Seravezza to Sestri Levante (155km) On paper, this is a downhill finish, but with four categorized climbs before the final descent to the finish, it’s far from being assured for a bunch finish. A plucky attacker with a little luck could catch the main teams by surprise and earn themselves the Giro’s maglia rosa leader’s jersey for a few days.
Cherasco to Cervinia (209km)
Here’s the first of the truly agonizing stages of the Giro. This stage hits the Alps, and angrily. Two brutal climbs define the stage, with the finish at the end of a 27km slog up the climb to Cervinia. Expect the truest of GC contenders to attempt to put their stamp of authority on the race here. If nothing else, the main contenders will be looking to send serious messages to their rivals.
Busto Arsizio to Lecco (169km)
The last stage before the final rest day, you can expect much more fireworks again. With four rated climbs and another brutal summit finish, this stage will hurt a lot. The first climb of the day is the longest, but it’s the final climb that will send some riders searching for a shady spot to lie down. Not terribly long, but very steep, the finish climb to Pian del Resinelli will supply many pained faces for the cameras.
Falzes to Cortina d’Ampezzo (187km)
The Dolomite mountains in Italy are known for their insanely steep slopes, and Stage 17 heads into the maw of the mountains to further test legs and wills of riders. Four major climbs come at the riders like multiple punches from an angry heavyweight. The final climb, the brutally harsh Passo Giau, finishes almost 20km from the finish... but the damage will likely already be done. If the GC is close to settled, then you can expect to see a non-contender get away for the win. But if things are still tight- likely- it will be a showdown all the way to the finish line. The fast descent to the line will see possible heroics, but will it be too late?
Treviso to Alpe di Pampeago (197km)
Five rated climbs punch the riders in the legs and lungs, with two passes over the Pampeago in a maniacal final circuit. The summit finish will decide the stage, easily. Another very steep climb, the Pampeago will define the stage and the winner of the Giro could emerge for good here. A late challenge from a dark horse contender could be possible as well.
Caldes to Passo dello Stelvio (218km)
Not only is this the third longest stage of the Giro, but it also climbs the two most important climbs in Giro history- the Mortirolo and the Stelvio. There are few climbs in cycling lore like either the Mortirolo or Stelvio and both will be ridden in one day. This is the penultimate stage of the Giro and has the potential to be the defining stage of the race. Five categorized climbs for the day, but the summit finish of the Stelvio could easily be this Giro’s most exciting moment.
Milan to Milan/ Individual Time Trial (31.5km)
Either a parade for the apparent winner, or the final showdown in a tight field of GC contenders, this final stage TT will be one to watch. If the GC is less than settled, this stage will be a tense affair, as a strong rider can make up a minute or two with on a good day. The battle for the lower podium spots may also be decided here. With a fast, flat and technical course, it can also end the hopes of many riders if they risk too much and crash on one of the many sharp corners. Any remaining TT specialists in the race will look to grab the win, if their legs still have the horsepower.