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Giro d'Italia 2023 Giro d'Italia, Stage 13: Borgofranco d’Ivrea – Crans Montana, 199 km (Friday, May 19th)

From @Eshnar's excellent 2023 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-stage Analysis thread: https://forum.cyclingnews.com/threads/2023-giro-ditalia-stage-by-stage-analysis.38851/post-2828624

Stage 13: Borgofranco d’Ivrea – Crans Montana, 199 km

Friday, May 19th, 11:00 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The first 5-star mountain stage of this edition is a majestic one through the Alps and the Swiss border, leaving Italy for a stage that is well worth it. It starts just outside the Aosta Valley, which the riders will quickly enter and traverse for 67 kms, up to Aosta itself. Unlike the last few times we have been here, the route will avoid any and all climbs on the sides of the valley, and the only things of note in this first section will be the minor ramp of Saint Vincent (roughly 4 km at 5%) and the intermediate sprint of Nus. From Aosta, however, the first climb of the day starts, and not just a random one, but the Cima Coppi itself: the Gran San Bernardo (CC, 34 km at 5.5%), with its 2469m above sea level, is the highest point of this edition, and the first of six climbs above 2000m for this year. Just like the breed of dogs that was born right there, at the hospice at the top of the pass that today marks the border between Italy and Switzerland, this climb is somewhat of a gentle giant, extremely long and with decent ramps but without anything too steep. Even so, its final 10 kms have a very respectable average of 7.5%, and considering the high altitude this climb has the potential to do a lot of damage. The top, however, is still at 111 km to go, all on Swiss territory. The descent is long just like the climb but it is quite straightforward, ending at 80 km to go, right at the foot of the next climb, a new one in pro cycling: Croix de Coeur (GPM1, 15.4 km at 8.8%). Well, this climb is not totally new, as its first 8.5 km at 7.9% are just the usual road to Verbier (that hosts the second intermediate sprint of the day), but its second part is, which features 7 km at 9.8%. All in all, a colossal climb that is without a doubt the key point of this stage and might be one of the key points of the whole race. The top is at 59 km to go. Its descent is another key point: it is very long (over 22 km), steep and pretty technical. It ends at the bottom of the Rhone Valley, at 37 km to go. From here, the riders will face just under 23 km of flat along the valley to reach the foot of the final climb. Crans Montana (GPM1, 13.1 km at 7,2%) is not a new climb per se but the road is different and a bit steeper than the usual one. Though it pales in comparison to the other two climbs of this stage, it is still a hard one, with consistent gradients all the way to the top, where it gets more irregular in the final km. A solid climb to cap off a really promising stage.


The Climbs:

Gran San Bernardo
: Cima Coppi, 34 km at 5.5%

Last climbed in the Giro 2006, it is a huge climb that marks the border between Italy and Switzerland. Besides the altitude that makes it a deserving Cima Coppi, its final part is also challenging in terms of gradients. It is hard to think GC guys will do anything here, but even just a decent pace will do a lot of damage. And, of course, the breakaway will battle it out to win the GPM.


Croix De Coeur: GPM1, 15.4 km at 8.8%

By far the biggest surprise of this route, a climb that I did not even know was completely surfaced, let alone raceable in a GT. The Croix de Coeur, a continuation of the climb to Verbier, is arguably the hardest pass of this edition. Both its ascent and its descent will be important.


Crans Montana: GPM1, 13.1 km at 7,2%

A first in the Giro, Crans Montana has already featured in the Tour de Suisse multiple times. It does not have crazy ramps or length, but it is still tough, especially after a stage like this one.


What to Expect:

I can’t deny that this is the stage I am most hyped about. Yes, I know, there are those 23 flat km. Not ideal, obviously. However, I can remember quite a few stages similar to this that delivered great racing: Stelvio ’12, Risoul ’16, Jafferau ’18… But maybe it is too early in the race for that kind of action, who knows. Of course, I do not expect an 80 km long solo from anyone, but at the very least I do expect a huge selection and very small groups arriving at the start of the flat section, which in this scenario might even add to the interest. Tomorrow should have no GC implications so there is no excuse.


Napoleon leading the peloton on the Gran San Bernardo, Giro 1800
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I'm.... worried for a very big group over Croix de Coeur cause I don't see who is gonna drill it with what domestiques. I'm inclined to think Jumbo will be more likely to set up a 4-5 man train on Crans Montana and have Roglic attack at something mid like 4-5 km to go.

I feel it looks kinda weirdly like an AdH stage but then CdC is much harder than Glandons or whatever, so maybe it's more like Col de La Loze if they finish in Meribel.
Amateur hour. Shameful by both RCS and the local authorities if it's pulled.

As far as the stage is concerned, it's not a great route for the breakaway tbh, so I'll go with Roglic taking the stage and with it, the pink. Probably small gaps between the best 5 or so climbers and then, assuming CdC is actually raced, big gaps behind them.