2023 Giro d’Italia Route

The route of the 2023 Giro d’Italia was unveiled and here’s a closer stage-by-stage look.

Stage 1

A 18km time trial to open, it’s on the Adriatic coast and along a ciclovia, but one wide enough for a following car. With the maglia rosa up for grabs it’s a big invitation to Filippo Ganna.

Stage 2

A stage for the sprinters but it’ll suit those who can manage the sharp climbs, this borrows some of the spiky hilltop ramps from typical Tirreno-Adriatico stages. The climb to Chieti isn’t even rated but it’s hard. There’s 70km from the last climb to the finish to regroup.

Stage 3

A stage where you probably don’t need to tune in early, the action comes on the flanks of Monte Vulture, an extinct volcano. That said, who will control the stage? The sprinters’ teams won’t and the GC teams won’t rush either.

Stage 4

A mid-mountain stage on some familiar roads, the Molella-Laceno finish has been used a couple of times in recent years. As a finish it’s where Domenico Pozzovivo got his stage win in 2012 and the Colle Molella is a selective 4km at 10%.

Stage 5

A good day for a breakaway but given the few chances for the sprinters this year and the flat finish that awaits, several teams will try to set up their sprinters for the win.

Stage 6

The race goes back to Naples and another start and finish. This time the course is like a tourist day-trip via Vesuvius out to the Amalfi coast and then back.

Stage 7

Very similar to the 2018 stage won by Simon Yates. There’s the climb of Roccaraso which has featured several times in recent years and then the big summit finish of the Gran Sasso d’Italia, literally “The Big Stone of Italy”. The were only seconds between the big names in 2018 but the order proved instructive.

Stage 8

An intriguing stage. It’s 140km to the scenic gorge of the Gola del Furlo and after this, the scenery will give way to sport with the climbs around Fossombrone. The climb of I Cappucini is an awkward backroad that’s steep, the next climb hard and then it’s Cappucini again. It’s harder than it looks.

Stage 9

A TT before the rest day. It’s so flat the hardest part could be a bridge over the autostrada. If this year’s race has 70km of time trials in total, there’s nothing technical. The opener and this course are flat and with few corners, there aren’t too many places to brake and accelerate, it’s more about reaching a top cruising speed and holding it.

Stage 10

The race crosses the Apennine mountains to ride into Tuscany. The Passo delle Radici isn’t steep but it’s up and up for a long way and a chance for some sprinters’ teams to eject heavyset riders.

Stage 11

The longest stage. After the coast it’s inland and via a series of steady climbs to Tortona.

Stage 12

The first Alpine stage but after passing the Alba vineyards, most of the route is on the flat Po plains. The Colle Braida doesn’t look like much but it’s over 10km at 6.8% and includes a descent along the way, the top part is hard and selective as it passes the hilltop abbey of the Sacra di San Michele before a fast descent to Rivoli, a town on the edge of Turin. It’s reminiscent of 2019’s Stage 12 via the Montoso climb to Pinerolo.

Stage 13

A big day in the mountains to Switzerland via the giant Col du Grand Saint-Bernard. Tackling a 2,469 metre pass in May is ambitious – the pass has just closed for the long winter – if the weather helps. If not there’s a tunnel that allows the race to stay below 2,000m as a potential back-up plan. Once in Switzerland riders will feel the difference thanks to the tarmac although the first they’ll feel is the chill via the long descent. The Croix de Coeur which is the hairpins to the ski resort of Verbier with a “new” road on top, followed by a perilous descent to the Rhone valley and then the Crans Montana ski station summit finish.

Stage 14

Back to Italy via the Simplon Pass, a big transport artery used by trucks and so no sprinters should find it too hard before a long ride down the valley via some of Filippo Ganna’s training roads.

Stage 15

A mini Lombardia with the Valcava and Selvino climbs before the finish in Bergamo.

Stage 16

Monte Bondone is the famous climb on a stage with over 5,000 of vertical gain.  This is a decisive stage with successive climbs. This time Bondone is tackled on the eastern side from Aldeno and it’s a gradual ascent at first before the final 10km offer plenty of 8-10%.

Stage 17

Time to swap the strudel and hearty stews for a gelato on the coast with this sprint interlude out of the mountains.

Stage 18

A big day in the Dolomites including the climb to Coi, never used in the Giro before with 4km at over 10%. On paper it doesn’t look as hard but all we know is on paper as the Giro’s not used this finish before, at some point maps will have be swapped for a visit.

Stage 19

Crans Montana and Monte Bondone can both make a good case they’re hosting the biggest stage of the Giro because they’re longer and have more climbing. But there’s plenty about this stage that makes it more compelling. The saw blade profile at first glance, the regular incursions beyond 2,000m, and then the names, an aristocracy of Dolomite ascents with the Valparolo, Giau and the Tre Croci approach to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a famous place in the Giro but used sparingly, the last time was 2013 when Vincenzo Nibali won the stage wearing the maglia rosa on his way to the win.

Stage 20

A mountain time trial, back in the Giro for the first time since 2016 when cosmonaut Alexander Foliforov won the day. Monte Lussari is a new climb, little more than a mule path but it’s going to paved in time for the race. There’s a flat section which will have managers exploring bike change options before the steep climb which is also worthy of a specialist bike. If the sun’s shining it’ll be scenic, all forest and a hilltop village.

Stage 21

A final stage around Rome. It’s great that a grand tour visits the national capital, important even. But given the route passes close to Rome earlier it feels odd to stick on the 700km transfer. It’s perhaps less a test for riders and more for the city of Rome, the last visit saw the final stage altered and partially neutralised after the course was in a poor state.

The Verdict
Plenty of mountains, plenty of time trials. A reported 51,000m of vertical gain puts the 2023 Giro route close to the average for the past 10 years. It’s the inclusion of 70km of time trials that marks the change, compared to 27km last year and 39km the previous year and they’re not too technical. This is a return to normal, at least when measured by the conventions of the past decade. It even borrows a lot of recent roads so there’s less to recon whether for bloggers or teams, although Stage 18 and the Zoldo valley looks like it needs a closer look.

The flat time trials will make life much harder for this year’s winner Jai Hindley. It’s said to be a bid to attract Remco Evenepoel, he’ll like the three time trials but will spectators flock to the Giro if he’s running away with the race given what we saw from the Vuelta? It’ll rely on him finding the mountains harder, the course is a certainly step up from the Vuelta with tougher climbs backloaded into the third week and some awkward descents to keep testing him but many of the climbs are steady ski roads although their length makes things harder for Quick-Step, their riders can do 20 minute climbs very well but 40 minutes and more is for the specialist, premium lieutenants.

The time trials are also a pull for Filippo Ganna, a superstar of Italian cycling. Primož Roglič might fancy this too but it’s too early to know who is riding, the Tour de France route is unveiled next week and teams can plan once they’ve seen that.

The organisers say there are eight stages for the sprinters but it’s hard to see eight sprints because of the hills in the way and bulkier sprinters might skip the race.

40 thoughts on “2023 Giro d’Italia Route”

  1. For this old timer it’s pleasing to see six stages over 200kms and several more very close to that. No Mickey Mouse stages either. If Evenepoel can be found out on a long GT with multiple hard climbs this Giro should do it.

    • It’ll be an interesting test for him and his team. They’ll have some riders like Cattaneo, Knox, Cerny, Vervaeke, Serry and new recruit Hirt in support. And then a very different team for other races with Jakobsen, Alaphilippe etc.

  2. Thanks for the preview and the quick posting – chapeau! (I assume from your comments you’ll be taking a look at stage 18 in person. Having a look on Google maps it seems a tough finish. Love “cosmonaut Alexander Foliforov” – ha ha ha!)
    Apart from the lap around Napoli (which is still longer then most Tour mountain stages and should have been a great weekend stage to get the crowds) at 150 km this is thankfully absent any silly “experimental” stages.
    Will the route tempt Remco? Well, if the Tour carries on with sub 150 km stages and puts in 3 TT’s of reasonable length then I’d say Remco would do better there in July. Also what kind of support he’ll have is a big question.

  3. I find the medium mountain stages produce the best racing. The huge days scare riders into follow follow until the last climb which is quite dull. The real point of interest is who takes part – if Roglic does is that saying goodbye to TdF dream?

    • Interesting dilemma for Roglič and Jumbo-Visma. He was instrumental in helping Vingegaard win last summer with his attacks on the Télégraphe and Galibier so could fulfil this role again and if he did, the team could still bring a decent squad to the Giro but a win or the podium is harder. They’ve hired Kelderman for next year who could be support in July or go for the podium in May.

      • Funny that the already legendary TDF stage is also a good point to prove wrong the theory by Derek above (and many others, now nearly a commonplace or idée reçue, only partly based on facts but mainly a narrative spread by interested parties)… about huge mountain days not delivering. That was huge enough.
        Not a sure bet, of course, but OTOH also mid mountain stages can fail to deliver, as well.
        I love both and we can have both if the course is balanced and seeks variety.

  4. “The opener and this course are flat and with few corners, there aren’t too many places to brake and accelerate, it’s more about reaching a top cruising speed and holding it. The third time trial on Stage 20 is similar too, even if it’s uphill”.
    I wouldn’t say that the last uphill TT is that similar at all to the two previous one. The flattish first third (in terms of effort time, some 10-15′) which indeed runs mainly in the valley along an highway will then switch for 25-30′ to hellish walls averaging 14% switchback after switchback on a narrow (unless they widen it) eco-concrete trail among thick woods. As a term of comparison, the 2020 Planche ITT had 40′ of flatter roads before the final uphill 15-20′.
    Although the broad definition of “reaching the top speed you can hold (according to the terrain)” applies to pretty much every TT of sort, the last one might not be exactly the case, even, because the flattish part is long enough, and the change radical enough, as to make some strategy or effort managing more useful than elsewhere.

  5. “It’s said to be a bid to attract Remco Evenepoel, he’ll like the three time trials but will spectators flock to the Giro if he’s running away with the race”

    Depending on how the race is raced and how much Remco can gather local love (not necessarily coming across as nice, funny or friendly), well, spectators might love it just as they loved, say, Contador, Bernal or Dumoulin winning with apparent superiority. Of course, there’s also probably the need of at least one rival of sort, not just Remco dominating and then collapsing by himself in some tappone.

  6. The actual number of sprint stages will depend a lot on a mix of contextual factors.

    For sure, if at least a couple of motivated teams will bring a solid sprinter and race for him, there are lots of chances to be grabbed – but it also depends on the characteristics of the specific sprinter in question. As an extreme example, Lotto Jumbo could bring down to a big group sprint (not full peloton, perhaps) at least 8 stages for Van Aert, if they wanted. It’s probably going to turn into arm wrestling of motivations and energies to decide if it’s a sprint or for the break. Imagine that on stage 2 a superior sprinter stands out (being stage 2, I suspect that many will successfully try to come back – if they are even dropped – along the 74 kms before the finish, more than one and half a hour of racing), now keeping the race for his team might be even harder than defending a maglia rosa, given the Campania stages. Instead, if on stage 3 two or three resistant sprinters make it to the finish, all of their teams migh become interested in killing the breaks. It’s an interesting setting, indeed.

    OTOH, I think they exaggerated with the pattern “hard first part of the stage, then flat or flattish final hour (at least)”. Some *five* stages are like that!
    Ok, the chase by the teams of dropped sprinters were among the best things of last Giro, and ok, again, the first hours of several stages on rugged terrain with the fight to make the break were also among those. But that was partly due to the otherwise general lack of “great things” in the 2022 Giro… or we’d probably have already forgotten all the above (in case we even watched it).
    Are RCS really believing they can breed a generation of gourmet lunch-time fans who tune in massively to watch this sort of subtleties of pro cycling? Well, maybe it’s a good idea, that’s when people have a break at their job and might watch on their phone, dunno.
    Yet, I’m afraid this will mostly mean that the big viewing figures who really come in for the last hour and so of racing will have spectators dealing with an already settled general situation, a reduced break playing it out on a relatively dull terrain, with the peloton strolling around far back (no “two stages in one”, either, because there won’t be any further interest to race harder in the big group), or a sprint which at that point might look a bit too sure – miscalculations happen, but when you have as many totally flat kms as 70 (San Salvo), 50 (Salerno), 60 (Napoli), 85 (Viareggio), 140 (Cassano Magnago)… well, as a team you normally pull for the sprint only as long as you fell confident you’ll get it.
    I am not implying they’ll all *necessarily* end up in bunch sprints, or 40-men sprints, since that as I explained above contextual strategies will come into play – what I mean is that the situation will be set and the decisions will have already been taken before the last 45-60 minutes, which are those most watched. Add to that the fact that even two different sort of stages like Rivoli and Tortona really offer 30 to 45 flat kms towards the finish line and we risk to get way less nail-biter stage finales than it would be desirable for the general public. Perhaps a couple of breath-taking emotional finales when the bunch and the break happen to fight it out in the very last km, but will it happen that often on this terrain? Taco’s feat could be seen coming… not by him, or precisely that way, but *that* finale was a promising one.

    Yeah, who knows, maybe nationalism will work wonders if it’s going to be a Nizzolo-Trentin-Viviani festival, it’s the sort of course they thrived on during their best seasons, but are those seasons coming back next year (and would they win anything again say Matthews, any of the two Vans, Girmay)? Or are they counting on Milan and Consonni? Bagioli and Ballerini would be good options, but they are not that compatible with a Remco bid for pink.
    Maybe it’s precisely the desire to live again and again another highlight of 2022, the rivalry between van der Poel and Girmay, but it’s to be seen if it happens again. And, anyway, that was great on well-designed, complicated finales like Napoli or the Marche. I’m not sure that’s equally compelling if they just win a reduced sprint of a group which has been cruising to the line on flat terrain for one hour or more.

    Last but not least, maybe that’s just a way to help small Italian wild card teams, probably this sort of stages is their only chance to get a random win of sort. This pattern will foster breakaways, and the finales not being selective at all will just distribute some winning option, be them very little, to everybody up there.

    All in all, I’m not convinced. Relative lack of variety never is a good idea.

    It must be said that it’s a relatively minor flaw in a Giro which has got back again a very good classic course of sort. In fact, the kind of stages described above might generate the sort of situations which were very common at the TDF between late 90s (and before) then through most of the Armstrong era. Not that I liked them or that I’ve got any nostalgy of Leblanc and so, but for some reason part of the public still was able to like that, so, who knows…

    • It’s not possible of course but ideally some of the “sprint” stages could be reversed, a flatter start and then some hills to sow more doubt about the finish.

      On the nationalism point, I imagine many people watch on Eurosport/GCN so they don’t get the local aspect but watch host broadcaster RAI they really need some home riders to be doing well, so Ganna in pink would do very nicely. Now it’s not because they think Italians are better or deserve to win, it’s not that kind of nationalism; instead think of a wedding where some of the family haven’t shown up, it’s awkward as they explain Ganna will ride the Tour. Having locals in the mix does bring audiences and also crowds to the road. TV interviews with foreign riders are a bit “tell me, do you like the Giro?” and “what do you think of Italy” via an interpreter, but with Italian-speakers they can get straight down to discussing the day’s sport.

      • Of course, I agree. As I stated above most fans appreciate athletes irrespective of nationality, yet one of the most effective variables to forecast viewing figure is local success. Personally, I believe that the best combination might have been some 25-30 kms of slightly hilly or rugged terrain right to the finale, or a hard but short uphill effort followed by a shorter easy stint to the line, say 5 kms descent + 10 kms on the flat. Not for each and every stage of those five, just changing format for 2-3 of them. Which also would create tension and options for GC without really having a huge impact on it.

    • Actual amount of sprints will depend on the participants indeed. The best sprinters would normally save themselves for the Tour so the team’s second sprinter would come.

      – Quickstep has Merlier and Jakobsen, but I dont think they will bring a sprinter to fully focus on Remco.
      – AG2R, Astana, BikeExchange, DSM (Dainese/Welsford???), EF, Movistar (Kanter), Total, Trek and Emirates (?) also wouldnt work for a bunch sprint.

      But there are 11 teams that might want a bunch sprint and work for it:
      – Israel might bring Nizzolo if they dont get an invite for the Tour.
      – Lotto might bring De Lie if Ewan does the Tour. All their Giro would probably be about sprints and time trial for Campenaerts, so they would be the hard workers.
      – Alpecin might work for Groves.
      – Bahrain might work for local sprinter Jonathan Milan or Bauhaus.
      – Bora for Jordi Meeus.
      – Cofidis might work for Cimolai, Consonni or Allegaert (Coquard to TdF)
      – Groupama for Stewart
      – Ineos for Viviani or Swift. I could see them not sending Viviani to TdF.
      – Intermarche might bring Thijsen, Teunissen or Herregodts, with Girmay for TdF
      – Jumbo might bring Kooij
      – Arkea has Hofstetter, Bouhanni, McLay and can send one of the three.

      Most of those teams might work the first stages, but if someone dominates, the other teams might try breakaways indeed and at least not work.

      I think a lot of these sprinters will stop on stage 18 or some might even quit earlier by the way.

      • This is indeed a sad example of the “new normal”, and the modest level of current sprinters. Top sprinters could typically do two GTs, even a limited cyclist like Kittel, or a multi-discipline athlete like Viviani, not to speak of bigs like Cav, Greipel, Petacchi; sometimes even three, and the Giro-Tour double never was much of problem for the category – obviously enough. Of course, there have always been sprinters who’d only race the TDF, but it was often down to calendar and training peak troubles… as in that they were doing a serious Classics season. Imagine that.
        However, I’d also say that in recent seasons, more or less since 2018, it was far from clear that the prime sprinting field was to be found at the TDF as a clear superior option against the Giro. Maybe also because it became less clear given the modest general level whom actually could be deemed a very top sprinter, or because TDF GC options was seen as requiring a full team effort (especially with the reduced teams).

    • I think they just want to avoid the classic TdF stages where nothing happens before the sprint, to show that the Giro is always exciting and a race for tifosi. But as you say, not sure it will work. Also they don’t think they can attract a lot of the best sprinters (and as you point out there isn’t so many of them right now), so better try anything… If you add the fact that there is not one very good italian sprinter (Dainese maybe ?), there is more chance of an italian victory in breakaways. And a victory played in the breakaway is very often more exciting than a bunch sprint, you can always wonder who will attack, and when, etc. (think of the stage with Cavagna and Bettiol, was it last year ?)
      But apart from this it’s true that you can really wonder why the Simplon is here… The course looks though very promising, and the stage 19 for example is the reason why everybody loves il Giro. Can’t wait to be in May.
      Did Pogacar already speak about doing the Giro one day ?

  7. + Several *exceptionally good* mountain stages especially in the last week (but also the Suisse one)
    + Serious endurance, both in stage length and climb duration
    + Flat ITTs are back where they should
    + High altitude
    + Some interesting “mixed terrain” stages (Lago Laceno, Fossombrone, Bergamo)

    – technically, a very weak second week (Friday an exception; maybe Sunday too, but that’s to be seen, it could be a break + no contest, although it would be a disappointment because GC men must risk having options to rest both the day after and the following one)
    – too many more or less hilly stages entail no selective route for too long a final phase (see above)
    – excess of uphill finales in hard mountain stages: *all* of them!
    – not optimal stage distribution in the last week (minor complaint)
    – more mixed terrain, tricky stage would have been good, and perhaps a bit harder too.

    However, for me that’s a serious route. Not a vintage one like 2013, 2015, 2016 or 2020, perhaps, and I think that 2019 and even 2021 might beat it by an inch, too (2013 and 2021 as it was originally designed), though it’s the same level, while it’s better than 2014, 2017 and 2018, not to speak of 2012 or 2022 (obviously the route and the actual race as it’s eventually raced are two very different beasts).
    Speaking of 2021, let’s hope that it doesn’t rain, or we won’t race much of all that high-altitude beauty with Vegni still around…

  8. “Are RCS really believing they can breed a generation of gourmet lunch-time fans who tune in massively to watch this sort of subtleties of pro cycling? Well, maybe it’s a good idea, that’s when people have a break at their job and might watch on their phone, dunno.”
    I say there are already plenty of us…so welcome to the club to a new generation! I’m already marking up my 2023 calendar – W Il Giro!

    • Me too, of course, which is why I know that those parts of the race were so good last year… which sadly didn’t prevent what followed to be too dull more often than not, leading to a massive loss of spectators and one of the worst results in Italian audience history for the Giro. Which ain’t no good for anyone, including the Giro itself.

      • I wonder how much of the “worst results in Italian audience history for the Giro” was the result of IMHO the truly awful TV coverage provided by EMG vs RAI? Sadly the 2023 presentation seemed to be run (ruined?) by them as well with the RAI commentary team relegated to the fringes, often talking over the presenters. Not that the presenters were anything special – this show goes down as one of the worst I’ve ever seen! It doesn’t take much to get me excited about La Corsa Rosa as regular readers here well know…but this show was truly awful. These media oligarchs should stay in the background counting their money and leave the TV show to RAI…or even (heaven forbid) Italia1 who showed it the last time there was a big feud between RCS and RAI, back in the early Pantani era. I suspect I’ll be watching a lot more Eurosport, but sadly that doesn’t improve the video or post-race interviews provided by EMG.

        • EMG do the filming but RAI still have their presenters etc.

          The presentation wasn’t great. Each year they invite riders and then there’s an awkward moment when they’re asked a question and it goes wrong (they should script/rehearse it), this time it was asking Démare which stage he liked, him replying “Roma” in a French accent… which they couldn’t understand. Then comes the question to another rider about riding but they can’t answer because they don’t know, although Hindley said this time he’d like to. Above all they seem to forget the race, the country, the landscapes should be the star, more so than the presenters on stage.

          But the presentation’s quickly forgotten and the more I see the route, the more convincing it looks. Nothing spectacular but a solid base, I think it’s like 2018 again in several ways with more TTs, just they they tried to invite Dumoulin. As ever the appearance fees can influence decisions too.

          • I suppose if you stream the Giro via Eurosport with the English commentary it all seems pretty much the same whether it’s RAI or EMG providing the images, etc?
            But for me (and plenty of Italians I’m guessing) it’s not. The RAI post-race Processo show has been ruined while the pre-race stuff is just as bad these daze. As much as I detest EMG it’s hard to make a case for RAI but I gotta wonder how much is self-inflicted vs a result of whatever polemics are going on between RCS and RAI? More than a few times I’ve been watching La Corsa Rosa with Italian friends via RAI TV broadcast while they activate Eurosport on their phone to listen to Gregorio and Magrini’s commentary, which I admit most of the time I prefer as well.
            Bottom line: I hate to see my favorite race damaged by polemics and incompetence when it comes to broadcasting, no matter who is to blame!

          • Everyone’s been complaining about Il Processo for years. It’s good because they get guests on the stage for live interviews but needs more analysis and production, nothing too technical but if there’s a sprint, explain how it was won etc. But I get the sense everyone is nostalgic for some past edition of it.

            Big test for the TV could the weather, it was mild and dry this year but the high mountains are back and we’ll see if the technology can cope as promised with any thick cloud cover.

          • The Processo was pretty good until they took De Stefano off and made her the boss of RAI Sport…that wasn’t that long ago. This year’s TV was so much better with EMG…because there was NO weather for them to deal with. But their director was awful as were the post-race interviewers. I knew the Giro was in trouble when some dolt piloting an EMG TV moto almost hit us head-on while driving up Etna. Please RCS/RAI…kiss and make up…you’ve done it before. The tifosi deserve better!

    • I had some prejudice of sort, like the guy winning among the worst Liège or Lombardia ever in terms of cycling entrtainment or attacks, pure Gerrans, Valverde or at the very most Purito style, now is he seriously complaining? But then not, the interview isn’t bad at all, really worth a read, and hints at a lot of serious questions which maybe he doesn’t totally delve into out of discretion and rightly so. I share his appreciation for Pogi, yet I have to wonder if he also noticed a couple of unknown riders whose surnames both end in “poel”. But also Roglic and Bernal have had more attacking days each than the whole Sky team until 2017 or so. Or Larry’s dearest Simon Yates at the 2018 Giro… I think that Contador and Nibali actually paved a way to race which had an impact on several riders, besides their personal attitudes or team orders. Sky, as well, generated some clones…
      Generally speaking, Martin makes some very good points, but I feel that he slightly fails when relating some innovations with racing style: passive, defensive, controlling or negative racing had already been there when he started his career, or before. And attacking racing is right now on a high. But he might be right when he speak of the way the new tools make cycling more exclusive or selective, and the point of longevity is relevant too. Perhaps we’re selecting a bunch of athletes – D. Martin speaks of the many gregari or support cast – out of discipline (as always, but more than before) rather than on talent, and that discipline might hinder health, physical or mental, as well as making people more expendable at expenses of longevity.

        • Didn’t mean it like WHAT? That there are too many robots out there controlled by what is yelled into their ears by a DS in a car via earpiece? Or that the robots are “fueled” rather than fed? Or that cycling’s become a job instead of something to be enjoyed? I admit I was never much of a fan of this guy, but I agree 100% with what he said in this article.

          • As inrng said, I think that hedidn’t mean it exactly like the *headline* goes: “Cycling is quite boring to watch”.

            Which is peculiar given his enthusiasm for Pogacar.
            Besides, he refers specifically to people not making mistakes anymore, but I’m not sure that it’s either true or has any correlation to entertainment.
            I’m not bored when somebody wins over the rest without anyone really having made a mistake of sort.
            And, anyway, lots of riders still make mistakes, not only Pogacar or Evenepoel, but also Roglic, Carapaz etc. By the way, one could also add Carapaz and Alaphilippe (and other on a minor scale) to the long list of attacking riders whose presence at the top of the game we’re enjoying while watching present-day cycling.

            Yes, some of the rest may sometimes race in what looks a dull way, but one should also wonder whether that’s more about their athletic margins against the very top competition. Pello Bilbao or Lutsenko are per se very much attacking riders, I think they’ve shown that several times, but of course when they hang on a GC place which is on the very peak (or beyond) of their physical capabilities, struggling for dear life, you can’t expect much fireworks from them. Same for, say, Higuita or Vlasov or Miguel Ángel López, all them riders who on their days have given examples of daring and attacking riding style, but if they found themselves on the back foot in terms of mere physical performance, it would be a little silly to ask them a Rolland kamikaze attack of sort and call that “entertainment”.
            G. Martin, Gaudu are attacking riders, only they might be a step below the rest athletically. What about Carlos Rodríguez or Ayuso? Arensman, O’Connor, Almeida, it’s always aggressive riding and surely few hints of any robot style…

            I’d say that it’s faster to name those who could be “accused” of a duller or more defensive riding style, uhmmm, Meintjes, G. Thomas, Buchmann, Mas, Adam Yates, Kelderman uhmmm anyone else in the recent top-10 of any Grand Tour? Would anyone seriously say that this small minority of riders are those who shape present-day cycling or better represent it?

            That said, all the rest you highlight might well be true, and I believe it is, but we should be able to differentiate things and properly correlate them.

            Vingegaard looks quite much a robot rider of sort but the way he won last TDF was far from boring. Pogacar is a one-man show of a rider, but his first TDF victory was boring barring one stage… Jumbo and Roglic’s fault of course. Yet, Roglic’s Vuelta were often entertaining, especially the third one, and precisely Roglic (and Jumbo) brought the only spark of animation in the otherwise sleepy 2018 Tour. So I’d say that more often than not this sort of discourse applied to very recent cycling is essentially generalisation and oversimplification, or simply wrong.

            If we look back at D. Martin’s career span, it’s hard to say that things became “more boring to watch” with this very last generation than TDF 2005, 2006*, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016 or 2017… not to speak of Vuelta (the Giro has indeed fewer and sparser boring editions). Classics also are now growing great to watch again after a handful mediocre years of transition once the Bettini, Boonen, Cancellara retired (and Gilbert went declining). For the viewer, little or nothing is not to like.
            Again, this doesn’t mean that he isn’t right about what’s happening to athletes within the sport, where he is surely more spot on, even if for different reasons it’s not like “back then” all people were having much fun at USPS, Kelme, Telekom or ONCE, PDM… Palazzago, even.

          • The guardian (like many papers) has a strong inclination to writing inflammatory headlines that serve as a totally inaccurate reflection of the story. It’s a common disease that sub-editors seem to have.

  9. Thanks for the great preview!! At first glance, looks like a decent route. Personally I’m hoping Roglic has a crack, I think having a year away from the Tour, or at least not having the Tour as number one goal would be good.

  10. “Alexander Foliforov”. I had to google search this rider who won an uphill TT in a GT not that long ago. Because i had never heard of him. Apparently the only notable result he ever had. Must had gotten good odds from the bookmakers that day. Perhaps he had idea he might overperform and bet on himself.

    • It was a big surprise at the time, he was outclimbing Kruijswijk on the day and hadn’t done much before to suggest this, nor much after although his results uphill at times were good in places. He retired soon after, no news of what he’s up to these days.

      • And don’t forget his fellow “cosmonaut” Sergey Firsanov came in 4th beating a host of climbers – both must have had the ol’ rocket fuel for breakfast!

  11. “Stage 18 and the Zoldo valley looks like it needs a closer look”
    I can see that the route from Forno di Zoldo to Coi is retracing a small part of the route of Stage 16 of the 2004 Giro that Damiano Cunego won. I only remember as I followed that stage the following year on my first ride in the Dolomites.

    • As a curiosity, some user of an Italian forum (cicloweb) observed how alike the Zoldo stage and TDF’s Peyragudes via Bales and Peyresourde are, especially if preceded by Menté 😉

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