The 2018 Giro d’Italia is nearly here! We look forward to what this year’s course holds in store for the riders and get up close with Castelli’s official Giro kit collection, which will be worn by the leaders in the race's 101st edition.
While this most colourful of Grand Tours has come a long way from the savage 400km-plus stages that cemented a reputation for cruelty in its formative years, it’s never lost its reputation for toughness. This year’s course might not see riders racing into the dark for a few hundred Lira, but it’s certainly no freewheel around Italy.
The 101st Giro d’Italia pits racers against over 2,200 miles and includes some serious climbing. For the first time ever, a Grand Tour will depart from a non-European country with Israel providing the first three chapters to this year’s event including the opening 9.7km time trial. The start may be lacking in Italian flavour, but the finale is quite the opposite, taking place on the streets of Rome for only the third time in the Giro’s history.
After a 26-year break, Castelli will provide the leaders’ jerseys for Italy’s most prestigious race with the scorpion adorning the highest placed rider in the general classification, points, mountains and best young rider competitions. On top of that, the Italian brand has also produced a homage to the black jersey – awarded to the last rider in the race between 1946 and 1951.
The Italian brand is marking the progression of this year’s race with five stage-themed jerseys commemorating the Grande Partenza in Isreal and the finale in Rome as well as one transitional stage and two big days in the mountains that will each surely play a crucial role in deciding the race victor.
Indeed, the race organisers have included several carefully positioned mountain stages calculated to prove decisive in the general classification. On Stage 6, riders take on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, a 15km ascent up to the gusty summit along a much steeper road than that used in last year’s event.
By Stage 14, the race will hopefully be set for a classic showdown between the favourites as what remains of the peloton after the ascents of Passo Duran and Sella Valcalda will take on the mighty Zoncolan – 10.1km at 11.9 percent with skyward ramps of up to 22 percent. It’s a climb so notorious that its name is writ large on the brightly coloured Castelli jersey celebrating the stage.
Time trialling played a key factor in Tom Dumoulin’s Giro victory last year, but there are fewer kilometres against the clock this time around. Stage 16’s 34.2km TT could still be pivotal or perhaps provide an even more tightly bunched group of podium contenders going into the final mountains.
Stage 17 might not have the teeth of the other stages, but this transitional day that takes riders through the wine country of Franciacorta, ending with a sprint on narrow roads, has been immortalised by Castelli in a sophisticated dark-blue design with a hint of pink.
By Stage 19, the relative ease of the vineyard-lined roads will be just a memory for the peloton. This year’s queen stage features four mountain passes including the 18km Colle delle Finestre which swaps tarmac for gravel in the last 9km and marks the high-point of the race at 2,178m. Castelli has interpreted this in a grey design that features a print of Finestre’s zigzagging ascent.
If things aren’t decided by then, the race’s penultimate stage, which includes over 4,000m of climbing over its 214km route will finish off the legs of all but the very strongest riders. Then it’s a simple run into Rome and one final chance for the sprinters on the last day of the race.
With early-season form varying across a bunch of favourites including Tom Dumoulin, Chris Froome, Thibaut Pinot, Fabio Aru, Miguel Angel Lopez, Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves, the scene is set for a spectacular showdown in Italy this year.
Each leaders’ jersey is available in Race and Squadra editions, the former offering no-expense-spared design and materials for race-winning performance and the latter excellent performance and value for those seeking to emulate the look of the pros.
The leaders’ colours are also available in lightweight Climber’s W jerseys for female riders and kids’ editions for the Grand Tour contenders of tomorrow.
There’s also a choice of two Volo bib shorts for men – with pink or black leg grippers – and Velocissima bibs for women. Castelli has also produced caps and gloves in the leaders’ colours and a choice of white or anthracite socks to finish off the look for the Giro enthusiast.
Throughout the Giro, we'll be offering a free Giro d'Italia cap for everyone who buys a Giro jersey. But you'll need to hurry, they won't be around for long.