Giro d'Italia 2021 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-Stage Analysis

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A few thoughts about the route now that we have better profiles of all the climbs. Stage 9 will be a prime example of the entire forum (and really the entire cycling world) being fooled by stupid climb categorizations. It's 2021, long climbs with a gradient below 5% have less impact on a race than whether I watch it or not and the final climb is hard for 1.5 kilometres. Like, sure, those 1.5 kilometres will be great, but I guarantee you that absolutely nothing will happen before it and the entire forum will cry "but it was supposed to be a mountain stage".

It also annoys me that there are 3 really hard mountain top finishes in the Alps. The Apennines stage and stage 20 are great but at least one of the other Alps stages should really be scratched. I love the fact that there are so many mtf's in the first week but I fear they will end up wasted because there are so many, much harder mtf's in the last week anyway. And of course it needs to be noted that this Sutrio side of the Zoncolan is absolutely f*cking useless as a mtf. Seriously, I have a hard time imagining a climb that hard, less suited to be a mtf. That stage is gonna be an extreme waiting game.
 
It also annoys me that there are 3 really hard mountain top finishes in the Alps. The Apennines stage and stage 20 are great but at least one of the other Alps stages should really be scratched. I love the fact that there are so many mtf's in the first week but I fear they will end up wasted because there are so many, much harder mtf's in the last week anyway. And of course it needs to be noted that this Sutrio side of the Zoncolan is absolutely f*cking useless as a mtf. Seriously, I have a hard time imagining a climb that hard, less suited to be a mtf. That stage is gonna be an extreme waiting game.
Broadly agree with this.

In my opinion, the second half of the race would be much better if:
  • Stage 14 had a short, reasonably steep climb just before Zoncolan (preferably Duron, otherwise Tualis), then finish at the big parking lot right before the steep section (like the original Giro Rosa stage way back when) giving a MTF of roughly 9.5k at 8%. If you did Tualis, you could even come from Ciampigotto without increasing the stage length much. Of course, it would be even better if Zoncolan was stage 15, then you could start from Grado and end with Cason di Lanza, Duron and Zoncolan with no flat in between... which works doubly well with finishing lower down on Zoncolan.
  • Stage 18 had the original design so that the sprinters had a reason to stay after Stage 13. You could beef up Stage 7 or 10 to keep the number of sprints the same. Generally the flat stages are poorly spread out this year.
  • Stage 19 consisted of a Mottarone loop with descent finish similar to 2001. The Stage 17 MTF is superior anyway.
 
Broadly agree with this.

In my opinion, the second half of the race would be much better if:
  • Stage 14 had a short, reasonably steep climb just before Zoncolan (preferably Duron, otherwise Tualis), then finish at the big parking lot right before the steep section (like the original Giro Rosa stage way back when) giving a MTF of roughly 9.5k at 8%. If you did Tualis, you could even come from Ciampigotto without increasing the stage length much. Of course, it would be even better if Zoncolan was stage 15, then you could start from Grado and end with Cason di Lanza, Duron and Zoncolan with no flat in between... which works doubly well with finishing lower down on Zoncolan.
  • Stage 18 had the original design so that the sprinters had a reason to stay after Stage 13. You could beef up Stage 7 or 10 to keep the number of sprints the same. Generally the flat stages are poorly spread out this year.
  • Stage 19 consisted of a Mottarone loop with descent finish similar to 2001. The Stage 17 MTF is superior anyway.
Duron before a finish at Ski station parking lot before the super steep final 3km would be pretty awesome, if Cason di Lanza came before it you'd have a MTF that is still hard, but actually gives you the opportunity to go on a long range attack.
Tualis is also always a nice option, it's the first 4km of Monte Crostis from Comeglians.

I agree with you on nearly everything (I don't mind stage 18, tbh).
 
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Great effort Eshnar, as always! Thank you!
I really like the sterrato stage and the medium mountain one right after. Sega di Ala looks crazy hard and the last mountain stage could be good for long range attacks. Disliking the Zoncolan stage + the 8th one (1.5 km of action).
 
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Had a full read through yesterday, and another skim through just now. Some additional thoughts:

The first week is not as good as I previously thought. I love stage 4, but stage 6....very little will happen. 15 kms @ 6% just isn't enough this early in the race. It would be better if a stage like that was swapped with the Zoncolan (I like the idea of this 'weak side' being in week one, still guaranteed gaps) stage.

About stage 9: What gigs said.

Stage 10: Why not an ITT?

Love stages 11 & 12, obviously.

Zonc where it is, is still okay.

Stage 15 is okay also. No point having a hard stage before the dolomites stage.

Final week is virtually perfect imo. Great to have the rest day between 16 & 17, and the organisers have also got it right making these stages harder than 19 & 20 (do not make these stages the hardest, always remember 2012). If it was the other way around then those slightly easier mountain stages may not be raced as enthusiastically.

Stage 18 works well to break the final week up, and really hard MTF on stage 19 works well BEFORE easier MTF on stage 20.
 
Some of my thoughts/trivia written down w/o any formatting.

Sestola - this all i believe is one of many ways to reach Pian del Falco that's just above the town but below Passo del Lupo. I will need to look up this stage more closely as a lot of the roads in this region were either broken or outright abandoned so maybe some redevelopment happened, which would mean more options for the future (Le Polle/Piane Mocogno/Febbio).

San Giacomo sul Ascoli Piceno - the same climb as in 2002 where a certain Cadel Evans came into prominence. Interestingly they're taking Forca di Presta, which i thought was very damaged. Forca di Gualda was last year in Tirreno and nearby you have potential MTF finishes at Monte Prata or Frontignano di Ussita.

Guardia Sanframondi - Bocca della Selva is the 2nd most famous climb in the Matese massif (after nearby Campitello Matese). Interestingly, it's the other way which i thought would never happen. The descent to Cusano Mutri/Telese Terme is long, quite dangerous and it may be on not the best of surfaces. If the finish was in Cusano Mutri or Telese Terme and maybe full Campitello Matese beforehands this would be il Falco terrain all day long. For me personally a very interesting design.

Campo Felice - Another stage with unususal descents (Godi and Fonte Ciarlotto). I don't believe you can do any better with the roads you have in this region besides Monte Urano or Monte Motola/San Benedetto in Perillis if the intermediate road from Popoli is repaired. Fonte Ciarlotto is next to a tunnel known as Olmo di Bobbi, a rather well known climb in the region. They'll be also going through Celano which is overlooking a vast plain/former lake Lago Fucino. I believe the best way would be to have Monte Motola and then Rocca di Mezzo via Sp11 as both those climbs are harder than Fonte Ciarlotto and Ovindoli. You could have better options from l'Aquilla with any of the Gran Sasso climbs and Rocca di Cambio but i guess the stage would be too long.

Foligno - it seems Foligno likes to lobby RCS. Maybe becasue it's the least memorable city next to the likes of Perugia, Assisi, Todi and Spoleto. I remember the finish to be rather twisty and frantic. If you want a transitional but on paper way more interesting stage then you can draw it through Terminillo, Forca Capistrello and Valico di Pettino (12km @ 7,2%) or a lil bit easier Passo Spina next to it.

Montalcino - maybe people are overrating the impact of sterrato. Strade Bianche has the advantage of being a one-day race so everybody's going full gas.The 2010 stage (which wasn't hard at all on paper) did a lot of damage cause back then i feel not many GC people in the peloton had that much experience with dirt. Right not it looks like it's required for a GC guy to know how to ride on different surfaces (...and also be an outright sprinter). I still believe it to be a reduced (15-30 man group) bunch sprint. However, this could be a good chance to try and drop S. Yates, especially with the lack of TT.

Bagno di Romagna - it's a harder variant of the 2017 stage that went via Monte Fumaiolo. I think it may be my favourite design in the entire race, both race-wise and estethically. I think in the future this very region may experience a finish on Eremo Camaldoli after either Consuma or Calla. Consuma itself is a classic climb in Appennino Tosco-Romagnolo.

Zoncolan - in 2011 poeple were blinded by Crostis. I think the organizers lost a chance to have the very narrow Priola side that's as hard as the Ovaro side. Then after reaching the altiport/ski resort descend down to Sutrio on a much wider and better road and have the regular runup on Valcalda before the regular Zoncolan finish. Btw, on the switchbacks of Monte Rest Steve Roche left Visentini in that famous Giro 87 stage where Visentini bonked.

fedaia - great climb, possibly the hardest in the sella group but definityle NOT the most picturesque. it doesn't even hold a candle to Passo Sella, Gardena or the top of Valparola. the Sottoguda gorge is very good but the whole Asturias is littered with such and Vuelta passes such roads almost every year.

Sega di Ala - personally i'm still shocked it's not an Unipuerto stage. There's a secondary road just west of fittanze that has a much harder final section. it's most likely one of the hardest climbs in whole Italy, however the descent would need repaving. You could had a Verona finish that way easily and it would be bonkers if the very last (21st) stage would do that with a Verona grande finale.

Madesimo - while it also had spluga and furka i believe it is the famous stage that Adorni soloed, but becasue Adorni's name doesn't resonate the same as Coppi it had been relatively forgotten. I think Adorni attacked on San Bernardino but i would need to refresh my memory (of what i've read, i'm not that old). A rather well known design idea is to have Spluga south (harder than San Bernardino) and then descent San Bernardino to a finish in Bellinzona. However myself i may prefer to link it up with Albula (and even Fluela for a Davos finish) for a La Punt/Sankt Moritz finish.

Windy stages - i'm not Italian but i believe you never have any significant wind on the Adriatic, at least in May. I know though that there are strong foehns on the Dalmatian (Croatian) side. I think i've seen some slightly more regular weather scenarios of north-western winds in the Foggia plains and maybe slight eastern sea breezes in the east middle of the Po valley (Comacchio/Adria).
 
Stage 19 consisted of a Mottarone loop with descent finish similar to 2001. The Stage 17 MTF is superior anyway.
Stage 14 had a short, reasonably steep climb just before Zoncolan (preferably Duron, otherwise Tualis), then finish at the big parking lot right before the steep section (like the original Giro Rosa stage way back when) giving a MTF of roughly 9.5k at 8%.
Agreed. These two changes would have been great. In addtition I miss a tougher mountain stages in the first 12-13 days. Sestola and San Giancomo wlll probably create only small time gaps. I miss a tougher MTF in the early part of the race.
 
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Awesome news for Australian cycling fans!!!!

Free to air television (SBS) have confirmed that they will be showing all stages of the 2021 Giro!

They did not have the rights to it the past few seasons (but had the Tour and Vuelta), so I am very happy about this news :)

FEDAIAAAA!!!!
This is the best news in ages, as long as they keep Tomalaris to a minimum and continue with their on air ban of Anthony Tan.
 
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Fedaia - great climb, possibly the hardest in the sella group but definityle NOT the most picturesque. it doesn't even hold a candle to Passo Sella, Gardena or the top of Valparola. the Sottoguda gorge is very good but the whole Asturias is littered with such and Vuelta passes such roads almost every year.
Dude, did you just state your own opinion? Don't know whether I can support that
 
Dude, did you just state your own opinion? Don't know whether I can support that
I also don't dislike Kirby. On one hand it started as a little playful, friendly dig at LS but in all seriousness i believe Fedaia's visuals are a bit overrated and i personally prefer the top of nearby Passo Sella as the best looking part of the Sella Dolomites. When it comes to difficulty i cannot front on that. Possibly Giau can rival it with Duran and Valles in some distance. If you expand the circle of interest then it may fall to Lavaze/Pampeago, Kronplatz or Manghen though. Interestingly, the Asturian comparison may be a little deeper as Fedaia's characteristics are similar (a bit harder) to famous Asturian climbs Cobertoria and San Lorenzo.

Now to the race itself. Pros:
  • i like the pacing of the first part of week 1 - stage 4 as a GC selection opener and stage 6 as a GC proper opener,
  • some tricky descents on stages 8 & 9,
  • a proper strade bianche stage 11, also just after a rest day,
  • nice pacing of stages 11 & 12,
  • stage 16 and 20 as sort of proper tappones, at least for modern standards,
  • Sega di Ala and Alpe Motta are nice additions to the race,
  • i think fine placing of sprint stages.
Cons:
  • one too many last 3k MTFs - Campo Felice and Zoncolan
  • some unnecessary filler stages - Foligno, Gorizia,
  • first weekend is terrible,
  • second weekend should be reshuffled; just switch stage 15 (Gorizia) with stage 14 (Zoncolan) or 15 with 16 to have both mountain stages in the weekend,
  • maybe an easier MTF on stage 20? Like finish in Madesimo itself, but i don't really think it's that big of a difference,
  • both stages 16 and 20 could be a bit harder, but i don't think it's geographically possible,
  • stage 14 could definitely be a bit harder,
  • i think right now it's this race's style but still a bit backloaded
  • lack of TT, but then this year TdF has a bit more TT than usuall so maybe they wanted to invite less TT capable GC guys.
 
Madesimo - while it also had spluga and furka i believe it is the famous stage that Adorni soloed, but becasue Adorni's name doesn't resonate the same as Coppi it had been relatively forgotten. I think Adorni attacked on San Bernardino but i would need to refresh my memory (of what i've read, i'm not that old). A rather well known design idea is to have Spluga south (harder than San Bernardino) and then descent San Bernardino to a finish in Bellinzona. However myself i may prefer to link it up with Albula (and even Fluela for a Davos finish) for a La Punt/Sankt Moritz finish.
A bit of critique

San Bernardino summit-> Bellinzona is about 50km

Spluga summit -> start of the hard part of the Albula is about 55+km

End of Albula descent -> start of Flüela in Susch is about 25km of mostly flat terrain

for me there are enough climbs in Italy not to make Switzerland or Austria the focal point of a stage (and includes the Grossglockner, sorry).
 
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