The Giro d'Italia is a men's cycling competition that takes place on Italian roads. It is a stage race for professional cyclists that began in 1909.

If pedestrians ignore each other, if motorists insult each other, cyclists smile at each other, greet each other and unite.

Jacques Goddet, patron del Tour de France

Giro d'Italia 2021: 104th edition of Italy's most important cycling race

Saturday 8 May sees the start of the Giro d'Italia 2021, now in its 104th edition. The history of the Giro d'Italia began in 1909 thanks to an idea of journalists Tullo Morgagni, Eugenio Camillo Costamagna and Armando Cougnet. It is one of the three most important cycling competitions in Europe together with the Tour de France, which takes place in France, and the Vuelta de Espana, which takes place in Spain. Although it was originally created as the second most important World Tour race after the Tour de France, it began to gain the same prestige as the French race in the 1950s and 1970s. The Giro d'Italia has only known two interruptions or postponements in its entire history: during World War I and II and in 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The Giro d'Italia is also known as the Giro Rosa for the simple reason that the finishing point of the race is almost always the city of Milan, the location of the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, which has organised the competition since its foundation. The newspaper is in fact pink, also known as the Rosea, which is why it is called the Giro Rosa and the jersey worn by the winner of each stage and the first in the standings is precisely the pink jersey. While the arrival is almost always in the city of Milan, the starting point of the Giro tends to change all the time. The record for victories in the Giro is shared by three cyclists, each with five victories: the Italians Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi, and the Belgian Eddy Merckx. In terms of individual stage victories, the record belongs to Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini, who managed to break the record with 41 victories in the 2003 edition.

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Giro d'Italia 2021: the route and the 21 stages

The Giro d'Italia will start on Saturday 8 May and end on 30 May. The starting point is the city of Turin, in Piedmont, and it will wind its way along a route 3479.9 kilometres long with a total of 21 stages including two time trials and eight uphill finishes, with Pordoi as the Cima Coppi 2021, for a total of 47,000 metres in height difference. The Giro will end in the city of Milan. The first uphill finish will be in Emilia-Romagna in Sestola, on the occasion of the fourth stage. The Apennines return to be the protagonists at the top of Campo Felice on the occasion of the ninth stage. The Giro will stop in Ravenna, on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the death of the great poet Dante Alighieri, where he is buried, and will then pass through Verona, where he lived for years. Although the Giro d'Italia is an all-Italian competition, there will be no shortage of encroachments beyond Italian territory, with the Grado-Gorizia, where the race will pass through Slovenia. The following day will see the battle along the Cima Coppi of this Giro, which will be the Pordoi, included in the Dolomite stretch that also includes the Fedaia Pass (Pantani Mountain of this Giro), the Giau Pass and the arrival in Cortina d'Ampezzo, home of the 2026 Winter Olympics. Grand finale in the city of Milan on Sunday 30 May, with a time trial of 29.4 km starting from Senago.

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The Endless Trophy

The winner of the Giro d'italia wins the Endless Trophy. This is a 9.5-kilo trophy that has been awarded to the winner of the competition for twenty years, and is one of the most iconic trophies in the history of sport. It is made by an artisan company from Saletto di Vigodarzere, 'Mario Penello'. The Gazzetta dello Sport and RCS Sport commissioned the work for the first time in 1999 and through a public poll the Rosea voted for the most stylistic and beautiful trophy among a number of designs submitted. In the end, Fabrizio Galli's design was chosen and he came up with the current award. The Endless Trophy has a spiral shape that rises upwards from the bottom, with circles that narrow and widen towards the two ends. It is made of 18-carat gold-plated copper. The spiral represents the route taken by the cyclists throughout the Giro d'Italia, a story that has no end. Each year the trophy is updated and bears the name of the winner of the new edition. It takes about a month to make. It starts with a copper bar that is rounded and shaped with a special machine. After an initial polishing, it is heat-treated and twisted into a spiral shape, then cut and polished again, then the names of the winners are written on it and finally it is sandblasted.


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Giro d'Italia 2021: the participating teams

There will be 23 teams participating in the Giro d'Italia 2021, made up of 8 riders each: Alpecin-Fenix (Bel), as leader of the Uci ProTeams 2020 classification, and 19 other Uci World Teams: Bahrain Victorious (Brn); Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger); Cofidis (Fra); Deceuninck-Quick-Step (Bel); Ef Education-Nippo (Usa); Ag2r Citroen team (Fra); Astana - Premier tech (Kaz); Israel start-up nation (Isr); Jumbo-Visma (Ola); Lotto Soudal (Bel); Movistar team (Spa); Team Bikeexchange (Aus); Team Dsm (Ger); Groupama-Fdj (Fra); Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr); Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux (Bel); Trek-Segafredo (Usa); Uae Team Emirates (Uae); Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa). To these are added the three wild cards invited by the organisers: Bardiani Csf Faizané (Ita); Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team (Ita); Vini Zabù.


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