This Saturday 6th of May, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will start its third Tour of Italy. The team of Jean-François Bourlart returns to the event in which it shone in its first two participations with three memorable stage wins and a double top ten in the final classification.
The 106th edition starts on May 6th in Abruzzo and ends in Rome on May 28th after 3448.6 kilometer of racing. The three weeks contain seven mountain stages from which five uphill finishes, three time trials summing up to 70 kilometer and a passage through Switzerland.
The first leader’s jersey will be awarded after a time trial of 18.4 kilometer in the Chieti province. After several hilly stages, for example to Lago Laceno and Napoli, the first mountain top finish takes place on day seven on the slopes of the Gran Sasso d’Italia (2135 meter) in the Apennins. The second individual time trial of 33.6 kilometer after nine days precedes the first rest day.
During the second week the peloton will head north in Italy to reach Switzerland on day thirteen, with a mountain top finish in Crans-Montana after conquering the Col du Grand San Bernard (2469 meter), the Cima Coppi or roof of this edition. The second and last rest day takes place after the fifteenth stage around Bergamo.
Three of the five mountain top finishes are scheduled during the final week, respectively towards Monte Bondone (stage 16), Val di Zoldo (stage 18) and Tre Cime di Lavaredo (stage 19). Last named is considered the queen stage, passing over the Passo Campolongo, Passo Valporola, Passo Giau and the Passo Tre Crochi in the Dolomites.
The battle for the pink jersey will end with an 18.6 kilometer time trial towards the top of the Monte Lussari and an entirely flat stage through the streets of the capital.
Among the eight selected riders, two men contributed to the amazing collective success in the latest edition, in which the team collected not less than eleven top five finishes. Rein Taaramäe, stage winner in 2016, was part of three long breakaways which made it to the finish, to the Etna (3rd) and towards Genova alongside Lorenzo Rota, who finished less than a bike length away from the stage win. The vice Italian champion will participate to his national tour for the fourth time.
With Rota, Niccoló Bonifazio and Simone Petilli, the complete Italian contingent of the team will participate to the Giro. Bonifazio sprinted three times to the podium in his only participation in 2018. He recently took his first win for the team in the Giro di Sicilia, with the support of Simone Petilli, who finished eight in the final classification and will participate to the Giro for the fourth time.
Sven Erik Bystrøm is on the eve of his sixth Grand Tour and Giro debut, just like three Belgian talents. Laurens Huys (24), Arne Marit (24) and Laurenz Rex (23) will make their Grand Tour debut. Marit obtained his first World Tour top ten results this spring in stage of Paris-Nice and the Volta Catalunya. Huys contributed to several team victories as a perfect domestique. Rex, revelation of Paris-Roubaix, took his first professional win one month before when he was making his return in competition after an injury.
Giro d’Italia :
Stage 1 (06/05): Costa dei Trabocchi Fossacesia – Marina Ortana(19,6km)(TT)
Stage 2 (07/05): Teramo – San Salvo (201km)
Stage 3 (08/05): Vasto – Melfi (216km)
Stage 4 (09/05): Venosa – Lago Laceno (175km)
Stage 5 (10/05): Atripalda – Salerno (171km)
Stage 6 (11/05): Napoli – Napoli (162km)
Stage 7 (12/05): Capua – Gran Sasso d’Italia (Campo Imperatore) (218km)
Stage 8 (13/05): Terni – Fossombre (207km)
Stage 9 (14/05): Savignano sul Rubicone – Cesena (35km) (= TT)
15/05: Rest day
Stage 10 (16/05): Sacnadiano – Viareggio (196km)
Stage 11 (17/05): Camaiore – Tortona (219km)
Stage 12 (18/05): Bra – Rivoli (179km)
Stage 13 (19/05): Borgofranco d’Ivrea – Crans Montana (207km)
Stage 14 (20/05): Sierre – Cassano Magnago (193km)
Stage 15 (21/05) Seregno – Bergamo (195km)
22/05: Rest day
Stage 16 (23/05): Sabbio Chiese – Monte Bondone (203km)
Stage 17 (24/05): Pergine Valsugana – Caorle (195km)
Stage 18 (25/05): Oderzo – Val di Zoldo (161km)
Stage 19 (26/05): Longarone – Tre Cime di Lavaredo (183km)
Stage 20 (27/05): Tarvisio – Monte Lussari (18,6km) (= TT)
Stage 21 (28/05): Roma – Roma (115km)
Sven Erik Bystrøm
Steven De Neef