The Giro has six mountain finishes and seven other hilly stages plus some gravel. Bernal, Bardet and Landa had already earmarked the Giro in favor of the 2021 Tour de France, which is heavy on time-trials. Conversely, 2020 Giro champion Tao Geoghegan Hart will miss this year’s race and make his Tour debut.
The opening 5.5-mile time-trial gets underway at Turin’s Piazza Castello and follows the Po River, with a finish at the foot of the Superga hill.
Stage two, which will suit the sprinters, covers 107 miles from Stupinigi to Novara, followed by an undulating 187km from Biella to Canale, before riders reach the slopes of the Apennine Mountains.
Piedmont will still be involved in the final week, with the 19th stage finishing on the summit of Alpe di Mera, in Valsesia.
The first week of the 2143-mile, 21-day Giro is devoted to the sprint south to the Puglia coast on the heel of Italy but loops back towards the heart of Umbria without hitting the deep south that hosted a series of stages last year. After the first rest comes a big test with 22-miles of Tuscan ‘Strade Bianche’ — unpaved gravel roads — during the last 43 miles to Montalcino, one of the great wine sites of the peninsula.
The riders will need to take on Zoncolan, one of the hardest climbs in Europe, at the end of the second week, two days before the queen stage of the Dolomites, scheduled for May 24.
A trio of great historic passes — Fedaia, Pordoi, Giau — will begin that stage leading to Cortina d’Ampezzo, one of the host resorts for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The third week takes the riders back to the north of the country and includes a testing sidestep into Switzerland to climb the Passo di San Bernardino and the Splugenpass.
Stage 1 (ITT) | Turin – Turin (5.5 miles)
Stage 2 | Stupinigi – Novara (111 miles)
Stage 3 | Biella – Canale (118 miles)
Stage 4 | Piacenza – Sestola (116 miles)
Stage 5 | Modena – Cattolica (110 miles)
Stage 6 | Grotte di Frasassi – Ascoli Piceno (San Giacomo) (99 miles)
Stage 7 | Notaresco – Termoli (112 miles)
Stage 8 | Foggia – Guardia Sanframondi (105 miles)
Stage 9 | Castel di Sangro – Campo Felice (Rocca di Cambio) (98 miles)
Stage 10 | L’Aquila – Foligno (86 miles)
Stage 11 | Perugia – Montalcino (100 miles)
Stage 12 | Siena – Bagno di Romagna (131 miles)
Stage 13 | Ravenna – Verona (123 miles)
Stage 14 | Cittadella – Monte Zoncolan (127 miles)
Stage 15 | Grado – Gorizia (91 miles)
Stage 16 | Sacile – Cortina d’Ampezzo (131 miles)
Stage 17 | Canazei – Sega di Ala (120 miles)
Stage 18 | Rovereto – Stradella (143 miles)
Stage 19 | Abbiategrasso – Alpe di Mera (Valsesia) (109 miles)
Stage 20 | Verbania – Valle Spluga-Alpe Motta (102 miles)
Stage 21 (ITT) | Senago – Milan (18.8 miles)
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini