The 2021 Giro d’Italia kicks off in the Piedmont region in nothern Italy. The 1st stage is a 8.6 kilometres ITT in Turin, offering world time trial champion Filippo Ganna a perfect opportunity to take the first maglia rosa. Just like he did last year.
Stage 2 is played on virtually flat roads, so an early fast finishers showdown in Novara is next to certain. The 3rd stage could see a sprint finish of a select group or a successful (late) attack. The route serves a more lumpy second part and the last hill is crested with 15 kilometres out.
The first hilltop finish will be on the fourth day of action in Sestola, where the 2016 Giro also finished, but after a different finish climb. With double digit gradients the finale of stage 4 is set to detonate the fireworks for the first time this Giro.
The route heads further south and serves several chances for the sprinters to shine along the way, notably in Cattolica (stage 5) and Foligno (stage 10), while the race to Termoli (stage 7) presents and opprtunity for either sprinters or (late) attackers with a short but sharp ramp inside the last 2 kilometres.
Attackers and climbers are likely to show themselves in the mountain stage to San Giacomo (stage 6) and in the uphill finale to Guardia Sanframondi (stage 8), while the 9th stage serves a spectacle finish in ski resort Campo Felice. The last 1.6 kilometres of the race climb on a steep gravel path.
The second week opens with stage 11, which is a Strade Bianche-like race on the unpaved roads between Perugia and Montalcino. Stage 12 returns to Bagno di Romagna, where Omar Fraile outsprinted fellow attackers Rui Costa and Pierre Rolland in 2017, at the end of a race with 3,700 vertical metres.
The Giro continues with stage 13, another opportunity for the fast men. Two years ago Richard Carapaz sealed his GC victory in Verona’s amphitheatre in an ITT that was won by Chad Haga.
And on we go with a finale on the Monte Zoncolan from Sutrio, which is not as hard as the regular 10.1 kilometres ascent at 11.9%, but still… The last 3 kilometres rise at a whopping 13%!
The Zoncolan-race will be stage 14 before stage 15 is a lumpy test between Grado and Gorizia. In the (shortened) 16th stage it’s back to the climbers when another mountainous test takes the riders over the Passo Giau to a downhill finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo. In 2012, Joaquin Rodríguez was the last stage winner in this town in the southern Dolomitic Alps.
Concerning the last week of action, which starts on Wednesday, a summit finish at the brutal Sega di Ala is on the cards. Stage 17 tackles the Passo San Valentino before the unprecedented finish climb brings 11.2 kilometres at 9.8% to the table. Stage 18 serves a long and mostly flat route before the race continues with two days for climbers and GC contenders.
The 19th stage takes in two intermediate climbs before a summit finish at the unprecedented Alpe di Mera, which is a tough test with the most unforgiving section close to the finish. The last 3 kilometres rise at 10.5% to the line.
Stage 20 is the last chance for climbers to move up in the GC. The race takes in an elevation gain of 4,200 metres and finish uphill at the Alpe Motta after 7.3 kilometres of climbing at 7.6%.
The Giro concludes with an flat individual time trial of 30.3 kilometres into Milan.
Giro d’Italia 2021: route, profiles, more
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