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Giro d'Italia 2020: The toughest stages of Italy's legendary cycling race

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Giro d'Italia 2020: The toughest stages of Italy's legendary cycling race
Riders approach Piancavallo in the Dolomites, which will also feature in the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Luk Benies/AFP
09:54 CEST+02:00
Organizers on Thursday unveiled the route of the next Giro d'Italia. From volcanos to gruelling mountain ascents, here are the stages to watch out for.

With seven uphill finishes and three individual time-trials, the 2020 Giro d'Italia will get underway in Budapest on May 9th with the riders finishing in front of Milan's iconic Duomo on May 31st.

READ ALSO: Ten awe-inspiring routes for cycling through Italy

After three stages in Hungary, the 3,579km race heads for Sicily, before crossing to the mainland and moving across the foot of Italy, up along the Adriatic coast, before hitting the Dolomites and the Alps in the gruelling final week.

Here's a look at five key stages out of 21 that could decide the pink jersey winner of the 103rd edition of the three-week race.

Stage 5: Enna - Mount Etna
Date: May 13th
Distance: 150 km
Difficulty: ****


Riding towards Etna in 2011. Photo: Luk Benies/AFP

The final day of three in Sicily sees the riders head from inland Enna east to the foot of the Mount Etna volcano, with a first-ever climb from Linguaglossa to Piano Provenzana over 18 km with average gradients of 7 percent, peaking at 10 percent in the finale.

Stage 15: Rivolto Air Base - Piancavallo
Date: May 24th
Distance: 183 km
Difficulty: ****

This mountain stage in the north-east gets underway in an Italian military Air Base near Udine, home to the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team. It starts gently with 40 km of flat before a succession of climbs and descents to the foot of the final climb of Piancavallo in the Dolomites, with peaks of 14 percent.


Approaching Piancavallo in 2017. Photo: Luk Benies/AFP

Stage 17: Bassano Del Grappa - Madonna Di Campiglio
Date: May 27th
Distance:  202 km
Difficulty: *****

The pink jersey contenders will start to flex their muscles with three summit finishes in the final five days. This unrelenting mountain stage has a succession of four climbs, including Forcella Valbona and Monte Bondone with gradients over 10 percent in the second part of the ascent. After clearing the Passo Durone, the peloton will eventually tackle the closing climb to the Alpine resort of Madonna di Campiglio.

Stage 18: Pinzolo - Laghi Di Cancano
Date: May 28th
Distance: 209 km
Difficulty: *****


Climbing the Stelvio in 2017. Photo: Luk Benies/AFP

A colossal Alpine stage with 5,400 m vertical altitude in total over four climbs. The route starts uphill on Passo Campo Carlo Magno. The highest point of this year's Giro is reached on the Stelvio in the Alps with riders facing a gruelling 2,758m climb.

Stage 20: Alba - Sestriere
Date: May 30th
Distance: 200 km
Difficulty: *****

The last chance for the title contenders comes on the penultimate day in an Alpine stage crossing over to France. Riders will pass Colle dell'Agnello, Col d'Izoard and Monginevro, before the final climb up to Sestriere.


The complete route for the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Image: Giro d'Italia/Twitter

 
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