favourites, French people to follow, route and key stages… What you need to know before the 105th edition of the Tour of Italy

favourites, French people to follow, route and key stages... What you need to know before the 105th edition of the Tour of Italy

Place in the first big round of the season. Two months before the Grande Boucle and three before the Vuelta, the Giro starts on Friday May 6 from Budapest. Who will succeed Egan Bernal, crowned in 2021? Several French will have their say in the game, including Romain Bardet and Guillaume Martin, but it will be necessary to survive a very mountainous route, conducive to failures. Franceinfo: sport summarizes what you need to know about the 105th edition of the Tour of Italy.

Hungary as an aperitif

It was to be the starting point for the 2020 edition, but the Covid-19 epidemic decided otherwise. The Giro d’Italia will start from Hungary where the peloton will spend three days racing. The first stage between Budapest and Visegrad, 195 km long, is a priori cut for a puncheur.

The second stage will consist of a short time trial (9.2 km), with a slight bump at the end of the course to reach the castle on the hill of Buda. The profile of the third act is more classic. Despite a few climbs, including a fourth category climb 13 km from the finish (1.5 km at 3.1%), the finish seems promised to the sprinters. After a rest day, the riders will head to Sicily for the rest of the Giro.

Etna, Blockhaus, and Passo Pordoi to decide between the favorites

The route of the 105th Tour of Italy promises a fierce battle between climbers. The first two key points will be the fourth stage, whose arrival will be judged on the slopes of Etna (22.9 km at 6%), and stage 9, with a sequence of two difficult climbs: the Passo Lanciano (10.5 km at 7.4%) then the Blockhaus (13.7 km at 8.5%). These first two arrivals at altitude will set a trend, before things get tougher during the second and third weeks.

The sequence of steps 15, 16 and 17 thus risks cleaning up the competition. The riders will have to cross seven first category passes in three days, including the mythical Mortirolo (12.8 km at 7.5%), in the middle of the 16th stage. Stages 19 and 20 (with a passage at 2,239 meters above sea level at the top of Passo Pordoi), or even the final time trial in Verona, will be responsible for narrowing the gaps in the general classification.

The favorites: towards a Richard Carapaz-Simon Yates duel?

Without Primoz Roglic, Tadej Pogacar or even Egan Bernal, the race for the pink jersey is particularly open thanks to the traffic jam of ambitions on the Tour de France. On the starting line, there are three who have already won the Giro: Tom Dumoulin (2017), Vincenzo Nibali (2013, 2016) and especially Richard Carapaz (2019).

The Ecuadorian, Olympic champion in Tokyo and third in the last Tour de France, will be able to count on an experienced team. Four of the seven teammates who carried Bernal to victory last year were again selected by Ineos (Castroviejo, Narvaez, Puccio, Sivakov). On a route cut for climbers, with only 26 km of time trial, he is clearly one of the two favorites with Simon Yates.

The Briton has the opportunity to give another twist to his complicated history with the Giro. Since his terrible failure two days before the end of the 2018 edition, with the pink jersey on his shoulders, he has missed his new three attempts but remains on a podium in 2021 (3rd). In addition, he had time to console himself by winning another grand tour: the Vuelta in 2018. Behind the two men, there are several who have a say, including Mikel Landa (3rd in 2015), Miguel Angel Lopez (3rd in 2018) or Joao Almeida (4th in 2020). Two Frenchmen also intend to get involved in the battle for the general classification.

The French: Romain Bardet, Guillaume Martin, Arnaud Démare, Pavel Sivakov headlining

Romain Bardet is the French attraction of this Tour of Italy. Never, since his podium in the Tour de France 2017, has he approached a grand tour with so much certainty. Just winner of the Tour des Alpes (his first victory in a stage race for nine years), the DSM climber has gained confidence and will be able to fight on a route cut out for him, against much less competition. raised only on the Tour de France.

He won’t be the only one aiming for a good place overall. Ninth in the Vuelta and eighth in the Tour de France last year, Guillaume Martin will compete in his very first Giro. Like Bardet, he will be favored by the scarcity of time trials. In the mountains, you will also have to follow Pavel Sivakov closely. The one who expected in the role of lieutenant of Carapaz at Ineos now represents France, after having abandoned Russian sports nationality following the invasion of Ukraine ordered in February by Vladimir Putin.

When the road flattens out, it is Arnaud Démare who will take on the role of headliner for the tricolor clan. The Groupama-FDJ sprinter will have a card to play in the middle of Caleb Ewan, Mark Cavendish, even Mathieu van der Poel. Démare had shone on the 2020 edition with four successes and a distinctive jersey brought home.