The route of the 2021 Giro d’Italia will be presented on Wednesday during a live television broadcast in Italy. Organiser RCS Sport is expected to unveil a route that starts and ends with individual time trials, and includes a stage on the Tuscan dirt roads as well as summit finishes on Monte Zoncolan, Campo Felice, and at Alpe di Mera, close to the Swiss border.
The 104th edition of the corsa rosa will be held between Saturday May 8 and Sunday May 30. RCS Sport have already confirmed the first Grand Tour of the year will start in Turin with a flat nine-kilometre individual time trial around the city that seems perfect for world time trial champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who won all the time trials at the 2020 Giro.
The Giro last started in Turin in 2011, when HTC-Highroad won the opening team time trial and Marco Pinotti wore the first maglia rosa.
With no team time trial or other individual time trials mid-race, the final time trial to Milan is expected to be around 30km in length, offering the better time triallists a chance to shake up the overall classification on the final day of the race.
The route presentation will be held in the Milan studio of host broadcaster RAI, with a number of overall contenders expected to appear in video messages.
RCS Sport recently awarded the three Giro d’Italia wild card invitations to Eolo-Kometa, Bardiani-CSF and Vini Zabù ProTeams, snubbing Gianni Savio’s Androni Giocattoli squad despite its being based in Piedmont. 23 teams will contest the Giro d’Italia, with Alpecin-Fenix also on the start list alongside the 19 WorldTour teams.
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Alexandr Vlasov (Astana), and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) are among the overall contenders for the maglia rosa in 2021.
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is also expected to ride as he returns from his hip problems caused by his crash at Il Lombardia, while Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) will return for a second year to fight for stage victories and perhaps the points jersey.
Israel Start-Up Nation have still to confirm if Chris Froome will ride the Giro d’Italia as he tries to perfect his form before the Tour de France.
RCS Sport have already revealed the opening three stages will be held in the Piedmont region before the race route heads south.
The race is then expected to climb into the Apennine mountains near Bologna before following the Adriatic coast to Foggia. The ride north will head into the often technically testing hilly roads of the south, with a tough mountain stage expected to Campo Felice near L’Aquila.
The strade bianche dirt roads of Tuscany are expected to finally return to the race on stage 11 to Montalcino, where Cadel Evans famously won the stage in the mud and rain in 2010.
A stage to Bagno di Romagna in Emilia Romagna will pass through Sesto Fiorentino near Florence to celebrate the hundredth birthday of former rider and legendary Italian national coach Alfredo Martini. A stage from Ravenna to Verona will be just one of the way’s the Giro d’Italia celebrates the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, whose poetry helped form the basis of the modern-day Italian language.
The steep finish on Monte Zoncolan is expected in the second week, with a spectacular stage in the Dolomites coming soon afterwards and before the second rest day.
The third week will see the riders head west for a series of lesser-known mountain finishes, but often with steep climbs to the finish. A finish in Alpe di Mera – where Bernal was spotted training at the weekend – is expected on the final Friday before a final mountain stage in the Swiss Alps on Saturday.
The winner of the 2021 Giro d’Italia will be decided in the final time trial to the centre of Milan with the maglia rosa again awarded in the shadows of the stunning Milan Duomo.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.