2013 Giro d’Italia Route Analysis

Giro d'Italia plan

The route of the 2013 Giro has been unveiled. Like the Tour de France, information about the race leaks out ahead of the presentation but today’s the chance to take the individual stages and stitch them together into a three week story.

The route is classic but non-standard. Classic in that it loops south and mixes climbing with sprints, classic with the usual Alpine finale. But different because it features a giant 55km solo time trial at the end of the week, different because the average stage lengh is shorter.

This year’s edition will start in the bustling city of Naples with a circuit race around the city and by the sea front. Famous for its bay and its dormant volcano, it is also the home of excellent food and some fine roads. It’s also infamous but the Giro will steer well clear of places like Scampia. Then the next day sees a trip to the island of Ischia for a team time trial followed by a return to the mainland for a start on the tourist hotspot that is the Amalfi coast with two climbs before a descent to the finish. By Tuesday we get the first “summit” finish as the race explores the toe cap of the boot of Italy with the Croce Ferrata but the climb is followed by a short descent and is the kind of finish you’d back Philippe Gilbert or Rigoberto Uran.

As the chart shows we then get a procession of stages including some climbing for stage 7 before the crucial Stage 8, a 55km time trial that seems designed to attract the likes of Ryder Hesjedal, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Cadel Evans to the race because no matter what comes later in the race they can put molto time into the likes of Purito Rodriguez.

Stage 9 has a nod to the world championships in 2014 with the arrival in Florence, a capital of Italian art and cycling. It is followed by a rest day and a good transfer north.

Stage 10 in Friuli sees the start of the serious climbing with the goat path-style Passo Cason di Lanza and a finish at the Altopiano del Montasio, both with double-digit gradients and it’s here we’ll see the overall contenders emerge.

There are more sprint stages and it will be interesting to see who is there. Presumably Mark Cavendish will be there and we can imagine Astana, perhaps with Vicenzo Nibali but surely with Andrea Guardini and we’ll see if the Italo-Kazakh team can combine overall ambitions with sprinter support in what is almost their home tour.

On Stage 14 there’s the long climb to Sestriere before the race drops to the Val di Susa and the French border with an arrival in Bardonecchia, usually known for the giant road and railway tunnels that connect Italy with France. But now cyclists will know it for the uphill finish on the road to Jafferau which is unsurfaced beyond the ski lifts… but it’s possible the finish line is painted where the tarmac ends.

Stage 15 sees the race visit France. The Giro has done this before and Mont Cenis on the menu before the Col du Télégraphe and then the finish at the top of the Galibier. At 2,645 metres the race should count itself lucky if the road is open because normally it is not cleared of snow until the end of May. We can imagine RCS have a plan to hold the finish in the ski resort of Valloire in case the road is closed higher up.

Stage 18 is a mountain time trial. As we can see it is 19.5km long with a vertical gain of around 1,000m meaning it averages just 5% with the typical slope around 6%. This means it is not for the pure climbers but instead suits the big overall contenders who can both climb and time trial.

Stage 19 Giro

Stage 19 is just 138km but the vertical gain is the real story as it features the mighty Passo di Gavia and then the Passo di Stelvio, the 2013 Cima Coppi, before a summit finish to Val Martello. This promises to be a tricky stage with attacks right from the start and those who can’t climb fast will battle at the back just to stay in the race.

Stage 20 Giro

The Giro’s “fight for pink” slogan makes you think of angry princesses, Stage 20 reminds us this is heavyweight contest. Five mountain passes and a high altitude summit finish make this one of the hardest days’ riding you can find in Europe.

Finally Stage 21 is a flat procession to Brescia where the race will end after five loops of the city, a last chance for the sprinters to celebrate.

The Verdict
If the route is unveiled there is still plenty more to discover. Will Monte Jafferau be surfaced next year? How will the Passo Cason di Lanza cope over winter? But these questions can be asked next spring.

For now we have a classic race that is packed with climbing thanks to seven uphill finishes which, with their short distances, give a feel of the Vuelta. But it’s balanced by a long time trial and a mountain time trial that’s not steep. Add on the team time trial and we have 92km against the clock. This suits the passista over the scalatore. The riders won’t enjoy some of the long transfers, apparently they will total 2,200km, a record. But these seem inevitable as the Giro aims to cover as much as the country as it can. In mitigation the riders might like the short stages, four hours instead of six.

Today’s presentation lined up a series of riders who soft-pedalled when it came to talking about their chances next year, it is too early to know who will be taking part. The route looks ideal for the likes of Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Cadel Evans or Bradley Wiggins whilst defending champion Ryder Hesjedal might need to tweak his time trialling to rival them. Riders like Joaquim Rodriguez, Michele Scarponi or Domenico Pozzovivo look better suited to stage wins, because even if these come with precious time bonuses, the 55km time trial will leave them floundering like a fish out of water.

But let’s not extrapolate too far. We should not try to nail down the 2013 race so early, it is better to imagine the roads of Italy as a blank page where a cast of characters will write their own history and determine their own destiny. If the route is now fixed, the only other certainty that for three weeks starting on 4 May 2013 we will watch one of the world’s greatest races.

May 4, Stage 1 — Napoli > Napoli, 156km
May 5, Stage 2 — Iscia > Forio, 17.4km (TTT)
May 6, Stage 3 — Sorrente > Marina di Ascea, 212km
May 7, Stage 4 — Policastro > Bussentino, 244km
May 8, Stage 5 — Cosenza > Matera, 199km
May 9, Stage 6 — Mola di Bari > Margherita di Savoia, 154km
May 10, Stage 7 — San Salvio > Pescara, 162km
May 11, Stage 8 — Gabbicce Mare > Saltara, 55.5km (time trial)
May 12, Stage 9 — San Sepolcro > Firenze, 181 km
May 13, Rest Day
May 14, Stage 10 — Cordenons > Altopiano del Montasio, 167km
May 15, Stage 11 Tarvisio > Vajont, 184km
May 16, Stage 12 — Longarone > Treviso, 127km
May 17, Stage 13 — Busseto > Cherasco, 242km
May 18, Stage 14 — Cervere > Bardonecchia, 156km
May 19, Stage 15 — Cesana Torinese > Col du Galibier (France), 150km
May 20, Rest Day
May 21, Stage 16 — Valloire (France) > Ivrea, 237km
May 22, Stage 17 — Caravaggio > Vicenza, 203km
May 23, Stage 18 — Mori > Polsa, 19.5km (mountain time trial)
May 24, Stage 19 — Val Martello > Martelltal, 138km
May 25, Stage 20 — Silandro > Tre Cime di Lavaredo, 202km
May 26, Stage 21 — Riese Pio X > Brescia, 199km

25 thoughts on “2013 Giro d’Italia Route Analysis”

    • Interesting idea… but surely impossible? The route leaks out before, hotels must be booked. Remember the Giro is an important economic activity and many towns, ski resorts and more will want to promote the race as a highlight of the local sporting and cultural calendar. Being told to keep it secret would prevent this.

  1. This is a well timed announcement, just as autumn blues start to set on! It will be interesting to see who lines up. I doubt Contador, Evans, or Wiggins will undermine their Tour ambitions by going for the double. As a result, ,maybe this will be a grand tour for Nibali, Froome or a Ryder repeat?

    • Shawn – see cycling news where Bradley Wiggins’ coach Shane Sutton says he may target Giro / Vuelta next year to seal his place in the elite riders who have won all three GTs.

    • Opinions seem to vary on the double. People say it can be done and then when someone does it, the Giro becomes essential riding before the Tour. Apparently before he crashed out of the Tour Ryder Hesjedal was climbing faster than ever; doesn’t mean he could have done the double but it does mean he was fresh enough to do this.

    • Sincerely hope we see more riders trying to double up but expect it’s wishful thinking given the risks involved and how everything pales in comparison to the importance of the Tour. Here’s hoping though…

  2. I climbed to the Tre Cime Di Lavaredo with in a Toyota Yaris last july, and I had difficulty to make it. Yes, it’s that hard.
    Imagine on the bike after 200k, in the middle of a Grand Tour and after the Passo Giau and the Tre Crocci.
    But this place is so beautiful…

    • The Tour looks good too, although talk of lots of climbing needs to be tempered by two time trials and the traditional use of ski station finishes with relatively gentle gradients, not the 9%+ you get in the Giro or Vuelta.

      • Finished in Rome in 2009. Denis Menchov crashed on a straight (admittedly wet cobbles) in the last day time trial.

        I was living in Italy at the time and remember dozing through the last few finishers to be woken by the commentators screaming and seeing Menchov sliding on his arse. I think Breukink in the Rabobank team car was out and had a new bike off the roof before Menchov hit the floor! Possibly anticipating a typical display of Menchov’s bike-handling ‘skills’…

        Here it is on Youtube (the quality is bad but it does the job in recreating my memory!).

  3. I’d like to see Talansky do well in this Giro. He showed he can climb well when it’s not too steep at the Vuelta and he did a strong uphill TT in Romandie last year.
    An inform Gesink could do well here as well, this seems not too different than this years ToC where he held his own on the TT.

    • Yes, this looks like a great route for Talansky. Short stages, lots of ITT. Actually, he did well on steeper parts as well, even though he wasn’t expected to. Remeber Cueto Negro where he was 8th? He even attacked on Cauberg in the Worlds.

  4. Excellent preview, thanks! We’re working on our itinerary for the final week. Depending on lodging availability we’ll try to see the finish in Vicenza, possibly the chronoscalata and either the summit finish on Val Martello OR the next day on Tre Cime. There will be a lot of transfers for us too, but if you want to see La Corsa Rosa up close and personal some sacrifices must be made. One place we WON’T be sacrificing is the mangia bene, we’ll need that strength to make it up either of those tough climbs!

  5. This looks like a fantastic race. I hope it doesn’t become a battle of the Grinders though with Wiggins, Ryder and Cadel all giving it a go now Berto is back to mop up the Tour every year. Would be good to see a young French rider like Thibaut Pinot give it a go, I think he’ll be saved for the Tour though. What about Rein Taaramae? if he can keep up on the climbs he could be a shout for the top ten (if he goes).

  6. Great article, just found your site. Was researching Global Cycling Promotions SA and found The Inner Ring. Added to my favorites ! Wealth of insightful information and topics unreported by mainstream cycling media. Can’t wait for this years Giro and TdF.

  7. Don’t understand the excitement by some readers here. It’s a terrible route with ridicolously short mountain stages. A inrng rightly said, this looks more like a Vuelta. The heart and soul of the Giro always were long and hard mountain stages. These have been abandoned, which is a shame.

    The mountain stages are not only too short, but also badly planned. 20 km flat after the Stelvio? Ridiculous. Completely wastes Stelvio and Gavia.

    Worst Giro since 2004. I want Zomegnan back.

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