We take a look at the five key stages of the 2021 edition before opening 5.5 mile time-trial along the River Po in Turin kickoffs on Saturday.
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Stage 11: Perugia – Montalcino, 99 miles
Strade Bianchi to kick up some dust
As the dust settles on the early running and the first rest day, stage 11 through Tuscany will kick up a new cloud on the 21 mile section that gives the Strade Bianchi classic its name. Australian Cadel Evans emerged the winner here in 2010 on a rainy day that covered the riders in white mud on the non-tarmac section of a region known for its wines.
Stage 14: Cittadella – Monte Zoncolan, 127 miles
The monster climb
Taking in the multilingual region near Austria and Slovenia, the 14th stage takes the race back to Monte Zoncolan and features the steepest finish of this year’s Giro, with double-digit gradients towards the peak in the final miles.
Stage 16: Sacile – Cortina d’Ampezzo, 131 miles
Three mountains in the Dolomites
Three climbs that marked the centenary edition of the Giro will make the 16th stage a potential turning point for the contenders against the epic backdrop of the Dolomite mountains. The second climb takes the Giro to its highest point at 7000 feet and is being touted as the ‘Queen stage’ with its 18,700 feet of climbing.
Stage 20: Verbania – Alpe Motta, 102 miles
The final and maybe decisive mountain
The penultimate stage is a testing sidestep into Switzerland to climb the San Bernardino and the Splugen passes, both well above the clouds and with treelines at over 6000 feet. But the decider could well be the Alpe Motta which rounds off nearly 16,000 feet of climbing.
Stage 21: Senago – Milan, 18.8 miles
Final time trial delivers a champion
Anyone who witnessed last year’s triumphant final day entry into Milan of young British champion Tao Geoghegan Hart as he overturned Jai Hindley’s lead is also likely to enjoy the 18.8 mile race against the clock, which culminates in front of the Duomo.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini