Best Pro Cycling Races in Italy

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

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The Giro d’Italia is Italy’s biggest bike race. It’s held in May and lasts for 3 weeks, attracting the best professional cyclists and millions of fans worldwide.

Besides the Giro d’Italia, did you know about other famous Italian bike races?

Let’s find out.

Giro d’Italia

Jai Hindley holding the Giro d'Italia Trophy
Jai Hindley, winner of the 2022 Giro d’Italia
  • Stages : 21
  • Dates : 6 – 28 May 2023
  • Distance : 3,000 to 3,500km
  • Other names : Tour of Italy

The Giro d’Italia is one of the three Grand Tours, along with the Tour de France and Vuelta España. The race was founded by the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. It has been held annually, except for 1943 to 1945 when it was canceled due to World War II.

The current race route covers all of Italy, from north to south. The stages vary in length and terrain, but the most challenging is the mountain stage in the Dolomites, where the race is usually won or lost.

Since its inception, the race has been won by some of the greatest cyclists in history, including Eddy Merckx, Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, and Miguel Indurain. The overall winner of Giro d’Italia is awarded the pink jersey (maglia rosa).

Milan-San Remo

2022 Milan-San Remo Winner Matej Mohoric
2022 Milan-San Remo winner, Matej Mohoric
  • Days : 1 (one-day race)
  • Dates : 18 March 2023
  • Distance : 298km
  • Other names : La Primavera

Milan-San Remo is the first among the five Monuments in professional cycling to take place annually. It’s considered the first major race and signals the start of the Classics season; a period of several weeks that features some of the biggest and most important one-day races on the calendar.

The race begins in Milan and ends in San Remo with a distance of almost 300km, making it the longest single-day race in professional cycling. The course is fairly flat until the last 50km. The last two climbs are where the action starts to heat up. Cipressa is 22km from the finish, and Poggio is 5km from the finish.

More reading : Milan-San Remo Past Winners and Records

Giro di Lombardia

2022 Giro di Lombardia Winner Tadej Pogacar
2022 Giro di Lombardia winner, Tadej Pogacar
  • Stages : 1 (one-day race)
  • Dates : 7 October 2023
  • Distance : 253km
  • Other names : Il Lombardia, Race of the Falling Leaves

Giro di Lombardia is the last among the five Monuments to be held yearly. It’s held in the Lombardy region, starting in Bergamo and finishing in Como. Held in October, it’s a hard race as the riders are usually fatigued from a long season of racing.

The route is hilly, with several major climbs, such as the Madonna del Ghisallo, Sormano, and San Fermo della Battaglia. The race is often decided on the day’s final climb, the Civiglio climb. This climb is approximately 2 kilometers long and has an average gradient of 9%.

Giro di Lombardia usually finishes with a group sprint, but in recent years there have been several solo breakaways that have been successful.

More reading : Giro di Lombardia Past Winners and Records

Tirreno-Adriatico

2022 Tirreno-Adriatico Winner Tadej Pogacar
2022 Tirreno-Adriatico winner, Tadej Pogacar
  • Stages : 7
  • Dates : 6 – 12 March 2023
  • Distance : 1,000 to 1,200km

Tirreno-Adriatico is a week-long stage race in central and southern Italy. The race typically starts on the west coast of Italy, in the Tuscan city of Livorno, and finishes on the Adriatic coast, in San Benedetto del Tronto.

The race finishes a week before Milan-San Remo. The favorites for Milan-San Remo often race Tirreno-Adriatico to gauge their early season form before the first Monument of the year.

Strade Bianche

2022 Strade Bianche Winner Tadej Pogacar
2022 Strade Bianche winner, Tadej Pogacar
  • Stages : 1 (one-day race)
  • Dates : 4 March 2023
  • Distance : 184km
  • Other names : White Roads

Strade Bianche, or white roads, is held annually on the first Saturday of March. The race covers approximately 184km of the Tuscan countryside and is known for its white gravel roads, which make up about 60% of the route.

Strade Bianche was first held in 2007 and has been part of the UCI WorldTour since 2017. The race starts and finishes in Siena and features eight sectors of gravel roads totaling 52km.

It’s often considered a Spring Classic, similar to other one-day races in March and April. In recent years, many top riders use it as a key preparation race for later targets such as Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Flanders. Some of the biggest names in the sport have also won the race, including Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan, and Vincenzo Nibali.

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