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Giro d’Italia 2021 Stage 11 Preview

Strade Bianche II • Perugia – Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino wine stage)

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Giro d’Italia 2021 Stage 11 (4 stars)

PERUGIA– MONTALCINO (Brunello di Montalcino wine stage)
Wednesday, May 19
162km (hilly, white roads)

Giro d’Italia Stage 11

Strade Bianche II

With four sections of strade bianche gravel and a bunch of climbs, including a difficult one just before the finish, this should be a monumental stage—not unlike the one 12 years ago that used one of the same sections of white roads and also finished in Montalcino. The stage winner of that very wet, glutinous stage was Cadel Evans, while the mud-spattered race leader Nibali crashed 20 kilometers from home and lost two minutes. There’s even more gravel this year, with the four sections totaling 35.2km of stone roads in the final 70 kilometers—an eye-boggling 50 percent of those final two hours of the stage.

The first section comes after more than 90 kilometers of racing, mostly on rolling terrain through the beautiful Val d’Orcia, which has UNESCO World Heritage status. Section 1 is 9.1 kilometers long and is mostly downhill, which could contribute to a few crashes whatever the weather. Only 7 kilometers later, including one nasty little climb, comes the 13.5-kilometer-long section that did most of the damage in 2010. The first half of this section is steeply uphill, including a 16-percent pitch, and it continues climbing to the top of the Passo del Lume Spento, with the descent (on tarmac) passing through Montalcino before a finishing loop of 35 kilometers.

Section 3 starts just after the day’s second intermediate sprint at the medieval village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, where a head-turn to the right reveals the world-renowned Abbey of Sant’Antimo where the Benedictine monks’ daily chants echo hauntingly through the 60-foot-high nave. For the riders on this 162-kilometer stage 11, the final 25 kilometers of racing will probably come back to haunt them. The last two sections of gravel, one of 7.6 kilometers, the other of 5 kilometers, are separated by a steep downhill on tarmac, while the second section precedes the 5-kilometer Lume Spento climb (back on tarmac) from the opposite direction before a 3.8-kilometer descent to the finish in Montalcino.

The stage town of 6,000 people is home to Brunello di Montalcino, one of the most coveted and expensive Italian red wines with price tags rising to over $500. The race organizers have named this stage after the wine, but the Giro riders will likely name it the most damaging one since the race began—and perhaps the one that eliminates some of the major contenders.

Stage 11 map.

SCHEDULE (all times EDT)

Perugia start (0km) after 8km neutral (7:10 a.m.); Torrenien (start of 9.1km gravel), 69.2km to go (9:19 a.m.); Bibbiano (start of 13.5km gravel), 52.2km to go (9:42 a.m.); Castiglion del Bosco (sprint), 47.1km to go (9:56 a.m.); Passo del Lume Spento (Cat. 3), 37.4km to go (10:13 a.m.); Montalcino (first passage), 34.7km to go (10:17 a.m.); Castelnuovo dell’Abate (sprint, start of 7.6km gravel), 25.9km to go (10:28 a.m.); Bv. per Argiano (start 5km gravel), 13.6km to go (10:47 a.m.); Passo del Lume Spento (Cat. 3), 3.8km to go (11:08 a.m.); Montalcino (finish, viale Roma), 162km (11:13 a.m.).

Stage 11 itinerary.