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Giro d'Italia - Preview, Startlist & Discussion
« on: May 03, 2021, 10:44 »
104th Giro d'Italia - Overall Preview[1]

From Dante to the unification of Italy, from a tribute to Alfredo Martini to the great mountains of the Bel Paese, the Olympic Games, the grand finale in Milan, and 90 years of the Maglia Rosa - the 104th Giro d'Italia celebrates it all.



The Corsa Rosa will start in Turin, 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 cities 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 Bartali Stage, taking the race through both Sesto Fiorentino and Ponte a Ema, where Gino Bartali was born.

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), 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.



(some stage distances slightly changed meanwhile)

The first stage will be a 9km-long individual time trial through the streets of Turin; next is a sprinters’ stage from Stupinigi (Nichelino) to Novara (173km), while the third stage will start in Biella and finish in Canale, after a 187km-long course (a stage suitable for finisseurs). The first uphill finish will be at Sestola, on Stage 4, which starts in Piacenza.



Next, the sprinters will battle it out over Stage 5 (Modena-Cattolica), on Wednesday, 12 May. A tricky Stage 6 with 3,400 meters of elevation gain will take the peloton from the Frasassi Caves to Ascoli Piceno (San Giacomo), through two GPMs - one at the halfway point and one at the end, at 1090m up.



. Notaresco-Termoli (Stage 7, 178 km) is another day that’s suitable for the race’s fastest wheels. While, on Saturday, 15 May, Foggia - Guardia Sanframondi (Stage 8, 173 kilometers, with 3,400m of climbing) will feature the Bocca della Selva GPM, at 53 km from the finish line. On Sunday, 16 May, the Giro will see an unprecedented uphill finish in Abruzzo for Stage 9, at Campo Felice. This stage, which starts in Castel di Sangro, features 3,400m of elevation gain and includes three GPMs before the final climb.



The race’s 10th stage, which takes place on Monday, 17 May, from L’Aquila to Foligno, will most likely be best suited for either breakaways or sprints. The first rest-day of the Giro is scheduled for Tuesday, 18 May.

The race will resume on Wednesday, 19 May, with a spectacular Stage 11 from Perugia to Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino Wine Stage), starring an undulating first half, followed by a 70-km-long second part, of which 35 kilometers of which will be ridden on gravel. The last Giro stage that finished in Montalcino (2010) saw Cadel Evans take the win in the Rainbow Jersey on a muddy and rainy day.




Stage 12, Siena - Bagno di Romagna (The Bartali stage), will pay tribute to two special men who made cycling great: Gino Bartali and Alfredo Martini. The race will pass through both Ponte a Ema and Sesto Fiorentino on the day, ending in Bagno di Romagna after three GPMs and 3,700m of climbing.



Stage 13 will be dedicated to the memory of Dante Alighieri, on the 700th anniversary of his death, taking the group from Ravenna (where the Sommo Poeta was buried) to Verona, where a bunch sprint is expected. On Saturday, 22 May, the riders will leave from Cittadella, heading to the mighty Zoncolan from the Sutrio side for Stage 14. The Giro last climbed it from that side back in 2003, with Gilberto Simoni taking the win.



Stage 15 from Grado to Gorizia, a perfect day out for the finisseurs, features a three-lap course, which will cross over into neighboring Slovenia. Finally, Stage 16 from Sacile to Cortina d'Ampezzo, on Monday, 24 May, will close out the second week of racing. This will be this year’s Dolomites’ stage and includes the Fedaia Pass (Montagna Pantani), the Pordoi Pass (Cima Coppi) and the Giau Pass on its course, before heading into Cortina for the finish line (the city that will host the 2026 Winter Olympics).



After a second rest-day, the Giro will start again on Stage 17 with another day in the mountains, from Canazei to Sega di Ala (an unprecedented uphill finish for the race). The riders are set to climb the San Valentino Pass before the final ascent.



Then, Stage 18 will take place on Thursday, 27 May, from Rovereto to Stradella. This is expected to be a critical moment in the race, with attacks expected in the final kilometres of the stage on the Oltrepò Pavese hills. Stage 19 will start from Abbiategrasso and will end on Alpe di Mera in Valsesia (a new finish stage for the Giro). The stage, with its 3,700m of elevation gain, also includes the Mottarone and Colma di Varallo climbs. Stage 20 is a punishing one, with 4,800m of elevation gain, and will start from Verbania before ending on Alpe di Motta, in Valtellina’s Valle Spulga. The riders will also tackle the San Bernardino Pass and the Spluga Pass, two climbs that will take the peloton more than 2,000m up.



The grand finale will be on Sunday, 30 May, featuring an individual 29.4km time trial that will start from Senago and finish at Milan’s Duomo.
 1. Soure of all text: RCS press release
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    Some of the world’s best GC riders, stage hunters and sprinters are among the names on the entry list for the 104th Giro d'Italia.



    The challenge for the GC
    Among the GC specialists hoping to lift the Trofeo Senza Fine is Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), who will be wearing race number 01. Meanwhile, Team BikeExchange will be lining-up a host of riders in support of team captain Simon Yates, who has already shown good form at the Tour of the Alps.

    Trek-Segafredo will be hedging its bets with the two-time winner of the Corsa Rosa Vincenzo Nibali, who returns to racing after a wrist injury, and Bauke Mollema, winner of Il Lombardia in 2019, who has also won the Trofeo Laigueglia earlier this year. Team DSM too will have two potential team leaders: Jai Hindley, who finished second on the Milan podium of the 103rd Giro, and Romain Bardet, who has placed on the podium twice at the Tour de France. There will also be two big names for Deceuninck - Quick-Step, with Remco Evenepoel, returning to racing after his accident at Il Lombardia in 2020 and João Almeida, who, last year, wore the Maglia Rosa for 15 days and came fourth in the General Classification. Bahrain Victorious will be at Turin’s Grande Partenza with two riders more than capable of fighting for victory overall: Mikel Landa (three stage wins at the Giro and one podium) and Pello Bilbao, 5th overall last year, and in excellent shape at the Tour of the Alps.

    Among those competing for the GC are also the young talent Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana - Premier Tech), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora - Hansgrohe), 4th at the Tour de France in 2019 and Hugh Carthy (EF Education - Nippo), 3rd at La Vuelta a España in 2020; Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), a strong rider who can boast of two Classic Monument results - Il Lombardia ('14) and Liège - Bastogne - Liège ('13) - George Bennett (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Team Qhubeka Assos).

    Sprinters
    There’s an outstanding number of fast wheels too in this year’s provisional entry list, all competing for stage successes and the iconic Maglia Ciclamino. The list includes three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe), Italian and European Champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), who’s already taken three stage wins at the Giro, Elia Viviani (Cofidis), winner of the Points Classification at the 2018 Corsa Rosa, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), a multiple Grand Tour stage winner who will return to racing after last year's Tour de Pologne and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), who last year came first at the finish line of the Brussels Cycling Classic and won a sprint at the Tirreno-Adriatico too.

    Stage hunters
    Many are the contenders for single stage wins at this year’s Corsa Rosa. Among them are Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), winner of two stages and one Maglia Azzurra, Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education - Nippo), who took a stage win and the Maglia Azzurra in 2020; Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers), who recently won two stages at the Tour of the Alps; Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Giro stage winner in 2018; and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani CSF Faizane'), with two stage wins and a Maglia Azzurra already in his palmares.

    Also at the start line will be Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), who won a stage in 2019; the Spanish champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana - Premier Tech); and UAE Team Emirates’s successful duo of Davide Formolo and Diego Ulissi (with his eight career stage wins at the Giro). As for individual time trials, all eyes are on Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), winner of the previous three ITTs at the Corsa Rosa, Victor Campenaerts (Team Qhubeka Assos), two-time European ITT champion, Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), French ITT champion and Jos Van Emden (Jumbo Visma), winner of the final time trial at the 2017 Giro.

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    #ciclamino Classifica a punti

    The points classification of the Giro was introducesin 1958, called Trofeo A. Carli, but only after a eight year break following the first endeavour, it found its permanent place in the Giro d'Italia on from 1966.

    The points scheme remains unchanged compared to recent years. This means stages are separated in four different categories, with different amounts of points being awarded.

    Points awarded at the finish (by stage category)

    cat. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
    a) & b)         50      35      25      18      14      12      10      8      7      6
    c)         25      18      12      8      6      5      4      3      2      1
    d) & e)         15      12      9      7      6      5      4      3      2      1

    + minor points for place 11-15 in category a) and b)

    Points awarded at the first (of two) intermediate sprint of the day:

    cat. 1st  2nd 3rd  4th 5th  6th 7th 8th
    a); b); c) & d)      12      8      6      5      4      3      2      1

    ...with the stages being categorized in the following way:
    • categoria a) & b): 2a - 5a - 7a - 10a - 13a - 18a
    • categoria c): 3a - 4a - 6a - 8a - 12a - 15a
    • categoria d) & e): 1a - 9a - 11a - 14a - 16a - 17a - 19a - 20a - 21a
    Since the rule change in 2015 no non-sprinter has ever come in touch of winning the jersey again, and with most flat stages mostly looking unusually, well..., "flat" this year, it looks unlikely to change. Stage 10 has some climbs early on at least, though, and #18 offers a hilly finale with a good chance for (late) escapees to take the points.

    Time limits haven't been much of an issue in the Giro in recent years, but the very tough final week could obviously lead to some sprinters (especially those also aiming for the Tour) to leave the race, potentially influencing the fight for #ciclamino.

    Favorites for the Maglia Ciclamino:



    With Viviani, Nizzolo and Gaviria there are three former jersey winners in the race, all tending to lack a bit of consistency, though, nowadays. When it comes to speed, Caleb Ewan and Tim Merlier are likely to be the quickest, with first-named aiming to do all three Grand Tours in 2021, though, and the latter competing in his very first one, maybe shifting the focus more on early stage victories - which is also likely to be the case for Matteo Mischetti, given his lack of climbing skills.

    Normally also Dylan Groenewegen would obviously be a guy to be named, but for him it's the first competition after his ban from racing, and only as a late inclusion to the team, so it would be quite a surprise to see him competitive enough already. He may even be on domestique duties for his team mate David Dekker., from time to times.

    This could very well lead to Peter Sagan adding another points jersey to his already huge collection. He is also scheduled to do the Tour de France right afterwards, but should normally still be motivated to finish the race, especially after just losing out to Arnaud Démare last year.

    Same as Sagan, also puncheur type of sprinters like Andrea Vendrame or Patrick Bevin should have no major problems to make it over the mountains, and thereby could theoretically become contenders to win the jersey as well, but they are probably unlikely to score enough points in the flat sprints early on.



    #blue Classifica scalatori

    The mountain classification of the Giro was introduced in 1933, and most of the times offers an opportunity for string climbers outside the GC picture to gain glory. Examples over the last years were riders like Mikel Landa in 2017, or also Mikel Nieve, Giovanni Visconti or Giulio Ciccone - with Chris Froome as the only exception to win both the general classification as well as the mountain jersey in the same Giro, since Marco Pantani in 1998.

    Last year Ruben Guerreiro won the jersey with a considerable margin of 77 points, and in 2019 Giulio Ciccone even managed to wear the jersey to wear the jersey from day one till the very end, but most of the years it was a fairly close competitions, sometimes also with the GC guys not too far off.

    Back in 2014 the scores of the hardest climb categories were exponentially increased to give them proportionally higher value - and this is still the case now, with points allocated in the following way:

    CIMA COPPI GPM 1a Cat. GPM 2a Cat. GPM 3a Cat. GPM 4a Cat.
          50      40      18      9      3
          30      18      8      4      2
          20      12      6      2      1
          14      9      4      1      
          10      6      2            
          6      4      1            
          4      2                  
          2      1                  
          1                     

    (this year's Cima Coppi is the Passo dello Stelvio on stage 18)

    So the allocation of points is very top-heavy. 1st category climbs are of much more importance than the smaller ones, and the big differences between the top finishers gives a massive advantage to those who manage to come 1st on the big climbs - and now even more so than in history, as the score for coming 1st was increased in 2020, from 45 to 50 on the Cima Coppi, 35 to 40 on 1st category climbs, 15 to 18 on 2nd category climbs and 7 to 9 on 3rd category climbs last year, while all other numbers remain the same.

    But in the end, the winner of the jersey it not only determined by the number of points awarded on the climbs, but also by the fact where those climbs are located during the stages:

    Stage Pt / Underway Pt / (near the) Finish
    1      Torino - Torino TISSOT ITT            
    2      Stupinigi (Nichelino) - Novara      3      
    3      Biella - Canale      9+3+3      
    4      Piacenza - Sestola      9+9      18
    5      Modena - Cattolica            
    6      Grotte di Frasassi - Ascoli Piceno      18+9      18
    7      Notaresco - Termoli      3      
    8      Foggia - Guardia Sanframondi      18      3
    9      Castel di Sangro - Campo Felice      18+9+18      40
    10      L'Aquila - Foligno      3      
    11      Perugia - Montalcino      9      9
    12      Siena - Bagno di Romagna      9+18+18      9
    13      Ravenna - Verona            
    14      Cittadella - Monte Zoncolan      3+18      40
    15      Grado - Gorizia      3+3+3      
    16      Sacile - Cortina d'Ampezzo      40+40+50      40
    17      Canazei - Sega di Ala      3+40      40
    18      Rovereto - Stradella      3      
    19      Abbiategrasso - Alpe di Mera      40+9      40
    20      Verbania - Valle Spluga - Alpe Motta      40+40      40
    21      Senago - Milano TISSOT ITT            
    TOTAL            521      297

    So contary to 2018 for example, where many point heavy mountain-top finishes favored the GC guys, the organizers have gone back to the approach of having the total maximum number of points available during the stages clearly exceeding those at the stage finishes.

    On paper this should favor escapees, but with the two most point-heavy climbs during the first two weeks situated at the finish, a GC contender could take the jersey early on, leading to him being a bit more eager to defend it.

    Just two days after stage #16 comes up with at least 130 points almost certain to be distributed among breakaway riders, though, meaning that a non-gc threat is very likely to have the upper hand in the end.

    Favorites for the Maglia Azzuro:



    As usual, it's difficult to name clear favorites to win the Maglia Azzura as it always is also determined by the outcome of the general classification, with riders casting an eye on the jersey only after losing time early on. Guerreiro and Visconti are former winners, most certainly giving it a go again, and having an unusual amount of freedom on their teams could also lead to Reichenbach or Davide Formolo ending up in the mix. #trek Trek Segafredo probably lines up the best pair of contenders with the esceptional escapees Ciccone and Brambilla, but in their case a lot will depend on the shape Vincenzo Nibali arrives at the Giro with.

    And it has been quite a while since #androni Androni dominated the competition with Freddy González and Jose Rujano during the early Zero-Years, but going by his shape in the Tour of the Alps, Alexander Cepeda looks right on track to become Savio's first #blue winner since 2005.



    #white Classifica giovani

    The white jersey for the best young rider was first introduced in 1976 and is awarded to the best rider not born before January 1st 1996. Most recently Bob Jungels and Miguel Angel Lopez took back to back wins in 2016/17 and 2018/19, but this won't be the case this time, as last year's white jersey Tao Geoghegan Hart is not around for the 104th Giro

    Favorites for the Maglia Bianca:



    It feels a bit like this competition has lost relevance over the past years, as the birth of the new generation of cycling has let to more young riders fighting for bigger glory at young age already, but the last #white winner to finish outside the Top 10 in GC was actually Vladimir Poulnikov in 1989, so in the Giro youngsters have always mixed up the overall standings as well.

    This year the list of first-class contenders looks particularly long, though, with basically more GC favourites competing for #white than not.



    All detailed rules for the various classifications can be found in the ~pdf Giro d'Italia Regulations
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  • « Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 14:56 by search »

    Mellow Velo

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     Trek come up with an interesting way to make an important team announcement.


    https://twitter.com/TrekSegafredo/status/1389149851116523521
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    t-72

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    Something reminds me of a movie called Sharks (which probably means Nibali will be racing, then?)
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  • Leadbelly

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    t-72

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    So comeon, velorooms, who will win this?

    We usually suspect #ineos will be up there but I have not seen Bernal doing anything worth mentioning this year, and Sivakov was not impressive in the TotA. Least impressive was the tactic of going all in for Sivakov when he had a bad day and exploded big time once he hit the front. Actually he looked like a new #groupama captain right there  :-x

    #bahrain is another team with a few established GC riders although having seen Bilbao around these parts before he started changing focus, I still find it surprising he is now among the favorites. However, he has been a rather consistent rider and I can see hom grabbing the win like Zubeldia should have done it himself..

    #bikeexchange has been a dominant team, not a winning several of the last vintages of the Giro. Chaves came 2nd in GC partly because he had the descending skills to follow the shark and was leading in GC with 2 remaining stages after Nibali drove Kruijswijk off the road in 201. Chaves was showing himself a true GC rider although he caught a cold and couldn't defend his lead on the penultimate stage. Simon Yates is a different cup of tea even if he has won the Vuelta, his 2018 Giro collapse is something almost easier to remember (few who watched will forget that stage which probably will go down in history as Froome's last dance  at that level.) Simon Yates has one of the best pokerfaces of the peloton. Only Quintana can rival him for the "looking relaxed and composed doing good until BONK! Game over! collapse". If he manages his restitution better, Yates is a top candidate.

    I think a slightly surprising win may be on the books for this edition. That includes the finless shark of #trek, but a few younger riders that have shown they can ride GC yet they are not aquired by #ineos yet. However, none of them are unknowns.
    #astana Aleksandr Vlasov
    #bora Emanuel Buchmann
    #ef Hugh Carty
    #quickstep João Almeida
    #groupama Attila Valter
    #jumbo Tobias Foss
    #movistar Marc Soler
    #dsm Jai Hindley

    add Landa and BArdet and it should be all the required ingredients for your top -10 GC dinner. Enjoy?

    My GC winner pick .... #ef Hugh Carthy, the new Hesjedal! , #dsm Hindley and  #bora Buchmann.

    If predicting the winner is easy for you, try predicting the new #ef collaboration kit for the Giro....or will the wait for the Tour?

    https://twitter.com/jasongay/status/1313536809926889472





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  • « Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 17:00 by LukasCPH »

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    Sivakov crashed pretty hard the day before he cracked in Trentino, so those were some odd tactics from #ineos, but otherwise I wouldn't read too much into it. Not that I see him winning anyway, though.

    Carthy looks like he's peaking just fine for the Giro, so I guess he should be up there, same as Landa - while it's basically impossible to say in what kind of shape guys like Hindley (hard crash in Trentino), Bernal (back issues), Buchmann (cancelled prep races) and Evenepoel (well...) will arrive at his race. Personally I wouldn't be surprised anymore if the latter still wins it, but overall my favorite is Simon Yates.

    Guys like #astana Vlasov, #movistar Soler, #deceuninck Almeida or #jumbo Bennett I just don't see strong enough to really win.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Yeah Yates is the top-echelon rider here with the least question marks regarding him. This being cycling though there is no guarantee he won't blow up along the way or fall off his bike somewhere.

    A Simon Yates, Carthy, Landa top-3 sounds good to me.
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    Other than an excellent preview like this, the other thing you really need to enjoy the race is the vested interest of a team in the Giro CQ game

    (sorry for the hijacking)
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  • AG

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    its certainly going to be fun.

    My pick would be Yates.  I agree I dont think Bernal has the form - and while I would love young Remco to be on the podium ... first race back is a tough ask.
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    from a podcast with Bruyneel: "I have heard some rumours that he [Bernal] still is suffering from his back, and actually more severely than we all could imagine."

    He thinks Landa, Yates und Evenepoel will finish on the podium, with the latter as his favourite to take the win.

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  • PeteFromLeeds

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    I would agree that I'm not sure Bernal will be up to it. He was diagnosed with scoliosis wasn't he? You don't 'just recover' from that, and whilst he's had some good results in one-day races I'm not sure he'll be able to face a full 3-week tour. Yates looks like the safest bet to take the win although anythign could happen.
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