AFP Sport takes a look at the five key stages of the 2021 Giro d'Italia, which runs from May 8-30, before Saturday's opening 8.6km time-trial along the River Po in Turin:
Strade Bianchi to kick up some dust
Stage 11: Perugia - Montalcino, 162km
As the dust settles on the early running and the first rest day, stage 11 through Tuscany will kick up a new cloud on the 35km section that gives the Strade Bianchi classic its name.
Australian Cadel Evans emerged the winner here in 2010 on a rainy day that covered the riders in white mud on the non-tarmac section of a region known for its wines.
The monster climb
Stage 14: Cittadella - Monte Zoncolan, 205km
Taking in the multilingual region near Austria and Slovenia, the 14th stage takes the race back to Monte Zoncolan and features the steepest finish of this year's Giro, with double-digit gradients towards the peak in the final kilometres.
Three mountains in the Dolomites
Stage 16: Sacile - Cortina d'Ampezzo, 212km
Three climbs that marked the centenary edition of the Giro will make the 16th stage a potential turning point for the contenders against the epic backdrop of the Dolomite mountains. The second climb takes the Giro to its highest point at 2,239m and is being touted as the 'Queen stage' with its 5,700m of climbing.
The final and maybe decisive mountain
Stage 20: Verbania - Alpe Motta, 164km
The penultimate stage is a testing sidestep into Switzerland to climb the San Bernardino and the Splugen passes, both well above the clouds and with treelines at over 2000m. But the decider could well be the Alpe Motta which rounds off 4800m of climbing.
Last day time trial delivers champion
Stage 21: Senago - Milan, 30.3km
Anyone who witnessed last year's triumphant final day entry into Milan of young British champion Tao Geoghegan Hart as he overturned Jai Hindley's lead is also likely to enjoy the 30.3km concluding race against the clock, which culminates in front of the Duomo.