Giro 2021 route revealed: Gravel stage, Monte Zoncolan and 47,000m of climbing

This year’s Giro d’Italia begins in Turin on May 8 and will take in some signature highlights including Monte Zoncolan and the increasingly popular white gravel Strade Bianchi roads.

The 104th edition honors the 160th anniversary of Italy’s unification, and ends in Milan on May 30, returning to its traditional time slot after the 2020 edition took place in October.

The course is light on time trials – two individual TTs on the first and last days at a total of 38.5 kilometers – which will please the elite climbers such as Egan Bernal, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet, with the mountains looming large in the second half of the race.

Bernal, Bardet and Pinot 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 30-year-old Pinot described the course as mouthwatering.

“That’s a Giro for a climber,” he said. “It’s motivating and I’m targeting being at 100 percent for it and it’s my objective for the season.”

The 2019 Tour de France winner Bernal has long expressed his desire to race the Giro. He certainly sounded cheerful on Wednesday.

“I can’t wait, it’s a beautiful Giro,” he said, adding he had already begun his recon rides.

The first week of the Giro is devoted to the sprint south to the Puglia coast 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 35 kilometers of Tuscan “Strade Bianche” – unpaved roads – during the last 70 kilometers to Montalcino, one of the great wine sites of the peninsula.

Strade Bianchi stage

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.

Monte zoncolan stage
Cortina d’Ampezzo stage

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.

2021 Giro d’Italia route 

Stage one, Sat May 8 Turin – Turin 9km ITT
Stage two, Sun May 9 Stupinigi – Novara 173km flat
Stage three, Mon May 10 Biella – Canale 187km hilly
Stage four, Tues May 11

Piacenza – Sestola

185km hilly
Stage five, Wed May 12 Modena – Cattolica 171km flat
Stage six, Thurs May 13 Grotte di Frassassi – Ascoli Piceno 150km mountain
Stage seven, Fri May 14 Notaresco – Temoli 178km flat
Stage eight, Sat May 15 Foggia – Guardia Sanframondi 173km mountain
Stage nine, Sun May 16 Castel di Sangro – Campo Felice 160km mountain
Rest day, Mon May 17
Stage 10, Tues May 18 L’Aquila – Foligno 140km hilly
Stage 11, Wed May 19 Perugia – Montalcino 163km hilly
Stage 12, Thurs May 20 Siena -Bagno di Romagna 209km hilly
Stage 13, Fri May 21 Ravenna – Verona 197km flat
Stage 14, Sat May 22 Cittadella – Monte Zoncolan 205km mountain
Stage 15, Sun May 23 Grado – Gorizia 145km hilly
Rest day, Mon May 24
Stage 16, Tues May 25 Sacille – Cortina d’Ampezzo 212km mountain
Stage 17, Wed May 26 Canazei – Sega di Ala 193km mountain
Stage 18, Thurs May 27 Rovereto – Stradella 228km flat
Stage 19, Fri May 28 Abbiategrasso – Alpe di Mera Valsesia 178km mountain
Stage 20, Sat May 29 Verbania – Alpe Motta 165km mountain
Stage 21, Sun May 30 Senago – Milan 29.4km ITT


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