Remco Evenepoel, Peter Sagan, and Egan Bernal have all shared their thoughts on the route for this year’s Giro d’Italia, which features some exciting new additions.
The 2021 Giro d’Italia route, which kicks off on May 8, will take the peloton over 3,450km across 21 stages, with a tough gravel stage, a Monte Zoncolan finish and some notable new climbs among the highlights.
This year’s edition is also likely to feature some star names, including Sagan who only made his Giro debut last season, Egan Bernal who will ride his first Giro d’Italia this year, and Remco Evenepoel who was scheduled to compete in his first Grand Tour in Italy last year before injury delayed the next step in his career.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Evenepoel, who recently returned to training after delays to his recovery, said: “My big goal is to be ready for the start of the Giro. As you all know, last year, I was not able to compete in the race because of an injury after my crash at Il Lombardia. The course for this year seems to be really hard, and beautiful too. So I think it will be a nice race. I’m looking forward to feeling the Italian atmosphere and seeing all those amazing tifosi.”
The 21-year-old Belgian star had planned to ride his first three-week race in Italy last year, but his highly anticipated Grand Tour start was delayed after he crashed out the Italian Monument Il Lombardia in August.
After making good progress in his recovery late last season, Evenepoel was forced to take more time off the bike
Evenepoel still hopes to return to racing in time for this year’s Giro, although no date for his comeback has yet been set.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan made his first appearance at the Giro d’Italia last season, where he brought an end to an uncharacteristic slump in his results.
The former three-time world champion won stage 10 of the 2020 Giro with an unforgettable solo attack on the road to Tortoreto.
On this year’s Giro route, Sagan said: “My participation at the Giro d’Italia last year was a wonderful experience and something that I’d always wanted to do. Now I am training in the Canary Islands ahead of the new season and hope to return to Italy ready to race.”
The Ineos Grenadiers rider has history in Italy, having started his career in Europe with the Italian ProTeam Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, run by Gianni Savio.
Bernal, who has been dealing with back problems that forced him out of the 2020 Tour de France, said: “I’m really happy to be preparing for the Giro d’Italia. This is a race that I have been wanting to do for a long time, since I first came to Italy. This year, I am really happy to be racing it and I have already been up Alpe di Mera, to try out that stage. This will be a difficult race, but still, I cannot wait to do it, as this one will be a beautiful Giro. I’ll be expecting all the fans to be cheering from home, in front of the TV, for both myself and for all the riders and teams that will be there.”
Italian stars will also be lining up in Turin in May, including the reigning time trial world champion Filippo Ganna, arguably the revelation of last year’s race.
The Ineos rider said: “I’m really happy that the 104th edition of the Giro will start from Turin and my home region, Piemonte. The course for Stage one looks like a really fast one and I’m ready to do well in it. I’m looking to start the Giro on the right foot and replicate what I did last year, trying to wear the first Maglia Rosa.”
Ganna won all three of the individual time trials in last year’s Giro, along with a tough climbing stage victory.
Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), a former winner of all three Grand Tours, said: “I do like this year’s course, and I’m happy about the way it’s been designed. There are a lot of climbs – some of these are major ones, like the Zoncolan! For now, I’ll focus on preparing for the race in the best way possible.”