BURY star Simon Yates has confirmed his intention to race the Giro d’Italia this season after race organisers unveiled a favourable route.

The Italian Grand Tour in May will include six mountain-top finishes and only 38.4 kilometres of time trials, a balance which has offered encouragement to the 2018 Vuelta a Espana winner.

“The 2021 Giro route looks really nice, there’s a good mix of stages and there’s even some gravel roads thrown in for good measure,” Yates said.

“As always with the Giro, the final week looks hard and with only a small amount of time trial kilometres I think that is where the race will be decided.”

The 28-year-old was waiting for Wednesday’s route announcement to finalise his plans to target the Giro before racing at the Tour de France in the build-up to the Olympics.

Yates has unfinished business at the Giro, a race he led for 13 days in 2018 before Chris Froome stormed to a remarkable victory.

The Team BikeExchange rider targeted the race again in 2019, finishing eighth, while last year’s attempt was ended prematurely when he tested positive for coronavirus in the opening week.

“The last two or three years haven’t gone as I would have hoped with a combination of bad luck and some mistakes along the way,” Yates added.

“All I hope for is to have a clean run in 2021 without these things and that I can show myself in the best way possible.”

With the Giro route also including 34km of gravel roads on a stage to Montalcino in Tuscany, Yates said he will begin his season on March 6 at Strade Bianche.

Team BikeExchange head sport director Matt White said: "It’s a well-balanced Giro route.

“We have a real variety of stages with the epic white roads of Tuscany, some tricky hilltop finishes on dirt and of course the historic, brutal climbs of Northern Italy in the last week.

“The low time trial kilometres are certainly an advantage for the pure climbers, but the rider that wins the 2021 Giro d’Italia will have to be a complete all-round athlete.”