The 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia rolls out of Turin, Italy on Saturday 8th May. We take a look at the route, riders, jerseys and where you can watch the first Grand Tour of 2021.
Dates: Saturday 8th May - Sunday 30th May 2021
Start: Turin, Italy
Finish: Milan, Italy
Total Distance: 3471km
Total Elevation: 47,000m
The first Grand Tour of the season is always highly anticipated. The classics are over and it’s time for riders to get their teeth stuck into three-week tours. Last year’s winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart, has decided not to defend the maglia rosa in 2021, so it’s all to play for.
At around 100km longer, this year’s Giro d’Italia is in fact less hilly than the 2020 edition. As a result, the race promises to be as rewarding for sprinters as it does for climbers.
Originally slated to begin in Hungary, COVID-19 has once again put paid to the race’s international plans. Instead, organisers decided to largely contain the race in Italy with just a brief visit to next-door-neighbours Slovenia during stage 15. The cities of Turin and Milan are the hosts of the start and finish respectively.
Stages of the Giro d’Italia 2021
With a total of 21 stages and 2 rest days, the route follows the signature Grand Tour blueprint with some fast and flat stages to begin with before hitting the mountains around the halfway point.
The route is bookended by two individual time trials, the first of which is a mere 9km around the city of Turin. The second time trial is just under 30km and could prove to be a game changing stage of the race a la 2020 Tour de France.
Of the 21 stages of the Giro d’Italia, 7 of them are classified as flat. Most of the flatter stages occur in the first half of the race providing the perfect warm up for the general classification riders.
Dirt roads have made their way on to the parcours for 2021, the first stretch of which is at the end of Stage 9 where riders will wind their way up to the ski region of Campo Felice. A further 4 sectors of dirt roads appear just a couple of days later in Stage 11 from Perugia to Montalcino. With a total of 35km of dirt, this particular stage will favour the brave.
The first high mountain stage of the race is Stage 14 whose finale on none other than the mighty Zoncolan will be a pivotal point in the race. The Sutrio side of this high mountain pass hasn’t appeared in the Giro d’Italia since 2003 and with gradients of over 25% in the final 2km of the stage, the GC is all but guaranteed to be disrupted.
Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia is the so-called Tappone Dolomitico - the biggest stage in the Dolomites. During the 2021 edition, the peloton will tackle 3 big alpine passes: Passo Fedaia, Passo Pordoi and finally Passo Giau. It’ll be a huge day for the riders and a great day for cycling fans watching at home for sure!
Other mountain passes in this year’s Giro d’Italia include:
Passo San Bernardino
Passo San Valentino
Giro d’Italia Jerseys
As in other races, there are five classifications in which riders and teams compete:
General Classification (GC)
All individual rider classifications are awarded a special jersey to wear that sets them apart in the peloton.
The leader of the general classification wears the maglia rosa sometimes referred to as the pink jersey. It is the equivalent of the Tour de France yellow jersey and the Vuelta a Espana red jersey. It is the most sought after classification and jersey such that if a rider leads the general classification as well as any other classification, he will wear the maglia rosa.
The winner of the mountains classification is awarded to the rider with the most points from designated climbs on each stage. Each climb is classified based on difficulty and how far into the stage it is. Until 2012, the leader of the mountains classification wore a green jersey (maglia verde), however since then it is now the maglia azzurra or the blue jersey.
Bonus points are up for grabs on summit finishes and to the first riders over the Cima Coppi, the highest point of that year’s race. In 2021, the Cima Coppi is Passo Pordoi on stage 16 in the Dolomites.
To win the maglia ciclamino (cyclamen jersey) a rider must accumulate points in daily stages. The winner of each stage wins 25 points, second place is 20 points, third receives 16 points and so on until the 15th rider over the finish line wins just one point.
As well as finish line points, every stage (except time trials) also has an intermediate sprint where 8 additional points are available for the first over the line there. The maglia ciclamino is designed to reward stage winners, sprinters and breakaway riders.
Jaoquim Rodriguez won the points classification in the 2012 Giro d’Italia as part of the Canyon-sponsored Team Katusha.
The winner of the white jersey is the rider highest in the general classification who is also under 25 years old. Sometimes this rider is also the leader of the GC (such as 2014 winner Movistar’s Nairo Quintana) and in this case the wearer of the white jersey will be the second placed rider in this classification. Canyon off-road rider Peter Stetina wore the maglia bianca in 2012.
Who will win the Giro d’Italia 2021?
Despite an absent defending champion (Tao Geoghegan Hart), the startlist is still dazzling with some of the cycling world’s best riders. Though a few teams haven’t declared their riders at the time of writing this article, it’s hard to look past Roman Bardet, Dan Martin and Egan Bernal.
As usual, Deceuninck-Quick Step are fielding a strong team across all classifications with João Almeida already tipped to wear the maglia rosa and maglia bianca. Remco Evenepoel is set for his first ever Grand Tour. His tragic crash in the 2020 Il Lombardia race raised questions over his future in cycling because of the injuries he received, so it’s great to see him returning to racing.
Sprinters like Elia Viviani, Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan will be vying for victory on the flatter stages and may wear the maglia verde early on in the race.
It goes without saying but expect Italian powerhouse Filippo Ganna to be in peak form for the time trials with his rainbow stripes. Other possible contenders for time trial victory include Movistar’s Portuguese time trialist Nelson Oliviera on board his Canyon Speedmax. He is making a comeback after a 7 year hiatus from the race and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on the time trial stages.
Who do you expect to cycle their way into the maglia rosa?
Canyon at the Giro d’Italia
Canyon’s sponsorship of Team Movistar means we’ve seen our bikes leading many WorldTour races over the years. The most successful year for the team was in 2019 when Richard Carapaz won the general classification, Mikel Landa came 4th and Movistar Team won the General Super Team prize.
Look out for our Canyon Aeroad, Ultimate and Speedmax bikes in all their glory during this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Where to watch the Giro d’Italia on TV
You can watch the 2021 Giro d’Italia from the comfort of your living room on the following TV channels and apps:
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