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A Comprehensive Guide to the 2024 Giro d’Italia

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A Comprehensive Guide to the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaStuart Franklin - Getty Images


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It’s late April, which means it’s almost time for one of the sport’s hardest races in one of the world’s most beautiful locations: the Giro d’Italia, the first of pro cycling’s trifecta of three-week “grand tours.” While not as prestigious as the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy is considered by many to be the hardest grand tour of the season, a race known for its challenging terrain, stunning scenery, and the iconic maglia rosa, the “pink jersey” that’s awarded each day to the leader of the Giro’s General Classification.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d’Italia:

Dates: Saturday, May 4 - Sunday, May 26

How to Watch the Giro d’Italia in the U.S.

If you’re a Max subscriber ($9.99/month), then you have access to the streaming platform’s B/R Sports package, which is the only legal way to stream the Giro d’Italia in the USA. For now, the package is free to all regular Max subscribers, but at some point, it will cost an additional $9.99 each month. That’s not as affordable as GCN+ used to be, but considering everything else you get with the B/R Sports package (such as MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA Men’s March Madness, U.S. Soccer, and 24 Hours of Le Mans coverage) it’s a pretty good deal.

Max has a user-friendly app for smartphones, streaming devices, game consoles, and smart TVs. There’s also an easy-to-navigate website, which is a helpful option for streaming the race from work. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss.)

You could cancel your monthly subscription at the end of the race, but remember that Max will be offering live streams of many road, mountain, track, and cyclocross races throughout the rest of the year. If that floats your boat, consider getting an annual subscription for $99.99 (or $149.99 for ad-free streaming).

How to Watch the Giro d’Italia in Canada

If you live in Canada, you can catch the action on FloBikes ($29.99 monthly or $150 for the year). Stream or cast from your desktop, mobile, or TV. The app is now available on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, and Apple TV. And live coverage starts at 7:45 AM EDT for most stages.

How to Watch the Giro d’Italia for Free

While we haven’t found legal ways to watch the Giro LIVE for free, you may be able to catch extended highlights on NBC/Peackock’s YouTube Channel a couple of hours after the events. However, where there is a will, there is a way. Just, “be careful with the ads.”

The Route

The 107th edition of the Giro d’Italia covers 3,386.7K (2,138 miles) over 21 stages, with two individual time trials, seven stages with uphill finishes, and six to eight stages expected to end with field sprints.

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Official route of the 2024 Giro d’Italia Courtesy of RCS Mediagroup

This year’s Grande Partenza takes place in Piemonte, near the French-Italian Alps, with two challenging road stages that will force the Giro’s GC contenders to be at their best right away. Stage 1, a 136K stage from Venaria Reale to Torino, features three categorized climbs–including the Superga and the Colle Maddalena–but it’s a short, punchy, uncategorized ascent just before the finish that could determine the stage winner.

Stage 2 begins in San Francesco al Campo and ends after 150K with this year’s first summit finish–on the Category 1 Santuario di Oropa, the climb on which deceased Italian legend Marco Pantani took one of his most famous stage wins in 1999. By the end of the first weekend, the GC battle will already be in full swing.

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Elevation profile of Stage 2 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

The race then begins working its way south, and Stages 3, 4, and 5—which finish in Fossano, Andora, and Lucca, respectively—should be days for the Giro’s sprinters. (Although the finishes of Stages 3 and 4 feature ramps inside the final 10K that could thwart the fast men.) Stage 6 brings the race from the coast into Tuscany (it finishes in Rapolano Terme) and features 12K of the strade bianche (“white gravel roads”) that give March’s Strade Bianche road race its name. If there’s one stage during the first week that has the potential to cause a few surprises, it’s this one.

Stage 7 is the first individual time trial of the Giro, and it’s a tough one: beginning in Foligno, the 37.2K race against the clock starts with over 30K of flat roads. But there’s a nasty sting in the course’s tail: a 6.5K climb to the finish line that starts steep and then ascends more gradually to the line. Riders who don’t pace themselves on the flat part of the course could explode on the final climb. There could be large time gaps here.

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Elevation profile of Stage 7 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

Starting in Spoleto, Stage 8 brings the second summit finish of the first week–on the Category 1 Prati di Tivo, a 14K climb in the Umbrian Apennines with an average gradient of 7%. With a field sprint expected in Napoli at the end of Sunday’s Stage 9 (after a 214K stage that starts in Avezzano), Stages 7 and 8 will determine which rider will wear the maglia rosa into the Giro’s first Rest Day.

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Elevation profile of Stage 8 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

The second week begins in Pompeii with Stage 10, a 142K stage that features a summit finish on a new climb, the Category 1 Bocca della Selva, a 20.9K climb with a deceiving 4.6% average gradient. The first few kilometers are actually downhill, so the climb is actually harder than its statistics suggest.

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Elevation profile of Stage 10 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

We expect Stage 11 (207K) to end with a field sprint in Francavilla al Mare, and Stage 12—with a jagged 190K stage through the Marche region (an area known for its muri or “walls”)—looks like the perfect day for a breakaway filled with puncheurs and riders who perform well in the spring classics. Friday’s Stage 13 is the flattest stage of this year’s race, which is probably a good thing considering the next two stages. This 179K stage from Riccione to Cento will be an active rest day for much of the peloton.

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Elevation profile of Stage 11 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

And they’ll need one because the third weekend begins with Stage 14–the Giro’s second individual time trial–a generally flat, 31K course from Castiglione delle Stiviere to Desenzano del Garda. This is a day for the Giro’s time trial specialists; the pure climbers will struggle to stay within shouting distance of their more powerful colleagues.

But they’ll have a chance for revenge on Sunday, when the race heads into the Alps for Stage 15, a 220K monster stage (the longest in this year’s race) with five categorized climbs, including back-to-back 2000m summits (both Category 1 ascents) at the end of the day, with a summit finish at the Mottolino ski resort just above Livigno. This weekend should blow the Giro wide open, leaving just a handful of riders still in contention to win the race overall.

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Elevation profile of Stage 15 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

The third week begins the same way the second week ends, with a 200K, high-altitude mountain stage. Stage 16 features the granddaddy of them all: the Stelvio, this year’s “Cima Coppi” as the highest summit in the race. Topping out at over 2700m, the climb comes early in the stage but will nonetheless offer a rude awakening to a peloton that’s coming out of the second Rest Day. After a long ride down into and through a valley, the day ends with the Category 1 Passo Pinei and then a summit finish on the Category 2 Monte Pana, in Santa Cristina in Val Gardena.

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Elevation profile of Stage 16 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

At “just” 159K, Stage 17 is much shorter than the previous two mountain stages, but it’s jammed with five categorized climbs, including the Category 2 Passo Sella and the Category 1 Passo Rolle. The day ends with two ascents of the Category 1 Passo Brocon, which the riders climb for a second time on their way to the finish line. This will be an intense stage, and it could pose a challenge for the team defending the pink jersey to control. The riders will be either climbing or descending from start to finish and if someone’s going to stage a third-week ambush, it could come here.

The next two stages offer a break from the mountains. Stage 18 brings a 166K downhill ride from Fiera di Primiero to Padua that should end with a field sprint. Stage 19 looks like the perfect chance for a small group of opportunists–who have likely been saving themselves in the high mountains–to escape and fight for a breakaway stage win in Sappada.

The 154K stage begins in Mortegliano and climbs steadily throughout the day, culminating with three categorized climbs in the second half stage, the last of which the riders summit just 7K from the finish. After so many days of intense climbing–and with one more day in the mountains still to come–the peloton could just sit back and let the break go all the way to the finish.

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Elevation profile of Stage 20 of the 2024 Giro d’ItaliaCourtesy of RCS Mediagroup

That sets the stage for Stage 20, the last chance for anyone hoping to steal the 2024 Giro d’Italia from whoever's been leading it. And–as the last two editions have shown us–that’s a realistic possibility. Starting in Alpago, the stage rolls along for about 85K before the first of two ascents of the Monte Grappa, an 18K climb with an average gradient of 8.1%–that’s steep. This isn’t a stage with a summit finish–the race finishes in Bassano del Grappa after a long descent from the top of the Monte Grappa down into the valley below–but even without one, the stage should still provide a dramatic conclusion to the Giro’s GC battle.

The race concludes Sunday in Rome with a 122K road stage featuring several circuits through the Eternal City. The day will begin with clinking glasses of prosecco, and end with one last chance for the sprinters to grab some glory.

You can find the elevation profiles and course maps for each 2024 Giro d’Italia stage here.

What Happened Last Year

For the second year in a row, the 2023 Giro d’Italia was decided on the grand tour’s penultimate day. In 2022, Australia’s Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) took the pink jersey from Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) on Stage 20. Hindley won a mountain stage at the end of the grand tour’s first week, then hung around near the top of the General Classification before seizing his moment late in the Giro’s final mountain stage and winning the race overall.

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Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) crosses the finish line during the 106th Giro d’Italia 2023, Stage 20—a 18.6km individual climbing time trial stage from Tarvisio 750m to Monte Lussari. Stuart Franklin - Getty Images

In 2023, Slovenia’s Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) followed the same formula, albeit without an early-stage win. After Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step)—who had won two stages and was wearing the pink jersey as the Giro’s overall leader—was forced to abandon the race after testing positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the Giro’s first Rest Day, Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) took the maglia rosa. With the exception of the two days straddling the second Rest Day, Thomas held the jersey for much of the second and third weeks.

But he cracked on Stage 20, an 18.6K uphill time trial from Tarvisio to the summit of the Monte Lussari. Roglič, who entered the day just 26 seconds behind Thomas on GC, won the stage by 40 seconds, taking the pink jersey–and the 2023 Giro–by a slim margin.

Thomas held on to finish second, and Portugal’s João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) finished third. Italy’s Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) won the Points Classification, France’s Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the King of the Mountains Classification, and Almeida was the Giro’s Best Young Rider.

Riders to Watch

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

With most of the sport’s best grand tour riders (including Roglič) racing the Tour de France this summer, this year’s Giro has a short list of overall contenders, a list that’s headlined by one of the sport’s true superstars: Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

The 25-year-old has never raced the Giro, and he takes the starting line this year as the favorite to win and dominate it. Then he’s planning to head to the Tour, where he’s hoping to become the first rider since Italy’s Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Giro and the Tour in the same season.

Geraint Thomas (INEOS-Grenadiers)

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Stuart Franklin - Getty Images

Pogačar’s biggest challenger will likely be Geraint Thomas, who’s coming back to the Giro after last year’s disappointment. The 37-year-old (he’ll turn 38 during the race) will have a strong and experienced team supporting him–and the course suits him–but he’ll have a hard time overcoming Pogačar.

Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike)

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

We’ll also be keeping an eye on Belgium’s Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike), who made headlines last December when it was announced that he was breaking his contract with BORA-hansgrohe (who had recently signed Roglič away from Jumbo) to join the Dutch superteam.

The winner of the Tour de l‘Avenir in 2022, Uijtdebroeks just turned 21 and is widely considered to be a future grand tour contender. Without Belgium’s Wout van Aert, who’s skipping the Giro due to injuries he sustained in a crash at a race in Belgium a few weeks ago, Uijtdebroeks becomes the focus of the team’s Giro plans. And with a strong squad alongside him, he could finish on the podium and is the easy pick to become the Giro’s Best Young Rider.

Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale)

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Other GC contenders include Australia’s Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), a former fourth-place finisher at the Tour de France and Giro stage-winner; Italy’s Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious), a former Giro podium-finisher; Colombia’s Daniel Martinez (BORA-hansgrohe), a former fifth-place finisher at the Giro; Great Britain’s Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), a two-time top-10 finisher; and France’s Romain Bardet (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), a former Tour de France podium finisher who was seventh at the Giro in 2021 but might be more of stage hunter this year.

Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek)

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Luc Claessen - Getty Images

Other stage hunters include Italy’s Giulio Ciccone (Lidl-Trek), a three-time stage winner who was the Giro’s King of the Mountains in 2019; France’s Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step), who’s riding his first Giro; and Canada’s Michael Woods (Israel-PremierTech), who’s hoping to complete a hat-trick of grand tour stage victories with a win in Italy.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

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Maximiliano Blanco - Getty Images

One of the most controversial riders in this year’s Giro will be Colombia’s Nairo Quintana (Movistar), winner of the Giro in 2014. But the 34-year-old hasn’t raced since finishing sixth overall in the 2022 Tour de France and then having his results disqualified after testing positive for tramadol, a painkiller that’s banned by the UCI (but not banned by WADA). He’s now back in the WorldTour with the team that made him famous. His return has not been a popular one, though, and it will be interesting to see how he’s received in Italy.

The Giro also offers several stage win opportunities for field sprinters, and that–plus the fact that the Tour de France is very not sprinter-friendly–means there will be lots of them taking the start, including Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek); Belgium’s Tim Merlier (Soudal–Quick Step); Dutch sprinters Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Fabio Jakobsen (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), and Australia’s Sam Welsford (BORA-Hansgrohe), Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla) and Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck); and Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty).

Last but not least, the Giro will see several North Americans taking the start, with Americans Larry Warbasse (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers), and Will Barta (Movistar) joining Woods on the starting line, with more expected to join them as teams finalize their rosters.

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