Colombia’s Egan Bernal, Spain’s Mikel Landa and Britain’s Simon Yates are among the favourites to be crowned winner of the 2021 Giro d’Italia, with the three-week Grand Tour set to begin in Turin tomorrow.
The Giro d’Italia has moved back to its traditional May slot in the calendar, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced last year’s event to take place in October.
Tao Geoghegan Hart became the second British rider to win the race after earning a surprise victory.
Geoghegan Hart has opted not to defend his title at the 104th edition of the race, with the 26-year-old instead focusing his attentions on the Tour de France and Tokyo 2020.
His team-mate Bernal will instead head Ineos Grenadiers’ general classification challenge.
Bernal, the winner of the 2019 Tour de France, will expect to face competition from Landa and Yates.
Landa will seek a maiden Grand Tour crown having finished third and fourth at the race previously, along with two fourth place finishes at the Tour de France.
Team BikeExchange’s Yates will hope for better fortune than the 2020 race, with the Briton having been forced to withdraw after testing positive after the seventh stage last year.
Portugal’s João Almeida led last year’s race for 15 consecutive stages on route to finishing fourth on his Grand Tour debut.
Almeida could be a rider to watch, along with Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, last year’s runner-up Jai Hindley of Australia and Grand Tour debutant Remco Evenepoel of Belgium.
📸 Ceremony & Teams' Presentation del Giro d'Italia 2021... best pics 👉 https://t.co/DnccY4nFLD— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 6, 2021
📸 Ceremony & Teams' Presentation del Giro d'Italia 2021... best pics 👉 https://t.co/W9epAKtKK9 pic.twitter.com/jctbV9RMrY
Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, a three-time world champion, features in a sprint field which includes Italy’s Elia Viviani, Caleb Ewan of Australia and Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria.
The race also features the return of Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, whose nine-month suspension from the sport expires today.
Groenewegen was suspended for his role in a crash at the Tour de Pologne last year, which left fellow sprinter Fabio Jakobsen with serious injuries.
Jakobsen returned to competition last month.
Racing begins tomorrow with the opening stage marking the 160th anniversary of Italy’s unification.
An 8.6 kilometre individual time trial will take place tomorrow in Turin, with Italy’s Filippo Ganna the favourite.
Ganna won four stages at last year’s race, including three individual time trials.
The 21-stage race is scheduled to take place until May 30, with Milan set to host the final day.