(Image credit: RCS Sport)

The 2021 Giro d’Italia (May 8 – 30) will include 6 mountain finishes, 2 individual time trails for a total of 38.4 kilometres, 7 hilly stages, 6 sprinters opportunities and almost 47,000 metres of elevation gains. The total race distance is 3450km for an average of 164.3km per stage.

The 104th Giro d’Italia will start with a short time trial in the heart of Turin. It will be the Giro of the anniversaries: 160 years since the unification of Italy, 700 years since Dante’s death, 100 years since the birth of Alfredo Martini, an Italian cycling legend and the “Commissario Tecnico” of the Italian national team for many years. This year also marks 90 years since the establishment of the pink jersey, a choice that did not please the fascist regime, as it considered the colour pink to be too feminine.

The Corsa Rosa will start on the 160th anniversary of Italy’s unification, with its first three stages in the Piemonte region. On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, the city of Ravenna (where the Sommo Poeta was buried) and Verona will host, respectively, the start and finish of Stage 13. The Giro will also pass through Foligno, where Dante’s Divina Commedia was first printed in 1472. Perugia-Montalcino (Brunello) will be this year’s wine stage and will include several segments of Strade Bianche towards its finish. The Siena-Bagno di Romagna stage which will start in Piazza del Campo, is set to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Italian cycling legend Alfredo Martini. This will also be the Giro’s Stage to remember Gino Bartali, taking the race through both Sesto Fiorentino (Martini birthplace) and Ponte a Ema (Bartali birthplace).

This year’s Corsa Rosa will also see the return of a stage finish on Monte Zoncolan, climbed from the Sutrio side. Pordoi Pass (2,239m) will be the 2021 Cima Coppi, and will form part of an unprecedented Dolomites stage that includes Passo Fedaia (Montagna Pantani, the second highest Giro stage), Passo Giau and a finish in Cortina D’Ampezzo – host city of the 2026 Winter Olympics. Milan will host the grand finale with a 29.4km individual time trial, starting in Senago. The Giro will cross national borders on two occasions: the Grado-Gorizia stage, which will touch Slovenia, as well as Stage 20 from Verbania to Valle Spluga/Alpe Motta, when it will pass through Switzerland. For the official race book click to this link il Garibaldi 2021.

Stage 1, Sat May 8: Torino-Torino (9 km), ITT

The 2021 Giro d’Italia begins with a very short time trial, just 9 kilometers in the centre of Turin with a single timing at the Valentino Castle, after 3.7 kilometers. The stage will be entirely flat and the outdistances should remain minimal. The main favorite for the stage victory and for the first pink jersey seems to be Filippo Ganna, but at the same time the fight for the general classification will start immediately.

Stage 2, Sun May 9: Stupinigi-Novara (179 km)

Here is the first chance for the fast wheels of the group. Only one GPM, the first of the 104th edition of the pink race, after about 90 kilometres: this is the Montechiaro d’Asti climb. Except for some ups and downs in the central part of the stage, the sprinters should have no problem fighting for the stage victory. At minus 4kms, the course takes the first of a couple right-hand turns on large roads approaching the finish, the next one will be at minus 1.5km, before a long straightaway run down the Viale Kennedy whThe favourites? Caleb Ewan is the best bet then Dylan Groenewegen, Tim Merlier and next Fernando Gaviria, Peter Sagan, Giacomo Nizzolo, David Dekker and Elia Viviani (elevation gain 600m)

Stage 3, Mon May 10: Biella-Canale (190 km)

A day divided into two parts: in the first 115 kilometers little and nothing, in the remaining 75 instead three mountain grand prix and two unclassified short climbs in the final (that of Guarene and Vezza d’Alba) that will be felt in the legs of many. First the Bric delle Forche, then Castino and Manera: practically 16 kilometers of ascent concentrated in just 30 kilometers of stage. With 20 kms to go, the riders will climb up to Guarene, the final 3km averaging over 7% (max 15%), with on the top an intermediate sprint point where probably the Giro is waving goodbye to a few of the fast finishers hoping to sprint for victory. A nervous and jagged stage, which could favor the landing of the first escape of the 2021 Giro d’Italia or that second level of sprinters who can get over some climbs. The Giro loves its stars, and Peter Sagan should be just the perfect guy for this stage but Ulissi have certainly circle-the-calendar stage for Canale. We do not expect much from the favorites for the final victory, we are still on the third day. (Elevation gain 2100m)

Stage 4, Tue May 11: Piacenza-Sestola (187 km)

The fourth day offers an interesting stage, the first in the Apennines and with the first hilltop finale of this Giro: the race after three days in and around Turin, finally leaves Piedmont. The stage starts in the walled city of Piacenza in the Po Valley before heading southeast on 80 kms of flat roads and getting to Parma before entering the Apennine foothills of Emilia-Romagna. The final 100 kms will starts with the ascent to the Castle of Carpineti, then after the subsequent descent a long ascent towards the second GPM of the day, that of Montemolino will also have some nasty rumps. After the first two 3rd Cat. climbs and with 20kms to go, the riders will face the uncategorized ascent to Montecreto. A fast descent takes the race to the Fanano intermediate sprint at the foot of a 4.2 kilometer, 10-percent 2nd Cat climb that summits just 2.5 kilometers from the finish. The last ascent, that of Colle Passerino, is four kilometers long but is very demanding, and moreover it ends at 2,500 meters from the finish in Sestola. The GC favourite will certainly be on the alert but a puncheur can be expected to aim for victory. Five years ago the Italian Giulio Ciccone was the surprise solo winner of a stage finishing here and riders such as Almeida, Bennett, Evenepoel, Sivakov, Vlasov, Bardet and Martin, who lost a lot of ground on the stage 1 ITT, have interest in doing well on the stage.(Elevation gain 3000m although the official site is reporting 1800m)

Stage 5, Wed May 12: Modena-Cattolica (175 km)

This completely flat stage is also completely straight. It will most probably propose the second sprint in compact ranks of this Giro. From the start you can expect a small breakaway, that it may be kept under control until the sprinters teams decide to put their captains in front of the peloton. The stage will go through Bologna, Imola, Faenza, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini and the finish line placed on the Adriatic coast, after the final 5 kilometres on city road, with 4 bends 3 on the left and 1 one the right, before the final straight of 900m. The Giro continues its descent towards the south. The last time the Giro stopped at this beach town was in 1978, when Belgian sprinter Rik Van Linden (who was known as Rik III as the possible successor to his country’s legendary Rik Van Steenbergen and Rik Van Looy), who out-kicked star riders Francesco Moser, Marino Basso and Roger De Vlaeminck for the stage victory. Merlier, Viviani, Ewan Groenewegen and Gaviria are our chosen favourites. (Elevation gain less than 200m)

Stage 6, Thu May 13: Grotte di Frasassi-Ascoli Piceno (160 km)

Here is the first uphill finish of the 2021 Giro d’Italia and the Giro arrives on the Marche Region with the Apennines back on stage. Three GPM during the day and the need to watch the forecast. Bad weather may add difficulties, especially on the technical part of the descents, to an already difficult day for the riders. After 75 kms of undulated roads with some unclassified short but steep hills such as, Collegiglioni, Camerino and le Fornaci, the first GPM, the Forca di Gualdo (2 Cat.), 10.4 kms with an average gradient of 7.4%, a stretch of about 3 km almost entirely in double figures and peaks up to 13%. After a short descend, the second GPM , the Forca di Presta (3 Cat. 4.9kms at 4.8% max 9.2%), that will lead to a long and rather technical descent towards Ascoli Piceno. From Ascoli the final ascent towards San Giacomo begins. This 2 Cat. climb (15.5 km at 6.1% max 10%) should not create too many problems for the strongest climbers in the group: it is long enough, but rather pedalable. However, the main contenders will be there, the mountain-top finish at San Giacomo will still be an opportunity for some and the stage could give other important clues to decifrate the race. It is difficult to find a clear favourite since an early breakaway is almost certain and the leaders will control each other until the final ramps. (Elevation gain 3400m)

Stage 7, Fri May 14: Notaresco-Termoli (181 km)

Only one GPM, in Chieti (4th Cat.), after 60 kilometers, but especially in the first half of the day, the route will be anything but simple. It becomes more regular in the last 70 kilometers, from Ortona onwards, but by then the day could already be compromised with a handful of attackers heading towards stage success. The finish is straight and slightly uphill, with a short, about 200 meters, double-digit tear ending just 1,500 meters from the finish line that together with a rapid succession of curves will be an obstacle for the team’s organisation for the sprint. It’s difficult to interpret the finish that favours several solutions. If the team’s of the leading sprinters are able to keep the race stitched, then maybe some fast wheels could hope to clinch the victory. Otherwise, as expected, it will be space for fugitives and finisseurs. The favourite to win the stage in a bunch finish is the Aussie sprinter Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), but he will need to keep a close eye on Peter Sagan, Nizzolo and a resurgent Elia Viviani. Among finisseurs is Ulissi, who will be the man to watch. (Elevation gain 1500m)

Stage 8, Sat May 15: Foggia-Guardia Sanframondi (170 km)

After that of San Giacomo/Ascoli Piceno, here is the second uphill finish of the Giro d’Italia 2021. The undulating roads of Puglia, Molise and Campania, will met again the Apennines in a stage ending with an uphill finish and that seems designed specifically for long-range attackers. In addition to the final ascent of the 4 Cat. Guardia Sanframondi (6.5 kms at 6% max 11%) and after the first 100 kms of ondulating terrain with pedalable climbs, the key climb of this stage: the 2nd Cat. Bocca della Selva. The climb is not prohibitive (18.9 km at 4.6%), but certainly long and followed by a very technical descent (watch out for bad weather), at the end of which there are only 30 km from the finish. At the end of the downhill, a fast stretch perfect for high speeds that could make it very difficult to mend any potential attack. The last 11 km are uphill again, first slightly and irregularly, then more regularly. The last 3 km have an average of 7% with max points of 11%. Another day for the breakaway riders? An insidious stage, in which the big names can opt for a no-contest verdict? The final climb will probably feature some skirmishing among the Bigs, all the Giro favourites will be on the alert and somebody will may pay for the fatigues of the first week of the Corsa Rosa. (Elevation gain 3400m)

Stage 9, Sun May 16: Castel di Sangro-Campo Felice (158 km)

After touching the southernmost locations of the 104th edition during the previous stage, the Giro begins to heading back north. This relatively short stage through the Abruzzi region, will tackle the first high mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia 2021. Today, the uphill arrival of Campo Felice involves a stretch of gravel to the summit where the finish line is placed . The Gpm are four, not counted as such, but present and insidious, there are also the Colle della Croce and Fonte Ciarlotto. The climb to Campo Felice, this Giro’s first Cat. 1 mountain at the finish, is the shortest of today but the most complicate one. The other three, Passo Godi, Forca Caruso and the one leading to Ovindoli, do not have demanding gradients, but added together they give a total of just under 40 kilometres of ascent roads. Campo Felice summit is only 6.6 kilometres with an average gradient of 5.9%, but the final 1.6 kms will be on gravel, with an average grade of 8.6% (max 12%). Here, inevitably, there will be another opportunity to create gaps between the captains fighting for the general classification and good bike handler like the former mountain biker Bernal will be our favorites. (Elevation gain 3500m although the official site is reporting 3400m)

Details of the demanding last 3kms

Stage 10, Mon May 17: L’Aquila-Foligno (139 km)

Short but hilly fraction, which arrives the day after a difficult stage in the Abruzzi Apennines. The route is not exactly flat and, during the stage, the riders will climb the easy Apennine hills of Sella di Corno, Forca di Arrone, Cantoniera and the 4th Cat. Valico della Somma (39 kms from the finish). In short, it may not necessarily be a simple transfer stage. It is legitimate to imagine the success of an attacker from a breakaway or a sprint of the peloton. With a rest day approaching after this short stage, completely flat for the closing 20 kilometres, the sprinters’ teams will be working hard to keep the attackers in control and organise the finish for their fast wheels. Flat finish on wide and straight roads but always max attention to roundabouts and traffic dividers. 2000m from the finish to watch a curve to the right and two to the left, all in rapid succession, and the 1300m straight arrival road interrupted at 500 m by a half-bend. It will surely be one of the fastest stages in this year’s Giro, and it should provide a sprint finish between Groenewegen, Viviani, Merlier, Cimolai, Nizzolo and Sagan. (Elevation gain 1300m)

Stage 11, Wed May 19: Perugia-Montalcino (162 km)

After the first rest, the group will have to face the “white roads” of the Perugia-Montalcino stage. Once arrived in Torrenieri, the last 70 kms, at the 92km mark, include about 35 of gravel roads, concentrated in four sections: the first 9kms are a perfect warmup, with the final part downhill, the second 13.5kms are where the real issues are likely to begin, the third 7.5kms and the last of 5kms, which will finish less than nine kilometres from the finish. In addition to the white road, there are also several uphill stretches.

We start with the slightly undulating section of Valdicava, the more technical one, an opportunity to put pressure on the peloton. A short breath takes you to the foot of the steep ramp towards Bibbiano, at the top of which begins the most demanding dirt road: Castiglion del Bosco. You climb for the first time to Passo del Lume Spento from the side already faced in 2010, through a 3 km stretch at 9% that can create a great selection, also because it is followed by 7 km of undulating and winding gravel roads in which any powerful action could break-up the group. At the top you enter the last two sectors, both uphill: the first is more pedalable, which connects Sant’Antimo to Sant’Angelo in Colle (1.3 km at 8.1%). We start with the slightly undulating section of Valdicava, the more technical one, an opportunity to lengthen the group and force someone to chase ahead of time. A short breath takes you to the foot of the steep ramp towards Bibbiano, at the top of which begins the most demanding dirt road: Castiglion del Bosco. You climb for the first time to Passo del Lume Spento from the side already 2010, through a 3 km stretch at 9% that can create a great selection, also because it is followed by 7 km of undulating and winding dirt roads in which to relaunch the action and break the group . At the top you enter the last two sectors, both uphill, with the first bringing you to Sant’Angelo in Colle and the second after Arciano (1.3 km at 8.1%) will take the race to the final ascent that brings back to the Passo del Lume Spento after 4.3 km of climbing at 7%. The summit is less than 4 km away, while the descent ends 800 meters from the finish, where we have to go uphill once again. A very intense stage from which a lot is expected. It will be an unreserved head-to-head among the favourites for the final victory of this Giro and someone will surely pay the bill. And if it rains, as happened at the 2010 Giro when Evans won in his World Championship Jersey, while Nibali fell and lost two minutes, then the overall standing could be revolutionised. (Elevation gain 2300m)

Stage 12, Thu May 20: Siena-Bagno di Romagna (212 km)

A challenging stage across the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines with a day that could offer many surprises and with 212kms to face. Starting from Siena, the departure through the Chianti area is immediately demanding, with the ascents of Castellina, Panzano and Spedaluzzo, the group will than transit in Sesto Fiorentino to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the birth of a symbol of Italian cycling, Alfredo Martini. And it is here that the main difficulties will start. Tight winding roads, spectacular climbs followed by long descent and the weather, here there are all elements that can transform this day in a memorable stage that can redesign some of the hierarchies of this Giro. After Sesto four GPMs will go in a rapid succession, Monte Morello (7.6 kms at 6.6%, but with 2.5 kms at an average of 11.2% and a max gradient just below 20%), Passo della Consuma (17.1 kms at 5.7% and 8kms between 7% and 9%), Passo della Calla (15.3 kms at 5.3%) and Passo del Carnaio (10.8 kms at 5.1% , 3 kms at 9.5%, max14%). From the Carnaio top a technical descent will lead to the final flat 4 kms. All climbs are pedalable but with more demanding gradients than in the previous mountain stages. The captains may refuse to control the race, and recover from the fatigues of the previous day with gravel roads, and a breakaway from the start is widely expected. But the stage is tough and the space for a clash among favourites it is all there. The total kilometres of ascent are about fifty and the overall altitude gain is around 4,000 meters. The is no terrain to recover for mistakes and a bad day could cost a lot. (Elevation gain 3700m)

Stage 13, Fri May 21: Ravenna-Verona (198 km)

After so many climbs, the sprinters (those who remained, of course) can finally return to play for a stage win. The Ravenna-Verona is, together with the Modena-Cattolica, the easiest stage of the 2021 Giro d’Italia. It should be noted that after the previous two difficult days, the riders will cover another 200 km, and the followed stage will also be long and demanding. There are no ascents and this totally flat stage will run across, straight and wide roads, the lowland around Ferrara, Polesine and Mantua. Mantua will be touch by the peloton with 39 kilometres to go to remember the first Pink Jersey in history, worn 90 years ago by a Mantuan, Learco Guerra. In the 1931 Giro, he won the first stage and then 3 more, but the final winner of the General Classification was Francesco Camusso. The main danger of the day will be provided by the passage through several urban areas, with several roundabouts and traffic islands. The final kilometres are on wide, straight and well-paved city roads, with only a couple of large roundabouts that may complicate life to the remaining sprinters. (Nil and by the official website Elevation gain less than 200m).

Stage 14, Sat May 22: Cittadella-Monte Zoncolan (205 km)

Mountain stage divided into two parts. The first 130 km are practically flat until the beginning of the ascent of the Forcella Monte Rest. The Forcella Monte Rest is a climb with irregular gradients during its 13 kilometres, with sudden bends and a narrow track. After a challenging descent, the tear of the Forcella di Priuso and the crossing of the valley. But when in Sutrio everything will change, with in front of you one of the most respected ascents in the world, the Zoncolan. In this Giro edition, the Zoncolan will be taken from what is considered the easier side (the one in which Gilberto Simoni took the Maglia Rosa in the 2003 Giro) to differentiate it from the harder Ovaro versant. But the climb is still deadly: 1,200 meters in altitude in 13 kilometers, with the last 2,500 meters with gradients always well above 10% and several deadly picks up to 27%. The first 11 km will be approached on a wide road with hairpin bends at around 7-8%. in the last 3 km the road became narrow and very steep. The average of the last 3 km is over 13%. The last kilometre with gradients picks over 25% will easy up only in the last 50 m. (Elevation gain 3700m)

Stage 15, Sun May 23:Grado-Gorizia (147 km)

Is there a fraction more suitable for the actions of a group of breakaways? Probably not: this stage is short, the design is jagged and hardly, after the efforts of the Zoncolan and in view of the queen stage of the following day, the Giro favourites will have an interest in keeping the group together. The route is punctuated by some short climbs relatively distant from each other: after about 30 km there is Monte San Michele( a non classified climb), while after km 60 you enter the circuit that characterises this stage on the border with Slovenia. Twice the full circuit is tackled, which includes, in its fifteen intense kms, the climb of Gornje Cerovo (1.7 km; 8.5%; max 15%). On the third lap, after another ascent to Gornje Cerovo, the riders will be divert for a the first passage in Gorizia. The peloton will now return again to Slovenia shedding to Nova Gorica where there is the last opportunity to shake up things. After the Slovenian town a rough dent of 1 km at 6% (max 14%), may be the perfect springboard for an attack with less than 3 kms to the finish line. The last 2 kms will be flat and across the historic centre. In the last kilometre, a short pavè section and the straight final 300m. (Elevation gain 1800m)

Stage 16, Mon May 24: Salice-Cortina d’Ampezzo (212 km)

Welcome to the ‘Queen Stage’ of Giro edition number 104 with a massive 5,700km of climbing. There are the kilometers, 212, and the big climbs. In order: Crosetta, Fedaia, Pordoi (2,239m Cima Coppi, the race’s highest point) and Giau. From the start, the peloton will face the long climb of Crosetta, then a descent towards Lago Santa Croce before reaching Belluno. At this point, the road will start to go gently up again, through the Cordevole Valley crossing Agordo, Alleghe and Caprile where the Passo Fedaia begins. After Malga Ciapela, the Fedaia presents about 5 kms always over 12% with peaks about 2 kms from the summit of 18%. A descent will bring the riders to Canazei to climb the Passo Pordoi (Cima Coppi) with slopes constantly around 6%/7% for all its 12 kms. A fast descent on Arabba and once in Selva di Cadore the riders face the Giau Pass with its 10 kms practically at 10%. Fast descent on Cortina to reach the finish. About 5 km from the arrival, you will join the Strada della Dolomiti that will take you to reach the town about 1500 m from the arrival. After the bridge over the Boite, the road starts to climb again with gentle slopes (5%). A series of curves up to 300 m will bring to the final straight pavé stretch. (Elevation gain 5700m)

Revised Stage due to adverse weather conditions:

The original stage:

Stage 17, Wed May 26: Canazei-Sega di Ala (193 km)

After the rest day (which once again respect the alternation between challenging stages) the clash between the men, aiming to the high rankings of the General Classification, will resumes. It is important to note that for the fifth time in 6 stages, more than 190 km are covered. Unlike the stage in Cortina, for the Giro favourites will be very difficult to come up with something and everything should take place under the banner of a great crescendo towards the final climb. The long descent from Cortina to Trento is interspersed with some uphill sections, including in particular the Sveseri GPM (2.9 km; 9.7%; max 14%). After the descent the flat returns up to km 140, when you take the challenging climb to the Passo di San Valentino (14.8 km; 7.8%, max 14%), here there is the opportunity to anticipate the finale inventing something to create difficulties to the Maglia Rosa. A long descent, at times rather technical, ends just 9 km from the final climb, Sega di Ala, one of the hardest climbs of this Giro edition. The ascent will take riders to the finishing line after 11.2 kms with an average of 9.8% and a maximum gradient of 17%. A tremendous climb, but at the same time irregular at the right point to offer opportunities for relaunch the action potentially generating significants gaps. With less of 5 kms to go, riders will face a very demanding stretch longer than 1 kms with an average gradient always above 15%. After the last hairpin bends you enter the Passo Fittanze plateau where the gradient are more gentle until the finish line.

Stage 18, Thu May 27: Rovereto-Stradella (231 km)

It is the longest stage of the Giro travelled across the Pianura Padana. It arrives the day after a very difficult stage and in the last 30 kilometres it presents a 4th cat. GPM and at least three other short climbs not marked as official GPMs. This is why the fast wheels will have a lot of problem to aim for victory. The last three stages there will have little room for inventiveness and therefore for attackers this may be the last occasion. Therefore, a successful breakaway or the action of a finisseur are the most probable outcomes. The final kilometres will be characterised by the Canneto Pavese ascent followed by a descent that will bring raiders to the final straight stretch in Stradella.(Elevation gain 600m)

Stage 19, Fri May 28: Abbiategrasso-Alpe di Mera (176 km, since the stage has been modified now 166 km)

A mountain stage changed at the very last minute due to a tragic event on the Mottarone Cableway. The Mottarone, a 1st CAT. GPM, a difficult climb that would have impacted the stage, has been cancelled and replaced by the much easier 4th CAT. Gignese (Alpe Agogna). The usual breakaway attack will be unavoidable and after the descent from Gignese the race will reach the shore of Lake Maggiore in Stresa and will continues along the lake, through Gravellona Toce and Omegna. Here the Passo della Colma (7.5kms at 6.4% max 11%) will start and from the summit the finish line with be less than 40 kms away. The descent will bring riders to Varallo, the route continues along the valley up to Scopello where the closing climb will start. The arrival on Alpe di Mera is unprecedented, with a 9.7 kms of ascent with an average gradient of 9% percent and a max of 14% at the 2.75kms mark. In our opinion, the final kilometres are among the hardest one of this Giro, many are under-evaluate the fact that riders will be tired and the final 5kms are among the hardest one of the race with 10.5% average gradient, the max peak at 14% and the climb that rise regularly exactly where the race of the favourites is set to explode. (Elevation gain 2800m iso the 3400m of the original route)

The Direction of the Giro d’Italia – following the tragic events of last Sunday that involved the Mottarone Cableway – and in agreement with the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility, the Piedmont Region and all the other institutions involved has decided to modify the route of the nineteenth stage of the Corsa Rosa. The new route will be 166 km long and the departure will be given from Abbiategrasso at 12.35. Arrival is always expected between 17:00 and 17:30

Stage 20, Sat May 29: Verbania-Valle Spluga (164 km)

Here is where the fight for the pink jersey of the Giro d’Italia could be resolved: 4,200 meters in terms of elevation gain, the first two GPMs above 2,000 meters and the third which corresponds to the uphill finish. For over 115 kilometers, from about the twentieth kilometre to the Spluga GPM, the stage will be in Switzerland. After the first 80 km substantially flat, you take the final triptych of climbs: the ascent towards the Passo San Bernardino is endless (23.7kms at 6.2% max 12%), and after the descent, the Spluga Pass measures 9 kms with an average gradient of 7.3% (max 12%). A technical descent will lead to the foot of the final climb. The ramps that bring to Alpe Motta that have very similar gradient than the previous ascent. The final climb it is 7.3 km long at 7.6% and a maximum gradient of 13%. Past Campodolcino, the route ascends with hairpins and through a number of tunnels, up to Pianazzo, travelling the old, narrow road to Madesimo, with punishing gradients. After a relatively flat stretch in Madesimo, the road rises again with gradients nearing 10% over the last kilometres. Fears and second thoughts are not allowed. (Elevation gain 4200m)

Tappa 21, Sun May 30: Senago-Milano (30,3 km) ITT

Three times as long, the second time trial is otherwise practically identical to the first one: totally flat and for those able to generate very high speeds. A specialist will win, with Filippo Ganna favoured over all the others. Among the men aiming to the general classification and if the fight for the pink jersey is not yet over, there could be surprises. In the event of a crises, a minute and a half can be lost on such a route. (Elevation gain less then 100m)

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