We never had a shorter wait than this to enjoy again the Grand Tour that usually offers the best landscapes and the most colourful roads. After being held in the autumn of 2020 due to the calendar adjustments after the pandemic, the ‘Corsa Rosa’ returns to its traditional May slot, with a route featuring all elements you know and love from the Giro: big mountains, hilly courses so typical in Italy, two time trials -an opening one and a showdown- and some ‘special’ invitees to this party…
The 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia will start with an individual time trial, almost 9km, in Torino (Saturday 8th), after which the top sprinters will enjoy their first two chances in Novara (Sunday 9th) and Canale (Monday 10th), the latter after three categorized climbs. On day four (Tuesday 11th), the peloton will already tackle some mountains, getting over the Colle Passerino (Cat-2) just before Sestola’s finish, before another mountain-top finish, two days later (Thursday 13th), at San Giacomo / Ascoli Piceno. This first week will already feature plenty of climb, since, other than the likely sprints in Cattolica (Wednesday 12th), Termoli (Friday 14th) and Foligno (Monday 17th), there will be another two mountain-top finishes: those at Guardia Sanframondi -after the Bocca della Selva (Cat-1)- on Sunday 15th, and the tough, final gravel slopes of Rocca di Cambio, on Sunday 16th.
The ‘sterrato’ sectors will be really important in this Giro. Other than stage nine, and after the first rest day -both ‘giorni di riposo’ will be held on Tuesdays this year-, the race will return to Montalcino (Wednesday 19th) and cover almost 36km of white roads, into four long sections, followed by a tough climb –Passo del Lume Spento (Cat-3)– just 4km from the end. A day later (Thursday 20th), the mid mountains will return, with a beautiful stage towards Bagno di Romagna that features three climbs in the last 100km, suited to a breakaway.
Without visiting the south of Italy this year, and turning towards Verona on a flat stage 13 (Friday 21st), the riders will head towards the brutal, final nine days. Saturday 22nd will be the day of the Monte Zoncolan, this year through its ‘least difficult’ side from Sutrio, with 13km at 9% and a finish at 14%. After another breakaway-suited stage, through Slovenian hills, towards Gorizia (Sunday 3rd), the riders will tackle a Dolomitic ‘tappone’, with La Crosetta (Cat-1), Marmolada (Cat-1), Pordoi (Cima Coppi) and Giau (Cat-1) in 212km to Cortina d’Ampezzo (Monday 24th). And, after the second rest day, two colossi: Passo di San Valentino (Cat-1) and Sega di Ala (Cat-1; 11km at almost 10%) on stage 17 (Wednesday 26th).
Following a final chance for the attackers in the endless stage 18 -231km to Stradella, with several little climbs-, the riders will face the decisive, final weekend. Friday 28th will take us through three categorized climbs: Mottarone (Cat-1), Passo della Colma (Cat-3) and the finish up Alpe di Mera (Cat-1; 10km at 8.7%). The second course, on Saturday 29th, will take the race again above 2,000m above sea level on Swiss soil, over the Passo San Bernardino (Cat-1), the Passo della Spluga (Cat-1) and the finish up Alpe Motta (Cat-1). And to finish, on Sunday 30th, the second, final individual time trial, longer than usual in this race, with 30km towards Milano’s Duomo cathedral, with a slight drop between the start and the finish.