Giro d’Italia 2021

9 May 2021 | ,

Among some cycling fans, the Giro d’Italia is the better of the 3 grand tours. While the Tour de France has all the hype and fanfare, and the La Vuelta has arguably the tougher climbs, the Giro is both beautiful and brutal.

Winning the Giro is a big deal!

The list of past winners contains the names of legends of the sport. The likes of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and in more recent years Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana have all finished on the top step of the eventual podium.  Italian winners such as Marco Pantani and Vincenzo Nibali are idols within Italy, such is the hype within the home country. With the only former winner in Nibali participating this year, odds are that there will be a new winner crowned at the end of the 3 weeks. One thing is for certain- fans are in for a treat.

History of the Giro d’Italia

Inspired by the success of the Tour de France, along with the belief that a race around Italy was needed, the idea for the Giro came about. The first race took place in 1909, with only the World War years preventing the tour from occurring. The Italian sporting newspaper, the La Gazzetta dello Sport has been heavily involved in the organization of the Giro since 1909. Inspired by the pink colour of the newspaper’s pages, the race leaders’ jersey has been pink since its inception in 1931. The colour pink is synonymous with the Giro d’Italia (much like yellow is for the Tour de France). 

When is the Giro d’Italia 2021?

The 2021 event will be the 104th time that the Giro has taken place. Generally occurring around the month of May, the Giro is the first of the 3 grand tours to take place each year. Over the years, 22 riders have won the event on more than 2 occasions. Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx each have 5 victories to their name. In recent years only Ivan Basso, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali have won the tour more than once. Nibali would love to take his tally to 3 wins, but age may not be on his side.

Classifications for Giro

The competition for the general classification is always the most in focus for all 3 grand tours. The Giro is no exception. The overall winner is the rider who completes the tour in the lowest accumulated time across the 21 stages.

The jersey colours explained?

The leader of this competition within the tour wears a pink jersey, also referred to as the Maglia Rosa. Merely wearing this iconic jersey for one day is a noticeable achievement. The other competitions within the tour are for the points, mountains, and best young rider within the general classification (under 25).

The points competition is generally the one for the sprinters, whereby riders will look to amass the most consistent top placed finishes over the course of the event (points are awarded according to finishing position in each stage). The leader of the points competition wears the purple ‘ciclamino’ jersey.

The leader of the mountain’s classification wears the blue jersey. Points are awarded to riders who are first to summit significant climbs during the race. The rider with the most accumulated points at the finish is the winner.

The last of the classifications is the best young rider competition. This is signified by the white jersey, or Maglia Bianca. The event works the same way as the general classification but is only relevant to riders under the age of 25.

2021 contenders

There are several riders looking to add the Giro d’Italia to their palmares. Notably, the only previous winner of the event competing in the 2021 edition is the 2016 champion, Vincenzo Nibali.

Last year’s winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart is focussing on the Tour de France this year. The 2019 and 2018 victors, Richard Carapaz and Chris Froome are also both absent. This opens the door for a number of riders looking to make a name for themselves in the Italian grand tour. Simon Yates may very well be the favourite this year. His form in 2021 has been impressive, and the 2018 Vuelta champion will feel he has unfinished business after the 2018 event, where he enjoyed a long stint in pink but couldn’t keep up the intensity at the back end of the race.

Joao Almeida and Jai Hindley could be two of the strongest contenders after both having a stellar 2020 tour. 2019 Tour de France champion Egan Bernal will be looking to get back to winning ways. Egan has struggled to replicate his grand tour winning form. If his recent back issues don’t play up, the climber from Colombia will be a real threat.

Other ‘outsider’ contenders include the talented climber Miguel Landa, the 2021 Vuelta third placed finisher Hugh Carthy and the 2019 Tour de France fourth placed finisher Emanuel Buchmann. One can also never rule out Vincenzo Nibali- perhaps a bit on the wrong side of his peak years and currently recovering from a wrist fracture, the ‘shark of Messina’ knows how to win and is a tactical genius.

What about Evenepoel?

Quite how wonder kid Remco Evenepoel will perform is also a big unknown. Touted as the next big thing in cycling, Evenepoel is a prodigious talent. At 21 has already won some big races. Returning from a nasty injury sustained at last year’s Il Lombardia, his racing form is thus unknown. The fact that this is his first grand tour could also limit how far he goes in this year’s Giro.

Exciting 3 weeks

However the Giro plays out, one thing for sure is that it won’t be short of action and drama. Being the first grand tour of the year, all eyes will be on who can make the first big statement of 2021. Can Nibali add a third title to his name? Will there be a new winner come Sunday the 30th of May? Be sure not to miss out on the action!

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