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Betting Preview of the 2021 Giro d’Italia

| May 6, 2021 9:35 am PDT

Saturday, May 8 is when the first cycling Grand Tour of the year starts.

In the three weeks that follow, well over a hundred elite cyclists (147 to be precise) will be doing their best to get ahold of Maglia Rosa, the pink jersey awarded to the winner of the Giro d’Italia.

On May 30, the cyclists are expected to finish the 3,450.4 km (2,144 mi) long race. The question is, who is going to cross the finish line before anyone else?

Let’s see what oddsmakers have to say!

The Giro d’Italia Winner Odds for 2021

Together with the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, the Giro d’Italia makes up the trinity of elite cycling races, collectively referred to as the Grand Tours.

The Tour de France might be the most prestigious of the three, but the Giro d’Italia is widely regarded as the most challenging Grand Tour. Its route that travels across two mountain ranges and features dubious weather and not-too-great road conditions.

All these things make the Giro d’Italia unpredictable, with main favorites often finishing the race way behind underdogs.

Proof of this is that the last year’s top favorite, Geraint Thomas crashed his bike in the third stage of the race. The second favorite Simon Yates had to pull out of the race after testing positive for COVID-19.

Did the third favorite win then? Nope.

Vincenzo Nibali, who entered the field as the only past champ, finished the race in 7th place, way behind the winner Tao Geoghegan Hart.

At the age of 25, Hart won his first Grand Tour. But the 2020 Giro d’Italia title will remain his only one, at least for the time being. He’s decided not to take part in this year’s race.

What this means is that the Giro d’Italia will get a new champ but who is it going to be?

Top Maglia Rosa Favorites

The winner of the general classification gets to wear the pink jersey or, as Italians call it, Maglia Rosa. In the competition’s 112-year history, 41 different people won the race.

22 of them won more than one Giro. Vincenzo Nibali belongs to this group with two wins in his career.

The 36-year-old Italian has a chance to do it again, as the only past winner who is taking part in the 2021 race.

However, oddsmakers don’t think such a scenario is very likely. Instead, they favor Egan Bernal to win.

Egan Bernal (3.25)

In the same way the world’s best tennis players are ranked in the ATP/WTA Rankings, the world’s fastest cyclists are ranked in the UCI Rankings.

In the 2021 Giro d’Italia, we are not going to see any cyclists from the top of the UCI list. Some are saving themselves for the Olympics, some are not still ready for the season, and some simply don’t want to take part in one of the hardest races on the planet.

As a result, the highest-ranked cyclist who’s taking part in this year’s Giro d’Italia is Colombian rider Egan Bernal. He is currently #30, but if he gets ahold of the pink jersey, he’s going to propel himself up in the rankings.

If he does it, Bernal is going to become only the 5th non-European to win the race. He would also become the third cyclist from South America to win the race, as well as the second Colombian to win this title.

Remco Evenepoel (4.50)

Even if you are a cycling fan, you might not have heard of Remco Evenepoel. He’s never taken part in a Grand Tour before, as he’s still very young.

Born in 2000, Evenepoel is the youngest cyclist to take part in the 2021 Giro d’Italia. If he wins it, he’s going to break the record for the youngest Giro winner in history.

At the moment, that record is held by Fausto Coppi, who won the race in 1940, at the age of 20 years and 158 days.

Simon Yates (5.00)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Lady Luck hasn’t been a great friend to Simon Yates.

In 2016, he received a doping ban after testing positive for terbutaline – a banned substance found in asthma inhalers.

The story goes that his doctor forgot to notify the anti-doping commission that Yates had been using it for medical purposes.

Fast-forward to 2020 and Yates has set his eye on the Giro d’Italia. After Geraint Thomas got injured in the early stages of the race, Yates became the #1 favorite.

Unfortunately for him, he caught the coronavirus. After the seventh stage of the race, he tested positive for COVID-19, and had to pull out.

Now, he has another chance to get ahold of his first-ever Grand Tour win.

Emanuel Buchmann (11.00)

The 28-year-old German took part in eight Grand Tour races over the course of his career. However, he’s never competed in the Giro d’Italia. Can he win the race on his debut?

It’s hard to say, as he’s coming off a very challenging season. In August 2020, we saw him sustain a serious injury at Criterium du Dauphine, which put his Tour de France participation in jeopardy.

Buchmann did end up competing in the 2020 Tour de France but ended up in 38th place.

Pavel Sivakov (13.00)

The last year’s Giro d’Italia was won by Sivakov’s teammate from Ineos Grenadiers, Tao Geoghegan Hart. This year, Hard is out, but Sivakov is in.

The last time Sivakov competed in the Giro d’Italia was in 2019, when he finished ninth.

Last year, he took part in the Tour de France but didn’t impress– he finished in the 87th position.

The 2021 Race in a Nutshell

The 2021 race is going to be the 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia. As one of the three Grand Tours, winning the race is the dream of every professional cyclist.

Apart from engraving their name in the history of cycling, winning the race also means getting a nice monetary prize.

As cyclists are not among the world’s highest-paid athletes, the prize of 265,668 EUR (which is what Tao Geoghegan-Hart got in 2020) certainly seems like a good incentive.

However, the winner of the Giro d’Italia will really have to work hard to earn that money. They must ride the bike for three straight weeks over one of the most difficult routes in Europe.

Route

As its name suggests, the Giro d’Italia takes place in Italy but this isn’t always the case. For instance, last year, a part of the race took place in Hungary.

Still, in 2021, it’s Italy only. The race starts in Turin, a city in northwest Italy (where Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus F.C. is based).

From there, the route travels all over the country, crossing the Alps and the Apennines along the way.

After 21 days and 3,450.4 km (2,144.0 mi) covered, the cyclists return to the north of Italy, where the route finishes in Milan.

Terrain

The elevation gain of the 2021 race is 47,000 meters (154,000 ft) Passo Pordoi, a mountain pass in the Dolomites in the Alps stands as the highest point of the race.

The first cyclist who passes the highest peak of this year’s race will be awarded the Cima Coppi award.

Apart from being very steep at most of the stages, there’s another problem with the terrain – the roads are often in poor condition.

Weather

Roads become a pool of soap when it gets wet,” said the winner of 2014 Giro d’Italia, Nairo Quintana.

The good news is that May is one of the driest months in Italy, with 52.8mm average rainfall.

The bad news is that the weather forecast for May isn’t very optimistic. Rainy days are expected in the last two weeks of the month, especially in the northern regions of the country.

My 2021 Giro d’Italia Predictions

The main pre-race favorite did not win in 2020 nor the year before. It seems as if favorites don’t win very often at the Giro d’Italia.

Still, that might not be the case this year. Egan Bernal is the favorite for a reason – he has what it takes to become the winner.

At this point, his main rival for the pink jersey seems to be Bury-born Simon Yates. H Yates’ chances look  good, as  he did quite well in the Tour of the Alps in April, especially in the mountain stages.

Even if Yates fails to win the Giro d’Italia in his fourth attempt, I’m still pretty sure he’ll be able to get a top 3 finish.

Check out our Giro d’Italia betting guide for more advice on wagering on this event.

Zarko Naric

Zarko Naric – the World's Greatest Sportswriter, according to his grandma.

Zarko started writing for GamblingSites.com in 2019, covering sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball,  as well as some more niche sports like cycling, for example.

In addition to writing news, picks, and blog pieces focused on sports, Zarko’s also been covering politics, TV/music contests, and so on.

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