This is only the 4th time in the century-long history of the Giro that the race has finished in Rome
This year’s Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy), one of the great stage races of the professional cycling calendar, began on 4th May with 3 days (a prologue time-trial and 2 stages) in Israel. The cyclists and all their support teams, equipment etc. then flew to Sicily for some exciting racing on that beautiful island including a stage up the volcano, Etna. From there the race transferred on to the mainland and made its way north, stage by stage, until it reached the high mountains of the Alps. In contrast to the mainly flat final stage in Rome, the penultimate state will be a mountainous one, from Susa to Cervinia, a resort scenically located below the Matterhorn, (Monte Cervino in Italian).
After Stage 20, the teams will fly south to the Italian capital to be ready for the final day’s racing in Rome on Sunday. The stage, at 118 kilometres, is a fairly short one but will no doubt feel long enough to the riders who have endured the rigours of the last 3 weeks of cycle racing! The race will consist of ten laps, each of 11.5 kilometres, right in the heart of Rome. The start and finish of each lap are on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, halfway between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. The first half goes through the old city, via Circus Maximus to the Colosseum, while the second half is a straight line to the finish.
The route is fairly flat and undemanding, apart from some sections of cobbles and numerous tricky tight turns so all the cyclists will have to be on their guard and unable to relax at all. It will certainly be an interesting day for the riders, and of course also for the spectators who will be able to watch top class cycling amidst the setting of historic Rome. It’s expected that the race will finish in a bunch sprint, and the Italian sprinter Elia Viviani will be favourite to win that particular contest. At the time of writing, however, the overall leader of the Giro is the British rider Simon Yates, of the Australian Mitchelton Scott team. Hopes are high that, with the support of his team he will still be wearing the leader’s pink jersey at the end of the race, which will make him the first British cyclist ever to win the Giro.
An exciting day is in store for riders, fans along the course route in Rome and those watching on their televisions at home. Let’s hope the sun shines and it should be a really good advert for cycling and for the beautiful city of Rome.