The route of the 2023 Giro d’Italia was unveiled and here’s a closer stage-by-stage look.
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.
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 70 from the last climb to the finish to regroup.
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.
A mid-mountain stage on some familiar roads, the Molella-Laceno finish has been 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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A TT after the rest day and 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. The third time trial on Stage 20 is similar too, even if it’s uphill.
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.
The longest stage. After the coast it’s inland and via a series of steady climbs to Tortona.
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.
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.
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.
A mini Lombardia with the Valcava and Selvino climbs before the finish in Bergamo.
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%.
Time to swap the strudel and hearty stews for a gelato on the coast with this sprint interlude out of the mountains.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.