It’s big race time again! That time of year has reared its beautiful head once more where we prepare for the “big three” races in the cycling calendar, the first of which begins in earnest on Saturday: The Giro d’Italia 2021. This will be the 104th edition of the famed Italian World Tour race and will run for three weeks, as usual, in May, from the 8th until the 30th.
Originally, in 2019, it was announced that the starting flag would be planted in Sicily, but, in the wake of the coronavirus, the course has been reworked to cover a much smaller area, while still maintaining the length and grandeur for which the event is so well-known. Thew new course sticks mainly to Italy’s Northern and Central regions and covers almost 3480 kilometres, starting in the Vermouth capital of the world - Torino, before winding its way down the Adriatic Coast. There, the course makes an about turn at the “ankle of the boot” and heads back up North through the mountains, touring in all directions about the North of the country before finishing up with the final, ceremonial, stage in Milan.
“Who are the contenders?”, you might ask. Tao Geoghegan Hart took the title last year in spectacular fashion, but is not returning to defend his title, instead preferring to focus on this years Tour de France, beginning next month in June. In his place, as leader of Team INEOS Grenadiers, will be Egan Bernal, former Tour de France winner. Big names from other teams include Simon Yates from Team BikeExchange, Mikel Landa of Bahrain Victorious, Peter Sagan (who made THAT solo run to a spectacular victory in stage 10 last year) of Bora-Hansgrohe and the killer 1-2 combo of Deceuninck-Quickstep powerhouses Remco Evenepoel and João Almeida, who led last year’s Giro in the coveted “Maglia Rosa” for such a long stretch. Homeland favourites will include two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali, riding for Trek-Segafredo, Domenico Pozzovivo of Qhubeka Assos and Davide Formolo of UAE Team Emirates.
The entire race is available for viewing on Eurosport of GCN Race Pass or on Welsh Terrestrial channel S4C (also available on Sky 134, Freesat 120 and Virgin TV 166 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and on iPlayer). The last edition took place less than eight months ago in October of last year, but we’ve been Italy-starved for too long. We’ll be watching closely and can’t wait for that starting gun!