The 2021 Giro d’Italia kicks off in the Piedmont region in nothern Italy. The 1st stage is a 9 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 succesful (late) attack. The route serves a more lumpy second part and the last hill is crested with 5 kilometres out.
The first hilltop finish will be on the fourth day of action in Sestola, where the 2016 Giro also finished. The then 21-year old Giulio Ciccone soloed to the first big victory in his career.
The route heads further south and serves several chances for the sprinters to shine along the way, notably in Cattolica, Termoli and Foligno. Attackers and climbers are likely to show themselves in the hilly stage to Campo Felice and the uphill finish in Guardia Sanframondi.
The second week opens with a Strade Bianche-like stage on the unpaved roads between Perugia and Montalcino. The race then returns to Bagno di Romagna, where Omar Fraile outsprinted fellow attackers Rui Costa and Pierre Rolland in 2017.
The Giro continues with a flat race from Ravenna to Verona. 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, which is a monster of 10.1 kilometres at 11.9% with peaks up to 22%. When the Giro visited the Zoncolan in 2018, Chris Froome soloed to victory.
The Zoncolan-race will be stage 14 before stage 15 would be a lumpy test between Grado and Gorizia. On stage 16 it will be back to the pure bred climbers when another mountainous test takes the riders – via the Passo Pardoi with its peak at 2,239 metres – 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 steep Sega di Ala is on the cards: 11.1 kilometres at 9.6%. The next day would be a rare opportunity for sprinters in Bergamo before the race continues with two days for climbers and GC contenders.
Alpe di Mera will serve as summit finish for stage 19 after a 7.4 kilometres climb at 8.3%, while the last mountainous test is a race with 4,200 vertical metres and summit finish at the Alpe Motta.
The Giro concludes with an individual time trial into Milan.
Giro d’Italia 2021: route, profiles, more
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