfolded on the same roads in previous years, in some cases, all the way back to the first-ever Giro d’Italia of 1909.
Overall it’s fair to say the 2024 route, which was presented in the city of Trento on Friday, October 13, is finely balanced and perhaps not as mountainous as in some previous editions.
Either way, the lengthy pair of time trials matched by some steep mountain-top finishes and daunting stages through the Alps, Apennines and Dolomites, culminating in the final double ascent and descent of the Monte Grappa.
Here we delve into five stages that look set to shape the 2024 Giro d’Italia.
Sunday, May 5: San Francesco al Campo – Oropa 150 kilometres
The first big climbing test. Given its position in the 2024 race, Oropa will both act as a real wake-up call for the current peloton, whilst simultaneously constituting a major blast from the past. For one thing, the last time a major mountain-top finish featured in the Giro d’Italia’s opening weekend was in 1989, when Portugal’s Acacio da Silva took the last of his five stage wins in the Corsa Rosa on the slopes of Mount Etna.
Nestled in the Alpine foothills, the sanctuary of Oropa could hardly be further from Sicily and the scene of Da Silva’s success, but as the last climb on stage 2, and the only major ascent of the day, it’s sure to play an equally big outcome. There will have been skirmishing on stage 1’s rolling course through Turin on the opening Saturday. But any team whose GC leader is in good shape will want to hit the ground running on Oropa and push any rivals who might be a little on edge off the board completely – before they get a chance to regain momentum.