Departing from Urbino, to commemorate 500 years since the death of Raffaello Sanzio, better known as the Renaissance painter Raphael, the competition’s grand finale will include the double climb of the Mortirolo pass, made famous by Marco Pantani’s remarkable performance in 1994. This may be the Giro d’Italia Giovani Under 23 Enel but it increasingly resembles the professional championship.
The competition, presented in Milan on 21 January, is scheduled for 4 to 14 June and will cross five Italian regions: Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Lombardy. For the fourth consecutive year, the Enel Group will flank the Maglia Rosa (Pink Jersey), symbol of the world’s most important stage race for young cycling talents, a competition that has launched champions of the likes of Moser and Pantani.
“This year’s race is by invitation and we will host only club teams,” explained Davide Cassani, technical commissioner and coordinator of the national teams, in Milan. “There will be 15 Italian teams starting, plus one interregional team and 13 foreign teams. We have 40 applications at the moment so we will be forced to make choices, but the interest received already confirms that this race attracts the strongest young racers from around the world. Especially considering that winning the “Baby Giro” often serves as a launch pad straight into professional cycling,” as has been the case for the winners of the past three seasons: Russians Pavel Sivakov and Alexandr Vlasov and Colombia’s Camilo Ardila.
In addition to Urbino and Mortirolo, the Giro d’Italia Under 23 will include other potentially decisive stages, such as 25 km time trial from Sorbolo Mezzani to Guastalla, the uphill climbs in Bolca, Passo Vezzena, Monte Spluga (at almost 2,000m above sea level) and, for the first time, the Salita del Menador. The race totals 1,290 km and is spread over 10 stages.
“This is one of the most difficult races in the world, the strongest youngsters come to race here, those who will be our cycling future,” added Cassani, who pointed out that the results of recent years’ hard work were demonstrated in 2019 with various successes, including Samuele Battistella in the Road World Championships, Alberto Dainese at the European Championships, and Giovanni Aleotti’s second place in the Tour de l’Avenir.
In addition to the Maglia Rosa, four more jerseys will be assigned: Red for points, Green for the king of the mountains, Blue for the Intergiro classification and Combinata Pirelli for combined points.
Enel has supported the Giro Under 23 since 2017, the year of its revival, as part of a now long-standing partnership with Italy’s great cycling event, including sponsoring the Maglia Rosa in the Giro d’Italia and other classics like the Milan-Sanremo and the Giro di Lombardia which marks the conclusion of the season in October. “We are strongly linked to this sport and this competition by the values we share: the relationship with the local area, innovation and sustainability,” explained Augusto Raggi, Head of Macro Area North West for Enel Mercato Italia, at the presentation. The competition, which gets bigger every year, is today an organisational machine that manages a crew of about 550 people, preparing sponsor villages at the start and finish lines of every stage, a community with over 6 million advertising ‘impressions’, television coverage broadcast to 19 countries and the implementation of safety checks along the route of approximately 1,200 km in order to allow the race to proceed.
The Giro d’Italia Giovani Under 23 Enel is getting bigger and better with each year.