Nice/Tirreno preparation race entry:
Giro di Calabria
22-28 February 2021
Calabria, the Southern region of the Italian Peninsula, is a hidden cycling gem. The three main mountain ranges (Pollino, Sila and Aspromonte) offer various long and steep climbs, yet they remain quite undiscovered by the global fans, as they rarely feature in the Giro d'Italia. The Calabrian region, however, has been using the Giro d'Italia to promote itself, and has reached an agreement with RCS to host a 7-stage tour in preparation for the Tirreno Adriatico, in hopes to bring touristic attention (and the most notorious faces of the peloton) to the region.
986.83 total Km
2 flat stages
2 medium mountain stages (1 MTF)
2 high mountain stages (1 MTF)
1 ITT (with MTF)
20 categorized KOM (5 I cat, 7 II cat, 4 III cat and 4 IV cat)
Monday, February 22nd
Crotone > Schiavonea
, 167.98 Km, flat
Altitude difference: + 2415 m, - 2412 m
The first edition of the revamped Giro di Calabria starts from the birthplace of Pythagoreanism, Crotone. A bunch sprint awaits the peloton in the touristic location of Schiavonea, a sprinter is probably going to be the first leader-jersey bearer. GC contenders will have the opportunity to get in shape: the stage has 2415 m of positive gain, a good preparation for the rest of the week.
Tuesday, February 23rd
Trebisacce > Savelli
, 187.12 Km, high mountain (MTF)
Altitude difference: + 4655 m, - 3680 m
Three first category KOMs will definitely shake up this entrancing stage, from Trebisacce to Savelli. The first two will get riders tired, the final climb to Savelli will knock down whoever is not ready: first Km at 16.5% average gradient, first three Km all in double digits average gradient, last 2 Km to increment the gap on those who will not be prepared. Fireworks expected.
Wednesday, February 24th
San Giovanni in Fiore > Sersale
, 159.96 Km, medium mountain (MTF)
Altitude difference: + 2665 m, - 2838 m
If short and vertical was the climb to Savelli in the second stage, the third stage will see another type of terrain in the final section of the stage, with a long but not particularly steep climb to Petronà (18 Km at 4%, but with a plateau in the proximity of Mesoraca) anticipating the final KOM to Sersale (2.3 Km, with a 500 m section averaging 8.2%). A different type of stage, but more open to mid-range attacks.
Thursday, February 25th
Sersale > Siderno
, 147.62 Km, flat
Altitude difference: + 1418 m, - 2208 m
Transition stage in the middle of the Giro. The peloton will pass by Catanzaro before coasting the Ionian Sea to reach Siderno. GC riders will have the opportunity to rest and sprinters to shine, unless trasversal wind will blow from the sea, and teams will want to practice echelons....
Friday, February 26th
Locri > Gerace
, 13.89 Km, individual time trial (MTF)
Altitude difference: + 494 m, - 59 m
The stunning hamlet of Gerace (elected amongst the "Borghi più belli d'Italia", "Italy's most beautiful towns) will host this Giro's ITT arrival. A fairly short ITT, but with an 8.4 Km climb that will not suit puncheurs in any case, as the average gradient surpasses 6% only in the final Km. A good practice for an ever more seen in GTs speciality - and possibly a decisive day for settling the classification of the first edition of the revamped Giro di Calabria.
Saturday, February 27th
Caulonia > Vibo Valentia - Castello Normanno-Svevo
, 161.51 Km, medium mountain
Altitude difference: + 3656 m, - 3367 m
Another day, another castle. This time, in Vibo Valentia, for a stage open to every ending. Two hard climbs in the first 30 Km will tire riders, and will determine who will be able to make a difference in the last 60 hilly Km.
Sunday, February 28th
Vibo Valentia > Lamezia Terme
, 148.75 Km, high mountain
Altitude difference: + 3281 m, - 3486 m
End with a blast. The last - and most likely decisive - stage of the Giro di Calabria 2021 will see riders arriving in Lamezia Terme. The race is hilly right from the start, but it's after the first passage on the finish line that things will get really tough: a first category climb (the Passo d'Acquavona, 11.5 Km with 7.2% average gradient), offers the best opportunity for a long range attack, especially for those cyclists who won't be tired after the 15% section at Km 3 and 4 of the climb. The second climb, the Passo di San Mazzeo, will be a good opportunity to increase the gap if an attack succeeded on the Passo d'Acquavona.
Classics preparation race entry:
Tre Giorni Piacentina
19-21 February 2021
The Three Days of Piacenza takes place between Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia, passing through some of the less seen - yet very interesting from a cycling point of view - territories of the two Northern Italian regions. On the first day, riders will go through the Cremasca and Lodigiana territories, on the last two days, the Piacenza valleys will be protagonists instead. Three days, three different terrains: flat, hilly and... gravel!
429.43 total Km
2 flat stages (1 gravel stage)
1 medium mountain stages (1 MTF)
15 categorized KOM
Friday, February 19th
Codogno > Piacenza
, 164.85 Km, flat
Altitude difference: + 531 m, - 528 m
A flat stage awaits the peloton on the first day of the race. The race will start in Codogno, where exactly one year before the first outbreak of Covid-19 was registered in Italy (and Europe). After passing by the likes of Crema (the Santa Maria della Croce Sanctuary is shown in the picture), Pandino and Lodi, the group will arrive outside of the Piacenza Roman walls, where a bunch sprint will be the probable outcome. The only KOM of the day will assign the climbers jersey (no system of different points for difficulty used, all categorized climbs give 1 point).
Saturday, February 20th
Piacenza > Castello di Corano - Borgonovo Val Tidone
,160.08 Km, medium mountain (MTF)
Altitude difference: + 2761 m, - 2510 m
The second day will see the peloton ride in the Oltrepò Pavese and the Val Tidone (in picture), where several hills await the riders. Eight categorized climbs characterize the stage, non of them of particular difficulty, but they will certainly have an impact on the puncheurs' legs at this stage of the season. The uphill finish is a tough one; the stage winner taking will probably dress the GC jersey in the final and decisive stage.
Sunday, February 21st
Piacenza > Piacenza
,104.50 Km, flat
Altitude difference: + 1380 m, - 1372 m
A short but exciting stage will decide who will win the first edition of the Tre Giorni Piacentina. Gravel sections (7), short hills (6) and the possibility of bad weather will all have an impact on riders in this February Sunday, for what will be an exiting closing stage. After a hilly central part, with two gravel climbs and some tricky - but safe - downhill sections, the last part will be on a flat terrain, and only who will have enough strenght left will be able to prevail on the last two white roads and win the race.