The 2021 Giro d’Italia will start in Turin, with Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) the favourite to win the opening nine-kilometre individual time trial just as he did in 2020 when the Grande Partenza was held in Palermo.
The Giro will take place from Saturday, May 8 to Sunday, May 30, with the full race route expected to be announced late this month. Egan Bernal and Vincenzo Nibali are amongst the overall contenders for the maglia rosa.
Race organiser RCS Sport confirmed Turin as the host of the start, with stage 2 to Novara offering the sprinters an early chance of victory. Stage 3 will also be held in the Piedmont region, starting in Biella and finishing in Canale, south of Turin.
The Giro will visit the region again late in the race, with stage 19 set to finish at altitude at Alpe di Mera, while the following day’s stage will start from Ganna’s hometown of Verbania. The final stage is expected to be a time trial to the centre of Milan, giving Ganna another chance of a stage victory.
After the early Piedmont stages, the route is expected to head south via the central Apennines and Emilia Romagna and then onto Puglia, before returning north via the Tuscan strade bianche and then east to climb the Zoncolan.
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. The city also hosted the 1961 Grande Partenza with Spain’s Miguel Poblet winning the sprint in the rain after a 115km stage around the city. On that occasion, the Giro celebrated the centenary of the unification of Italy as a single country and this year’s race celebrates the 160th anniversary of Turin becoming the first capital of Italy.
The three opening stages offer opportunities to three different types of rider.
The world time trial champion Ganna is the obvious favourite for the opening time trial in central Turin and along the banks of the Po river, but the stage will also offer the better time triallists like Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) a chance to gain some seconds on the other overall contenders.
Stage 2 from Stupinigi to Novara is for the sprinters, with the 173km stage ending on the pan flat roads of the Po valley. The last time the Giro finished in Novara, Eddy Merckx won the stage and pulled on the pink jersey, going on to win the first of his five overall victories.
Stage 3 from Biella to Canale in the north of the Langhe wine area, includes three small categorised climbs, with two others in the final 12km of the 187km stage. They could be perfect places to launch a late attack to try to gain enough time to take the pink jersey.
The Giro d'Italia 2021 will start from…. PIEMONTE! Did you guess the Grande Partenza? | Il Giro D'Italia 2021 partirà dal… PIEMONTE! Avete indovinato la Grande Partenza? pic.twitter.com/9OF0O7at3vFebruary 4, 2021
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