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

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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).
It's really not exactly like the Giro is constantly going to Austria anyway. It's been 10 years since the last time. And of course I'm biased as an Austrian but I'd rather see the Giro using climbs in a country without a big cycling race than using climbs in France to make stages we could just as well see in the Tour.

Also, the passes in stage 20 are half Italian anyway and it's literally impossible to use those Italian climbs without going to Switzerland for a while.
 
It's really not exactly like the Giro is constantly going to Austria anyway. It's been 10 years since the last time. And of course I'm biased as an Austrian but I'd rather see the Giro using climbs in a country without a big cycling race than using climbs in France to make stages we could just as well see in the Tour.

Also, the passes in stage 20 are half Italian anyway and it's literally impossible to use those Italian climbs without going to Switzerland for a while.
I might be biased but I would prefer if the Giro didn't go for an average Vuelta route.

If going abroad, just gimme good stages, or foreign climbs that give something special, though I would also prefer we don't go to the climbs already overused in the Tour.
 
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It's really not exactly like the Giro is constantly going to Austria anyway. It's been 10 years since the last time. And of course I'm biased as an Austrian but I'd rather see the Giro using climbs in a country without a big cycling race than using climbs in France to make stages we could just as well see in the Tour.

Also, the passes in stage 20 are half Italian anyway and it's literally impossible to use those Italian climbs without going to Switzerland for a while.
San Bernardino has both sides in CH. But at least the final climb is in Italy.

Stage with Vars-Bonette-Lombarde in the Tour was raced 23 years before those climbs were used in the Giro. Going the other way (minus Vars) it was raced once. Agnello - Izoard as a combo has only been raced once in the Tour as far as I know, so it was actually raced more often in the Giro. Mont-Cenis is 1-1 Giro Tour in the time that I have been watching. Risoul is also 1-1.

Visits to Austria like in 2007 (perfectly cromulent stage by the way, except for being 1 day before the Zoncolan and the idiotic circuit at the end) or in 2009 are only good as transitional stages. I think Grossglockner was the only genuine GC stage ending in Austria in my time as viewer and well, as far as overused climbs in local stage races go, that one even beats the Tourmalet.
 
San Bernardino has both sides in CH. But at least the final climb is in Italy.

Stage with Vars-Bonette-Lombarde in the Tour was raced 23 years before those climbs were used in the Giro. Going the other way (minus Vars) it was raced once. Agnello - Izoard as a combo has only been raced once in the Tour as far as I know, so it was actually raced more often in the Giro. Mont-Cenis is 1-1 Giro Tour in the time that I have been watching. Risoul is also 1-1.

Visits to Austria like in 2007 (perfectly cromulent stage by the way, except for being 1 day before the Zoncolan and the idiotic circuit at the end) or in 2009 are only good as transitional stages. I think Grossglockner was the only genuine GC stage ending in Austria in my time as viewer and well, as far as overused climbs in local stage races go, that one even beats the Tourmalet.
Sure the Großglockner is overused in the Österreichrundfahrt. But I don't think a battle between Riccardo Zoidl and Stephan Rabitsch give me quite the same thrill as one between giro contenders.

Besides, there are a lot more Austrian climbs you could use than just the Großglockner. But really, I don't usually care that much where a race takes place as long as the route is good. It's just that I'm not generally opposed to gt's crossing borders.
 
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Thanks for the expansive preview, Eshnar.

The first week isn't too tough, but it has some interesting climbs. Stage 4 in the Ligurian Alps, with a mur just 3 km before the finish, will be a first test for the climbers. The Apennine stages aren't that hard, but they provide opportunities for some outsiders to take time in a break.

The second week has two important stages, on Wednesday and on Saturday. The sterrato stage, right after the resting day, can be crucial, especially if the weather is bad. The Zoncolan will be climbed from the easier side, but that's still a serious MTF.

The queen stage comes on the final Monday. The Pordoi is the highest point, followed by the steep Giau 18 km before the finish. It comes just before the second resting day and it doesn't have a MTF, so we might see a spectacular, selective race with big gaps here.

The final Wednesday has a MTF on the little known but very steep Sega di Ala, a guarantee for gaps between the GC riders. The Alps bring a rather steep MTF on Friday and a stage with multiple climbs and an easier MTF on Saturday - one last opportunity for a long range attack. After all that climbing the time trialists deserve a chance to hit back on the final day.
 
Sure the Großglockner is overused in the Österreichrundfahrt. But I don't think a battle between Riccardo Zoidl and Stephan Rabitsch give me quite the same thrill as one between giro contenders.

Besides, there are a lot more Austrian climbs you could use than just the Großglockner. But really, I don't usually care that much where a race takes place as long as the route is good. It's just that I'm not generally opposed to gt's crossing borders.
I wasn't really talking about that. I was more talking about Vuelta using Tourmalet and ***. If the Giro goes to France, I'm fine with Agnello, Izoard cause they're part of Giro history too. I'm fine with more obscure MTFs. I'm not fine with Alpe d'Huez.
 
Okay I haven't really changed my view on this route since it came out. It's below average for a Giro route. It doesn't really do super big things wrong IMO, apart from the lack of a long ITT in the middle.

  • I wish they hadn't changed stage 3. Stage 4 is precisely what you want at that stage of the race. Arrate vibes all the way.
  • I'm not sure about S. Giacomo. 15km at 6% in the first week seems poised for nothingburger but because the final 5km are almost 8% average you still might get the 2km of action you want on a stage 6.
  • Stage 8 seems underwhelming for a first Saturday and it might actually be the 3rd uphill sprint of the Giro.
  • Stage 9 is literally the 4th uphill finish of the Giro and it's really the format I strongly dislike. Hard medium mountain stage with a short, steep MTF that guarantees 5 minutes of action. Still haven't had a really speculative stage or a descent finish at this point
  • Montalcino is one true bright spot in the race.
  • Stage 12 is the one legit great medium mountain stage and predictably it's the one without a MTF, and I really like that the day after is a worthless flat stage
  • Why give Zoncolan from Ovaro when you can give Bola del Mundo reject
  • Hate Gorizia. Both the stage and it's place in the race
  • Cortina d'Ampezzo. Good Tappone, but I really fear the ordering of the climbs will make it ordinary rather than great
  • Sega di Ala is a fine mountain stage in a vacuum. Good, hard final climb, but the placement after Cortina is shambles and my mom is calling me that eating this many MTFs is bad for me and I need to fix my diet
  • Alpe di Mera is basically the exact same as Sega di Ala, except it's another such stage. Also WTF is the point of the Zoncolan if your other mountain stages are also just "uh hard mountain finish I guess?"
  • Stage 20 is just underwhelming cause I think San Bernadino is just not hard enough for what you want it to do.
In summary, this really looks like a Vuelta route with RCS profiles. 8 uphill finishes, one descent finish. 0 mountain stages with >50% chance of getting more than one climb of action. No long central ITT. We're really praying Montalcino , echelons or bag memes save this one.
 
I wasn't really talking about that. I was more talking about Vuelta using Tourmalet and ***. If the Giro goes to France, I'm fine with Agnello, Izoard cause they're part of Giro history too. I'm fine with more obscure MTFs. I'm not fine with Alpe d'Huez.
I think it's fine to even use the most iconic (and overused) climbs of the other GTs as long as they are used in a new way. Whether that is the Giro using Alpe d'Huez as a pass to a Les-2-Alpes finish (or the opposite direction over Sarenne down to Le Bourg-d'Oisans) or the Tour using Finestre (after Mont-Cenis) with the finish in Briançon.
 
I think it's fine to even use the most iconic (and overused) climbs of the other GTs as long as they are used in a new way. Whether that is the Giro using Alpe d'Huez as a pass to a Les-2-Alpes finish (or the opposite direction over Sarenne down to Le Bourg-d'Oisans) or the Tour using Finestre (after Mont-Cenis) with the finish in Briançon.
That's fair. I just don't really expect AdH > L2A to happen. Finestre is such a monster it's nearly impossible to ruin the action there, but if the Tour used it I'd indeed prefer it weren't just a standard Sestriere finish.

Finestre is pretty much the only legendary Giro/Vuelta climb the Tour can realistically borrow anyway.
 
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  • Cortina d'Ampezzo. Good Tappone, but I really fear the ordering of the climbs will make it ordinary rather than great
Probably true. Nobody is gonna go on the Fedaia or the Pordoi not just because they are so far from the finish but also because at that point in the race there has probably only been one all out climbing battle between the gc guys while there will still be 3 more to come. That said, a hard stage can do wonders to a finale like that. In 2016 we were all disappointed that nobody attacked on the Giau in the big dolomites stage so there was only the rather underwhelming Valparola still to come. But the hard stage had taken its toll and the Valparola turned out to be an absolute bloodbath with Valverde losing 3 minutes (and arguebly the Giro win) on a 2nd category climb. Even the dolomites this year don't turn out to be a 2011 like epic, if we end up with a great battle on the Giau with gc contenders putting minutes between themselves, I'm not gonna complain.

  • Stage 20 is just underwhelming cause I think San Bernadino is just not hard enough for what you want it to do.
It's not a monster stage, that much is true. I was also reminded of the Manghen stage from 2019 but realized it's not actually comparable because San Bernadino isn't the kind of climb that can create havoc all by itself no matter where it's placed. The thing is, I don't know whether that necessarily has to be a bad thing. Absolute monster stages on stage 20 have their disadvantages too, while stages like these have worked brilliantly in the past. You compared the route to the Vuelta in a negative way but in fact this stage 20 somewhat reminds me of stage 20 of the 2015 and 2019 Vueltas which were both great. Hell, I'd argue stage 20 of last years Giro was really good too and this is like a massively upgraded version of that stage. The thing is, if the climbs far from the finish aren't Manghen like monsters they actually provide a much better spot for suicide attacks. You can't attack on the Manghen if you aren't among the strongest climbers anyway and it's hard to play a stage tactically if it's so hard that only the strongest can win it.
 
Probably true. Nobody is gonna go on the Fedaia or the Pordoi not just because they are so far from the finish but also because at that point in the race there has probably only been one all out climbing battle between the gc guys while there will still be 3 more to come. That said, a hard stage can do wonders to a finale like that. In 2016 we were all disappointed that nobody attacked on the Giau in the big dolomites stage so there was only the rather underwhelming Valparola still to come. But the hard stage had taken its toll and the Valparola turned out to be an absolute bloodbath with Valverde losing 3 minutes (and arguebly the Giro win) on a 2nd category climb. Even the dolomites this year don't turn out to be a 2011 like epic, if we end up with a great battle on the Giau with gc contenders putting minutes between themselves, I'm not gonna complain.


It's not a monster stage, that much is true. I was also reminded of the Manghen stage from 2019 but realized it's not actually comparable because San Bernadino isn't the kind of climb that can create havoc all by itself no matter where it's placed. The thing is, I don't know whether that necessarily has to be a bad thing. Absolute monster stages on stage 20 have their disadvantages too, while stages like these have worked brilliantly in the past. You compared the route to the Vuelta in a negative way but in fact this stage 20 somewhat reminds me of stage 20 of the 2015 and 2019 Vueltas which were both great. Hell, I'd argue stage 20 of last years Giro was really good too and this is like a massively upgraded version of that stage. The thing is, if the climbs far from the finish aren't Manghen like monsters they actually provide a much better spot for suicide attacks. You can't attack on the Manghen if you aren't among the strongest climbers anyway and it's hard to play a stage tactically if it's so hard that only the strongest can win it.
Still trying to understand the difference between 2012 Cortina and 2016 Corvara tbh. I'll say that Corvara actually had some flat/false flat and a small murito at the end which was really cool and after a stage like that probabl preferable to having minimal pedaling after the descent. Might have been the total amount of time spent at altitude and Giau being done just hard enough to crush everyone in 2016. It's pretty much the true sign o an attritional stage where no climb is done particular fast and gaps are gigantic anyway, although Giau was faster in 2016 than in 2012. 2016 was the only GT I've ever seen where literally every rider cracked big time at least once, and the eventual winner did it more like 3 times.

Good point about the final stage. Tbh 3x Sestriere working last year was extremely circumstantial, and that only happened cause Kelderman was weak and Dennis could wreck him anyway. The original stage design would've been epic as **** there anyway. Still I do agree there's merit to the Dauphine sort of finish idea where no climb is that hard so everyone commits harakiri en route to the finish, although I'm inclined to disagree about it incentivizing weaker riders to attack that much cause you're gonna need legs anyway. I guess I'm also disappointed about that stage because there's no huge mountain stage on stage 18/19 either. I'll admit it's a part of the Alps I'm very unfamiliar with tho
 
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And as always, a much nicer course than in the Tour.... But the Tour always has a stronger field of participants. I keep hoping that one day the strongest field of participants will compete on the most beautiful course.
 
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Jan 29, 2021
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And as always, a much nicer course than in the Tour.... But the Tour always has a stronger field of participants. I keep hoping that one day the strongest field of participants will compete on the most beautiful course.
In my opinion, the problem of the tour, is the climbs that aso puts in the course. They need to put more steep and long climbs like mortirolo,zoncolan,finestre,stelvio, gavia, giau in the giro. On this climbs, ineos or jumbo trains can't do much.
 
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