Giro d'Italia cycling 2021 - Stages, schedule, route map and key dates in the maglia rosa battle
A look at the Giro d'Italia route map for 2021, with an analysis of the key stages likely to define the battle for the maglia rosa and the favourites to claim it. The course is built around plenty of climbing stages, with two TTs on the first and last day of the race. There are plenty of high-altitude passes in the latter half of the Grand Tour, with ascents of the Pordoi, Giau and Splügenpass.
Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers
The 2021 Giro d’Italia will see a welcome return of Grand Tour racing, with the race back in its proper spot on the calendar in May.
The top teams in the world will all be in action from May 8-30, including Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck Quick-Step, Team Bike Exchange and EF Education Nippo.
This year the Giro route map presents a balanced parcours that probably favours the climbers a little bit over the TTers. It is certainly a more climbing-heavy Giro route than the Tour de France this year.
Egan Bernal of Ineos Grenadiers is the current favourite with odds of 29/10 but he has struggled with a back problem of late, and Team BikeExchange's Simon Yates is 7/2 to win his first Giro having some so close before a spectacular implosion in 2018.
Belgian sensation Remco Evenepoel leads Deceuninck-Quick-Step and is third favourite at 5/1. He will be ably supported by Britain's James Knox. The fourth favourite is Bora rider Emanuel Buchmann, with Britain's Hugh Carthy currently fifth favourite after his impressive showing at the Vuelta in 2020 where he finished third in GC.
Giro d’Italia 2021 stages
*denotes key stage, explained in depth below
8 May, Stage 1: Torino-Torino (8.6km, ITT)
9 May, Stage 2: Stupinigi (Nichelino) - Novara (179km, flat)
10 May, Stage 3: Biella - Canale (190km, hilly)
11 May, Stage 4: Piacenza - Sestola (186km, hilly)
12 May, Stage 5: Modena - Cattolica (175km, flat)
13 May, Stage 6: Grotte di Frasassi - Ascoli Piceno (San Giacomo) (160km, hilly)
14 May, Stage 7: Notaresco - Termoli (181km, flat)
15 May, Stage 8: Foggia - Guardia Sanframondi (170km, flat)
16 May, Stage 9: Castel di Sangro - Campo Felice (Rocca di Cambio) (160km, mountains)
17 May, Stage 10: L’Aquila - Foligno (139km, flat)
18 May, first rest day
19 May, Stage 11: Perugia - Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino Wine Stage) (162km, hilly)
20 May, Stage 12: Siena - Bagno di Romagna (209km, hilly)
21 May, Stage 13: Ravenna - Verona (198km, flat)
22 May, Stage 14: Cittadella - Monte Zoncolan (204km, mountains)
23 May, Stage 15: Grado - Gorizia (146km, hilly)
24 May, Stage 16: Sacile - Cortina d’Ampezzo (212km, mountains)
25 May, second rest day
26 May, Stage 17: Canazei - Sega di Ala (193km, mountains)
27 May, Stage 18: Rovereto - Stradella (231km, Stradella)
28 May, Stage 19: Abbiategrasso - Alpe di Mera (Valsesia) (176km, mountains)
29 May, Stage 20: Verbania - Valle Spluga - Alpe Motta (164km, mountains)
30 May, Stage 21: Senago - Milano (29.4km, ITT)
Giro d'Italia 2021 route map
Giro d'Italia 2021 key stages
Stage 4, May 11: Piacenza - Sestola (186km, hilly)
This is a rough ride through the Apennines and might just be the first point on the course where the breakaway has a chance of victory. There’s enough going on in second half of the course to make things interesting, at least, while the final climb is brutally steep - one for Dan Martin, perhaps.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 4 Profile
Stage 6, May 13: Grotte di Frasassi - Ascoli Piceno (San Giacomo) (160km, hilly)
Is there anything more beautiful in cycling than the Giro d’Italia in the mountains? We must only wait until Stage 6 this year to feast on the visual delights of the Sibylline mountains. It’s the first time ever the Giro will climb to San Giacomo from this side – and should provide the climbers with their first opportunity to attack the TT engines.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 6 Profile
Stage 9, May 16: Castel di Sangro - Campo Felice (Rocca di Cambio) (160km, mountains)
Sterrato ahead! The peloton will drag itself over four classified climbs, no doubt in pursuit of a very strong breakaway selection, before tackling the last climb which finishes in an almost two-kilometre stretch of gravel. Rather them than us.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 9 Profile
Stage 11, May 19: Perugia - Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino Wine Stage) (162km, hilly)
The ‘wine stage’ of the Giro has become a bit of an institution over the last few years and in 2021 it’s liable to be a real ripsnorter, with 35km of dirt roads in the final 70km. Will we see the classics specialists come to the fore? Or will they be too busy protecting the interests of their dainty and delicate GC leaders. An opportunist will win this stage, and an overall contender will lose the race on it.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 11 Profile
Stage 14, May 22: Cittadella - Monte Zoncolan (204km, mountains)
One word: Zoncolan. The last parts of this climb reach gradients of 25%, so only the very strongest climbers will be able to hang with the pace. As the race enters its second weekend, you can rely on Stage 14 to really disrupt the GC. The last two winners on the Zoncolan are Chris Froome and Annemiek van Vleuten – so it’s safe to assume you have to be quite good to take victory on its slopes.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 14 Profile
Stage 16, May 24: Sacile - Cortina d’Ampezzo (212km, mountains)
The race goes high as it takes on three of the most beautiful ascents in professional cycling: the Pordoi, the Fedaia and the Giau. All three summits are over 2,000m above sea level, so the effects of altitude will come into brutal focus. Watch out for the altitude natives like Egan Bernal and Harold Tejada.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 16 Profile
Stage 20, May 29: Verbania - Valle Spluga - Alpe Motta (164km, mountains)
One last shot for the climbers, particularly those with a dodgy TT, to make their marks on the race. It’s only 164km but it will feel like a thousand, and the finale is all uphill. The two peaks preceding the final climb see the race return to the high-altitude environment, with the charmingly named Splügenpass coming right before Alpe Motta.
Giro d'Italia 2021 Stage 20 Profile
Stage 21, May 30: Senago - Milano (29.4km, ITT)
Pan-flat and - at least in the latter half - not particularly technical, this time trial is close to being a straight-up power test. Whichever of the GC guys has the most left in the tank might just be able to snatch the overall race victory on this stage.
Museeuw was a rider who dominated the one day classics. Ex-pro Bernie Eisel joins Johan on some of his favourite cobbled climbs from the Tour of Flanders to find out what set him aside at these prestigious races. You can stream this and more of the best cycling stories in the world exclusively on GCN+.