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Giro d'Italia 2021: Stage 17 preview

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Stage 17 profile 2021 Giro d'Italia

Stage 17 profile (Image credit: RCS Sport)
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Stage 17 map 2021 Giro d'Italia

Stage 17 map (Image credit: RCS Sport)

Stage 17: Canazei-Sega di Ala

Date: May 26, 2021 

Distance: 193km 

Stage start: 12:10 p.m. CEST

Stage type: Mountains

After a much-needed rest day, the Giro resumes with a quite different mountain stage to the previous one, but one that’s no less intriguing given a tricky finale that’s very likely to split the GC favourites.

Starting in Canazei, the route descends steadily for the opening 50 kilometres. The first of the day’s three climbs is the third-category ascent to Sveseri, which is close to 9 per cent for 3km. Beyond it, the riders will descend for another 40km to reach Trento, location of the first intermediate sprint.

The second sprint arrives 30km further down a very flat section of road at Mori, the race then continuing to the south until forking westwards to tackle the first-category Passo di San Valentino. It’s 16.5km long, averaging a meaty 7.2 per cent. There are, however, frequent sections in its lower half that are considerably steeper than that, including one longish stretch that’s close to 13 per cent. Higher up, it’s more moderate, but woe betide anyone who’s not rediscovered their climbing legs following the rest day.

The road drops steeply back into the Adige valley beyond, the riders circling back to the small town of Ala, this time forking south-east towards Sega di Ala. The climb has never featured on the Giro before, but did appear on the final day of the 2013 edition of the Giro di Trentino, now the Tour of the Alps, with Vincenzo Nibali taking both stage and overall honours.

The first-category ascent averages 9.5 per cent over 11.5 kilometres. Its middle section is considerably steeper than that average, though, reaching 13 per cent for a kilometre before relenting in the final couple of clicks to the line. Nibali gained more than a minute on Cadel Evans here in 2013 and 1:39 on Wiggins, who’d won the Tour de France the year before. That suggests there should be some notable gaps on the line.

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