Giro d'Italia 2021: Stage 1 preview

Stage 1: Turin-Turin

Date: May 8, 2021 

Distance: 8.6km 

Stage start: 2 p.m. CEST

Stage type: Time trial

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the unification of Italy, the proclamation of the new kingdom taking place after the first meeting of the new Italian parliament in Turin. The Giro is marking the event with the first Grande Partenza in the city since the celebrations of the 150th anniversary in 2011. Back then, the race got underway with a 19.3km team time trial won by HTC-Columbia that put Marco Pinotti in the maglia rosa. A decade on, organisers RCS have opted for an individual time trial that looks ideally suited to Italy’s current time trial World Champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who won the equivalent stage in Palermo last year.

Unlike the 2011 TTT, which started in Venaria Reale to the north of Turin, this 8.6km time trial takes place entirely within the city. It starts in the magnificent Piazza Castello, switching through some tight corners before running towards the Po. Reaching the river, the riders will swing right and follow the waterway, passing through the intermediate checkpoint at the Castello del Valentino at the 3.7km mark.

The course crosses the Po River via the Ponte Balbis, where the riders will reach the longest, straight section on the course. This leads along the Corso Casale all the way to the finish next to the Church of Gran Madre di Dio, beneath the Superga hill.

With its numerous twists and turns where the riders will have to slow and then accelerate back up to cruising speed and the long straight into the finish, this is a course that will undoubtedly suit Ineos Grenadiers’ Ganna and the other time trial specialists, including Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Remco Evenepoel, UAE Team Emirate’s Brandon McNulty, Qhubeka Assos’ Victor Campenaerts and Jumbo-Visma’s Tobias Foss and Edoardo Affini. At the same time, the gaps between the general classification favourites shouldn’t be too large.

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