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Giro d'Italia 2023 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-Stage Analysis

The Giro is back! And with it, my traditional route analysis.

The 2023 Giro is definitely a step in the right direction compared to the last two years: finally a good amount of flat ITT before the mountains, lots of road stages with a solid length, and three proper mountain stages, as well as a few other interesting ones. That said, it still has many issues, and some of them are painfully obvious: there is very little meaningful medium mountain, the high mountains always finish on a hard climb (though not always the hardest of the day), and the pacing between stages is often wrong, as many stages risk being wasted because of what follows them, with the most notable example being the queen stage, that happens to be followed by one of the dumbest MTTs in recent memory. That aside, I must commend the organizers for not violating any stage that was originally presented, as unlike recent editions all stages are pretty much exactly as they were announced, with only a few minor changes, the biggest being an additional climb on stage 15 and an easier circuit in Rome.

All in all, I have to say I’m pretty ok with this, although this route is a risky one. Fortunately, the field seems to be about the best they could have reasonably gathered, so hopefully it will make the route shine.

The Garibaldi (Official roadbook):

The stages:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

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Stage 1: Fossacesia Marina – Ortona 19.6 km ITT

Saturday, May 6th, 13:50 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The 2023 Giro starts with an interesting ITT, long (for stage 1 standards) and mostly flat along the Costa dei Trabocchi, on the Adriatic. Starting from Fossacesia Marina, the riders will just follow the coast for 16.8 kms, with no hills and less than a handful of curves in sight. This will end once they reach the second checkpoint, where the route turns inland to reach the hilltop town of Ortona (GPM4, 2.8 km at 2.3%). This climb consists of a ramp of 1.2 km at 5.4% before some false flat, first descending and then ascending again to the finish.


The Climbs:

: GPM4, 2.8 km at 2.3%

Not much to add to what I described in the overview. It will get timed, so it will determine the first blue jersey and someone might try to save their energy just for this.


What to Expect:

Pure power will be the deciding factor, as the route is mostly just a long exposed straight, and the final climb is not steep at all. Gaps might be quite consistent, especially if it is windy.


Stage 2: Teramo – San Salvo 201 km

Sunday, May 7th, 12:20 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The first road stage of the 2023 edition starts in Teramo, and begins with 45 km of rolling terrain, including an ascent of 5.8 km at 3.9% towards Bellante. This section ends with the peloton reaching the Adriatic coast, which they will follow for pretty much the rest of the stage, with only a few small deviations. The first of them leads to the first categorized climb of Silvi Paese (GPM4, 3.5 km at 5.2%), that is followed by another coastal section and the first intermediate sprint of Pescara. The second deviation brings to the intermediate sprint of Chieti (4.6 km at 6.3%), which is actually the toughest climb of the day despite being uncategorized. After this, the peloton will hit the last climb of this stage, Ripa Teatina (GPM4, 1.9 km at 5.7%), which tops at 72 km to go. The rest is all flat to the finish line in San Salvo, almost always along the coast.


The Climbs:

Silvi Paese
: GPM4, 3.5 km at 5.2%

Short and easy, good only to create some movement in the breakaway I suppose. No profile available.

Ripa Teatina: GPM4, 1.9 km at 5.7%

Just like the one above, only even shorter.

What to Expect:

Mass sprint. This is not a particularly windy coast, so don’t get your hopes up.


San Salvo
Stage 3: Vasto – Melfi 216 km

Monday, May 8th, 11:45 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

Stage 3 is a long and rather odd medium mountain stage. From Vasto, on the Adriatic coast, the peloton will ride along the sea for the first 50 km, before turning inland, always on flat and straight roads. In fact, for the first 173 km, the only thing of note will be the intermediate sprint of Foggia, at km 107. At 43 km to go, however, the riders will hit the first of two categorized climbs back to back: the first, Valico dei Laghi di Monticchio (GPM3, 6.3 km at 6.4%) is a pretty decent climb, with tough gradients all the way after a gentle start. At the top there is a very short descending false flat section that bring to the start of the second climb, the much shorter Valico La Croce (GPM4, 2.6 km at 7.6%). The top is at 29.5 km to go, all a long descending false flat on winding roads with very few properly descending sections, and a few ascending sections towards the end in Melfi.


The Climbs:

Valico dei Laghi di Monticchio
: GPM3, 6.3 km at 6.4%

The first serious climb of this Giro, it starts easy but then gets very hard in the middle, including a full km at 9.8% average. Official profile is below.

Valico La Croce: GPM4, 2.6 km at 7.6%

Short and regular at 7-8%. Combined with the previous climb, not bad at all.


What to Expect:

A reduced bunch sprint probably, or a breakaway win if the peloton does not care. But with the pink jersey still within reach for many, I would expect them to care.


Stage 4: Venosa – Lago Laceno 175 km

Tuesday, May 9th, 12:30 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The stage starts in Venosa and provides tough terrain right off the bat, with two uncategorized climbs of 3 km at 7% and 5 km at 4% before a quick descent brings everyone to the first categorized climb of the day, Passo delle Crocelle (GPM2, 13.6 km at 4.3%). This is a long ascent without steep ramps, so it will only be good for warming up and perhaps to determine the composition of the breakaway, if it has not gone already. It is followed by a long descent on wide roads and a very short flat section before the next climb, which includes the intermediate sprint of Muro Lucano. Valico di Monte Carruozzo (GPM2, 19.9 km at 3.8%) is a somewhat tougher climb than the previous one, but still nothing more than a warm up compared to what is to come. Plus, its top is still at 65 km to go. The following descent is very straightforward, with only a short twisty section near the end, and it brings to an ascending false flat 25 km long. Finally, at 12.5 km to go, after a short descent and the intermediate sprint of Montella, the final climb and main dish of the day starts. Colle Molella (GPM2, 9.6 km at 6.2%) is the first GC-grade climb of this Giro, with its 3 km section at over 9% near the top which might see the first real attacks of this edition. The top is at 3 km to go, basically all false flat until the finish in Lago Laceno.


The Climbs:

Passo delle Crocelle
: GPM2, 13.6 km at 4.3%

Its average gradient is reduced by two short flat sections, but even so, it rarely goes over 6%. At least I think. The profiles I could find are all over the place.

Valico di Monte Carruozzo: GPM2, 19.9 km at 3.8%

Just like the previous one, the average gradient does not say much. The initial ramp of Muro Lucano can get a bit steeper, but not by much.

Colle Molella: GPM2, 9.6 km at 6.2%

It is basically one steep 3 km ramp preceded by very gentle slopes. It did not do a lot of damage last time they finished right after it, in 2012, but that Giro is best forgotten. In 1998 instead, it was a great ascent.


What to Expect:

A big selection, if not proper attacks by GC favourites. Last time the Giro came here we have not been lucky to say the least, but even then it showed attacks can stick here. GC contenders will need to be on their toes.


Alex Zülle winning solo in Lago Laceno, Giro 1998
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Stage 5: Atripalda – Salerno 171 km

Wednesday, May 10th, 12:40 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

A transitional stage bringing the peloton to the Tyrrhenian coast. The day starts with a bang, as the peloton will hit the short but tough Passo Serra (GPM3, 4 km at 7.3%) after only 6 km from the start. Straight after that, the riders will find the two uncategorized ramps of Passo di Mirabella (2.5 km at 6%) and Croce Calabrone (2 km at 7%), after which the road will become a long and irregular ascending false flat. This false flat culminates after about 35 km, including a few small ramps and descents, as well as the intermediate sprint of Sant’Angelo di Lombardi, just before the top. After that it will be time for a 40 km long descending section, again very irregular just like the ascending one. It ends at the foot of the final climb of the day, the short but steep Oliveto Citra (GPM3, 2.6 km at 7.6%). The top is at 57 km to go, of which 23 km are of rolling terrain and the last 34 are pan flat, with the intermediate sprint of Battipaglia 26 km before the finishing line in Salerno.


The Climbs:

Passo Serra
: GPM3, 4 km at 7.3%

It is the same climb as the one in stage 9 of the Giro 2015. In the Garibaldi it is listed as 4 km at 6.5% but that is wrong, as the average is 7.3%, as confirmed by the official altitude gain of 292m. We have no profile this year, but we still have the one of 2015, where the climb is listed as 3.6 km at 8%, as they marked the start a bit further than this year. Still, exactly the same climb.


Oliveto Citra: GPM3, 2.6 km at 7.6%

Shorter than Passo Serra but just as tough. No profile at all this time.

What to Expect:

This is a good stage for a breakaway, but if the peloton keeps the tempo high a mass sprint should be very likely.


Stage 6: Napoli – Napoli 162 km

Thursday, May 11th, 12:55 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

From Napoli to Napoli again, just like last year… the route is very different though. The peloton will go east this time, riding along the side of the Vesuvius, pass by Pompeii and then get to the first intermediate sprint in Sant’Antonio Abate, at which point they will start climbing. Valico di Chiunzi (GPM2, 8.3 km at 6.3%) is a good climb to form a strong breakaway, on a stage that is very favourable for it. It is followed by another ramp just after the top, Colle San Pietro, with around 3 km at just over 5%. Then, an 11 km long descent will bring everyone onto the most appealing part of this stage, the stunning views of the Costiera Amalfitana, starting from the town of Amalfi itself. This ragged coast will last up until the second and last climb of the day, the easy Picco Sant’Angelo (GPM3, 7.6 km at 3.8%). Its descent brings to the town of Sorrento, the second intermediate sprint. From here on it is smooth sailing, as the remaining roads are all flat along the coast, with only the small ramp before Castellammare di Stabia left, roughly 2.5 km at 5%. The last 35 km are pan flat, with only some minor bumps, including one at 2 km to go that should not pose any real problems for the sprint.


The Climbs:

Valico di Chiunzi
: GPM2, 8.3 km at 6.3%

A solid and very regular climb, that comes with an official profile, including the bonus ramp of Colle San Pietro after it.


Picco Sant’Angelo: GPM3, 7.6 km at 3.8%

A lot easier than the previous climb. Only the last km is quite steep, at 7-8%. No profile.

What to Expect:

The breakaway has a huge opportunity, the terrain will not help the peloton until the final 55 km, so I doubt they will bother chasing. The battle for and within the breakaway, as well as the views, will provide most of the enjoyment of this stage.


Positano, Costiera Amalfitana
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Stage 7: Capua – Gran Sasso d’Italia 218 km

Friday, May 12th, 11:15 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The first mountain top finish of the race starts in Capua and heads north-west all day in the heart of the Appennines. Despite this headline, however, the route is pretty straightforward: the peloton will ride on flat roads most of the time, with the first climb of the day coming only at km 67, the uncategorized partial climb to Rionero Sannitico (14.6 km at 4.5%). After a very brief descent, the riders will find the intermediate sprint of Castel di Sangro and the climb to Roccaraso (GPM2, 6.9 km at 6.5%). From here, a false flat and then a gentle descent will slowly lead to the foot of the highest mountain of the Appennines, coming just after the second intermediate sprint of Bussi sul Tirino. For the last 46 km the road will be almost always pointing upwards. At first it will be the climb to Calascio (GPM1, 13.5 km at 6%), with its long and regular slopes, topping at 32 km to go. After that, the road will keep climbing towards the Gran Sasso d’Italia (GPM1, 26.4 km at 3.4%) in a much more irregular manner, on a road that is high, exposed, and often very windy. Only the last 4.5 km have steep gradients, and they will most likely decide the winner.


The Climbs:

: GPM2, 6.9 km at 6.5%

A pretty tough climb whose average gradient is brought down by its last 2 km. Profile by Cyclingcols.com


Calascio: GPM2, 13.5 km at 6%

Long and very regular, always at 5-7%. Ridden last time in 2018, again to finish on Gran Sasso.


Gran Sasso d’Italia: GPM1, 26.4 km at 3.4%

Very irregular, the only tough part is at the end, with 4.5 km at 8.2%. The false flat sections are also very exposed, so wind might discourage action until the final ramp.


What to Expect:

A selected GC group sprinting for the win and for bonus seconds. Perhaps a few gaps if someone really goes for it, but nothing too significant.


Marco Pantani attacking on Gran Sasso, Giro 1999
Stage 8: Terni – Fossombrone 207 km

Saturday, May 13th, 11:50 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

A beautiful hilly stage to start off the second weekend. From Terni, the riders will head north and start climbing almost immediately towards the inexplicably uncategorized Valico della Somma (5 km at 5.6%, plus 6 km of some false flat at the beginning). This is not a big medium mountain stage though. The road will ease off after this, and the peloton will enjoy more than 130 km of mostly flat roads, with a few false flats here and there. The only points of interest here will be the two intermediate sprints of Foligno and Sigillo, which will very likely be contested by the breakaway. The real fun starts very late in the day, at 52 km to go, with a really tough final circuit around the finishing town of Fossombrone. The climb to I Cappuccini (GPM4, 2.8 km at 7.9%), short and steep, will be the first and last categorized climb of the day, topping first at 50 km. After this ascent, the riders will also face the Monte delle Cesane (GPM2, 7.8 km at 6.5%), a longer and very irregular climb that features some really steep sections. The top is at 36 km to go, and is followed by 11 km of descent, after which there are 18 km of rolling terrain that start with a small climb of just under 1 km at around 9%. Finally, at about 8 km to go, the final climb to I Cappuccini will start, with the top at 5.8 km to go, the perfect launch pad for any attack.


The Climbs:

I Cappuccini
: GPM4, 2.8 km at 7.9%

The same climb as in the 2019 Tirreno Adriatico, although that time they climb it twice back to back, while this time there will be a lot more terrain in between. It is a short and steep wall, typical of this part of Italy.


Monte delle Cesane: GPM2, 7.8 km at 6.5%

A very irregular climb with a big ramp at the start, including a full km at 12%.


What to Expect:

GC contenders can and should go all out here, at least on the final climb. There is very little reason not to, since there is basically no flat in the end and bonus seconds are a thing. The only problem is that tomorrow there is a very important ITT and someone might be tempted to spare any drop of energy for it. On the other hand, all the biggest favourites of this Giro should not be scared by a time trial…


Aleksey Lutsenko winning in Fossombrone, Tirreno - Adriatico 2019
Stage 9: Savignano sul Rubicone – Cesena 35 km ITT

Sunday, May 14th, 13:10 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The Giro crosses the Rubicon, literally but also a bit figuratively, as the GC riders will have to cast their dice today. A pan flat, decently long ITT in the middle of a Giro is a rare sight these days… The route is quite straightforward, although there are some twisty sections inside towns, but overall there is no doubt this is an ITT for pure specialists. There will be three checkpoints dividing the route in four section, the last two being far shorter than the first. From Savignano, the road heads north first, where the riders will actually cross the Rubicon at around km 10, in spite of the fact that the start is just a few hundred meters from it. After the first checkpoint, the route will head south-west towards Cesena and after a small section in the city, which hosts the highest point of this stage (a whopping 44m above sea level), it will go north again towards the finish line just outside of town.


What to Expect:

Specialists will put minutes into the pure climbers, no question.


The Rubicon “river” as it looks today.
Stage 10: Scandiano – Viareggio 196 km

Tuesday, May 16th, 12:05 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:
A transitional stage very similar to stage 5, with a demanding first half and an easy finale. From Scandiano, the peloton will head south to cross the Appennines on very rough terrain, full of small ramps that can be pretty steep too, like the first one, Baiso (2.8 km at 8.4%). This entire first half is dominated by the huge-looking ascent of the Passo delle Radici (GPM2, 7.1 km at 4.4%), which starts with the intermediate sprint of Villa Minozzo. This is a very irregular climb that features some sustained ramps at over 6% in between a lot of false flat. The top is at 107 km to go, and its much more regular descent brings already to the last climb of the day, Monteperpoli (GPM4, 2.4 km at 9%). From here on, it is all smooth sailing for the last 70 km, with the intermediate sprint of Ponte a Moriano at 42 km to go before the riders reach the sea and the finishing line in Viareggio.


The Climbs:

Passo delle Radici
: GPM2, 7.1 km at 4.4%

Very irregular climb without particularly steep ramps. Mildly interesting, it is one of the roads that lead to the mythical Passo di Pradaccio (aka San Pellegrino in Alpe). Sadly, it bears no similarity with that climb. No profile.

Monteperpoli: GPM4, 2.4 km at 9%

Short but really steep. It would be a very good climb for an attack if it was close to the finish. Which it is not, so we don’t even get a profile. Sad.

What to Expect:

Just like stage 5, breakaway or mass sprint. Here there is much more flat terrain in the end so the peloton has better chances.


Stage 11: Camaiore – Tortona 219 km

Wednesday, May 17th, 11:25 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

A long (the longest, in fact) transitional stage crossing the Appennines one last time, in just about the simplest way possible. The day starts on the coast, in Camaiore, and heads north-west the whole time. At first, the riders will follow the coast with some incursions inland, including the first intermediate sprint and a passage on one of the oldest climbs of the Giro, the mythical Passo del Bracco (GPM3, 10.2 km at 4.4%), which nowadays is little more threatening than a bump on the road. Its descent leads to a short section on the Ligurian coast before leaving the sea for good and heading towards the second climb of the day, Colla di Boasi (GPM3, 9.3 km at 4.2%). After this, a gentle descending valley eventually bring to the second sprint and the final climb of the day, Passo della Castagnola (GPM4, 5.1 km at 4.6%). Needless to say, none of this should be particularly hard for the peloton, especially with the final 38 km being completely flat, or even slightly descending, towards the line in Tortona.


The Climbs:

Passo del Bracco
: GPM3, 10.2 km at 4.4%

Due to its position and the lack of alternatives, it is one of the most used passes in Giro history, having been present even in the very first edition of 1909. Nowadays, it cannot be considered as much of a challenge. Profile from Cyclingcols.com


Colla di Boasi: GPM3, 9.3 km at 4.2%

A rather long but very gentle climb. No profile.

Passo della Castagnola: GPM4, 5.1 km at 4.6%

Two km at 7% following some false flat. Profile from Cyclingcols.com


What to Expect:

The mass sprint will be hard to avoid. Maybe a big breakaway can make it, but it is unlikely as long as there are sprinter teams willing to chase.


Duomo di Tortona
Stage 12: Bra – Rivoli 179 km

Thursday, May 18th, 12:30 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The Giro reaches the Alps with an interesting mountain stage, which will serve as a good aperitivo for the feast to come. From the town of Bra, the route will take a large counter-clockwise loop through the Langhe area and its ragged terrain, with the first uncategorized climb of La Morra (6 km at 5%) and the long and irregular (but never steep) climb of Pedaggera (GPM3, 16.9 km at 2.4%). After its long descent, the riders will get back onto the Po Valley, and see mostly flat terrain, including a first passage though the finish town of Rivoli, until km 140. Here, the real difficulty of the day starts: Colle Braida (GPM2, 9.8 km at 7.1%), a climb very clearly divided in two. While the first half is quite easy, its upper section is a real tough one, always around 8% for 5 km. The top is at 28 km to go, its descent being 7 km long and quite technical. That leaves the final 21 km of false flat to get back to Rivoli. Worth noting that the final km includes a very short ramp at 8% that might spice things up.


The Climbs:

: GPM3, 16.9 km at 2.4%

A very long false flat with one decent ramp in the end. No profile.

Colle Braida: GPM2, 9.8 km at 7.1%

A big climb with an easy first half, a short descent and a tough second half. It was missing from the Giro since 1991.


What to Expect:

Maybe a breakaway, maybe a selected (30ish men) bunch sprint. There is also the possibility for one or more secondary captain(s) to breakaway on the final climb and gain some time. Considering how tough tomorrow’s stage is, however, I would not expect much from this one.


Sacra di San Michele, Colle Braida
Stage 13: Borgofranco d’Ivrea – Crans Montana, 207 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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Stage 14: Sierre – Cassano Magnago 193 km

Saturday, May 20th, 12:05 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The third weekend starts in Sierre, from where the peloton will head immediately back to Italy across the Alps for an unusual kind of stage. After 35 km of flat terrain, the riders will face the third 2000+ altitude climb of this Giro, the Simplonpass (GPM1, 20.2 km at 6.5%), another huge one, although not as tough as yesterday’s climbs. The top is at 138 km to go and the descent is very long but also very fast. It gradually eases off and ends at about 100 km to go… and that’s about it. All the rest is flat along the valleys and then along the coast of Lake Maggiore, with the final 25 km being on a somewhat ragged terrain but still without any notable ramps.


The Climbs:

: GPM1, 20.2 km at 6.5%

Passo del Sempione in Italian, but it is all in Switzerland so I use the Swiss name. Unlike the Gran San Bernardo, the border is not at the top but almost at the end of the descent. It does have 4.7 km at 8.7% average near the start, but after that it gets easier. If it was closer to the finish it would be a big threat, but like this it will only be important for the breakaway.


What to Expect:

A huge breakaway probably, or maybe even a mass sprint. It depends on how the Simplonpass will be raced, of course, and on how many sprinters are willing to hang on.


Stage 15: Seregno – Bergamo 195 km

Sunday, May 21st, 11:45 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

A big medium mountain stage just before the final rest day. From Seregno, the peloton will ride only 27 km of rolling terrain before the road goes up, first with the short ramp of San Gregorio (3.3 km at 6%) and then with the first categorized climb of the day, the Valico di Valcava (GPM1, 11.6 km at 8%). It is a hard climb, with a very steep section towards the end. Its descent is quite tricky, but it is followed by a flat section of around 25 km, leading to the first intermediate sprint of Nembro. There, the second difficulty of the day starts, the climb of Selvino (GPM2, 11.1 km at 5.6%), much simpler than the previous one but still not to be underestimated. Its descent only lasts 8 km, before the road goes upwards again, for the short climb to Miragolo San Salvatore (GPM2, 5.2 km at 7%). From there, another technical descent ending at 74 km to go will bring into a flattish section of 30 km to the second intermediate sprint of Brembate di Sopra, where the final (and possibly decisive) climb starts. Roncola Alta (GPM2, 10 km at 6.7%) is a serious climb, whose overall numbers do not give justice to. Its central section measures 6 km at 8.6% and features a huge ramp at over 13% at the beginning. The top is at 28 km to go, 10 of which are its descent. Finished that, the riders will find 13 km of flat terrain before the ramp of Bergamo Alta, a common fixture in the Lombardia, with its 1.5 km at 7.9%. From there, it will be just about diving to the finish line.


(wtf is this graph)

The Climbs:

Valico di Valcava
: GPM1, 11.6 km at 8%

A great climb with a 3 km section at over 11%. Featured many times in the Giro and in Lombardia, it is a bit of a shame that it is almost always too far away from the finish to be raced full gas.


Selvino: GPM2, 11.1 km at 5.6%

A gentle and regular climb with a lot of hairpins to keep it always around 5-6%. See below for the profile.

Miragolo San Salvatore: GPM2, 5.2 km at 7%

The average 7% is brought down by the last stretch, while the first part has very tough gradients.


Roncola Alta: GPM2, 10 km at 6.7%

It starts with a very steep and short wall, and then stabilizes at 8% for the most part.


What to Expect:

Hard to tell. There is room for a small GC battle on the last climb, but I do not expect big gaps. Tomorrow is a rest day, so someone might want to try something, but any significant action before Valpiana is highly unlikely.


Stage 16: Sabbio Chiese – Monte Bondone 203 km

Tuesday, May 23rd, 10:50 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The second big mountain stage of this Giro is at a comparatively low altitude, and features a famous MTF tackled from an unusual side. After the final rest day, the peloton will start their day strolling nicely along the Garda Lake, totaling 58 km of flat roads that will be just the calm before the storm. The short ramp of Nago (1.9 km at 7.5%) is only the first taste of what is to come. At km 64 the first categorized climb of the Giro starts, one that was sorely missed for 21 years: Passo di Santa Barbara (GPM1, 12.7 km at 8.3%) is a very tough climb that would cause carnage if it came later in the stage, but even here it will wear out legs nicely, at least. Its descent is only 2.7 km long, as it connects with the next climb, the very short Passo Bordala (GPM3, 4.5 km at 6.7%). This combo is going to do some damage, as we are talking about a total of 17.4 km at 7.7% average, with just the short respite of a 3-minute descent. The descent of Bordala is long and technical, and brings directly to the town of Rovereto, where the first intermediate sprint and the start of the next climb lie. Matassone (GPM2, 11.3 km at 5.5%) is a mid-size climb parallel to the more famous Pian delle Fugazze. After reaching the GPM, the riders will go back towards Rovereto on a very irregular descent that will lead them straight to the next climb, Serrada (GPM2, 17.7 km at 5.5%). The top is at 49.5 km to go, and after 3 km of descending false flat the peloton will reach the town of Folgaria, on the road to the mythical Passo Coe, from which they will, disappointingly, descend onto the valley again, instead of climbing to that pass. The descent is steep and fairly technical, but it is on a nice and wide road and I doubt it will provide anything of note. At the bottom there will be 10 km of flat until the final intermediate sprint of Aldeno, right at the foot of the final climb of the day, one of the most famous climbs of this edition: Monte Bondone (GPM1, 21.4 km at 6.7%). While its classical side is extremely regular, this one is the complete opposite, with very irregular ramps, but it can be overall divided into three sections: two steep ones divided by an easy one in the middle. Either way, it is still a huge climb that will provide a worthy winner and could revolutionize the GC, if that has not happened yet.


The Climbs:

Passo di Santa Barbara
: GPM1, 12.7 km at 8.3%

Very steep, with the first 9 km at 9.2% followed by 3 km of easier roads, this climb was absent from the Giro since the legendary stage of Passo Coe 2002. Today it will be the first climb of the stage, so I expect it to only sort the breakaway out. See below for the profile.

Passo Bordala: GPM3, 4.5 km at 6.7%

The proverbial cherry on top of the Santa Barbara cake.


Matassone: GPM2, 11.3 km at 5.5%

Starts with 7 km at around 7% and then becomes a false flat for the last 4 km. No profile available.

Serrada: GPM2, 17.7 km at 5.5%

Long but with very easy gradient, especially in the middle.


Monte Bondone: GPM1, 21.4 km at 6.7%

A very irregular side of the great Monte Bondone, which hosted its last Giro finish in 2006. It was made immortal by the legendary stage of 1956, when Charly Gaul won under a terrible snowstorm.


What to Expect:

Huge battle for the GC on the Bondone, cannot think of anything different. Hopefully the pace on the previous climbs will be high, but this is not a stage favouring long range attacks. It will be all about the final one.


Charly Gaul, Merano – Monte Bondone, Giro 1956
Stage 17: Pergine Valsugana – Caorle, 195 km

Wednesday, May 24th, 12:45 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The classic transitional stage of the third week starts in the Valsugana Valley and ends on the Venetian coast, along a pan flat route. There is hope to avoid a mass sprint though: starting from the second intermediate sprint in Lido di Jesolo, at 31 km to go, the peloton will always ride along the coast, which means crosswinds could happen. This area can be very windy at times, so if the weather allows someone could try to take advantage of it. Otherwise this will go to whoever sprinter is still in the race, if any.


What to Expect:

Mass sprint, with just an outside chance of echelons.


Stage 18: Oderzo – Val Di Zoldo 161 km

Thursday, May 25th, 12:20 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The final mountain block begins with a beautiful 4-star stage in the Dolimites, which funnily enough, with its 161 km, is the second shortest road stage of the race. From the town of Oderzo, the riders will immediately head into the mountains, with the first climb of the day coming after 28 km: Passo della Crosetta (GPM1, 11.6 km at 7.1%), a tough climb that will promote the formation of a strong breakaway. At the top the peloton will find a 16 km long false flat, before a short descent and another climb, Pieve d’Alpago (GPM4, 3.3 km at 5.5%), a very easy one. Its descent will bring everyone back to the Piave river, at which point the riders will have to go upstream for 32 km of false flat before hitting the next climb, the uncategorized Tai di Cadore (6.7 km at 4.6%). Shortly after the top, they will find the first intermediate sprint in Pieve di Cadore, just before turning south-west to get to the main dish of today, coming after 10 km more. The final combo begins with Forcella Cibiana (GPM1, 9.6 km at 7.8%), a mid-size climb with a pretty steep second half. It starts at 36 km to go and ends at 26, which means it is already in GC attack range. The descent is also quite tricky, and leads directly into the second intermediate sprint, Forno di Zoldo, and to the foot of the next climb, starting at 15 km to go. The climb to Coi (GPM2, 5.8 km at 9.7%) a secondary road parallel to Forcella Staulanza, is a new entry in the Giro and a very interesting one. It is a narrow road that gets steeper and steeper all the way to the top, which lies at 5.3 km to go. The descent is very short, only 2.1 km, but it does feature a few interesting curves and might give or take a few seconds between contenders. It connects with the main road of Staulanza at only 3.1 km from the finish line of Val di Zoldo (GPM2, 2.7 km at 6.4%), the same as in 2005.


The Climbs:

Passo della Crosetta
: GPM1, 11.6 km at 7.1%

A tough climb with very regular slopes. It will assure a quality breakaway.


Pieve d’Alpago: GPM4, 3.3 km at 5.5%

Short and easy, nothing much to see here.

Forcella Cibiana: GPM1, 9.6 km at 7.8%

Ridden last time during the mythical stage of Gardeccia 2011 (but from the opposite side), this climb is short but has a very steep second half.


Coi: GPM2, 5.8 km at 9.7%

A new and very surprising climb, short but really steep. See below for the profile.

Val di Zoldo: GPM2, 2.7 km at 6.4%

Last time we had a finish here was 2005, and it was an awesome stage. This year the location is the same, but the approach will be completely different.


What to Expect:

Anything can happen from the start of Cibiana onward. However, this is only the first of three consecutive GC stages, so it is hard to predict how much energy the riders will want to spend here. I think there will be selection on Cibiana and attacks only on Coi. Moderate gaps between the favourites.


Forno di Zoldo
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Stage 19: Longarone – Tre Cime di Lavaredo 183 km

Friday, May 26th, 11:35 – 17:10 CEST



Technical Overview:

The queen stage, finally. A grueling high mountain raid in the Dolomites, the type of stage every Giro should have. From Longarone, on the Piave River, the day will start with a long neutralized section down the valley before the actual start in Fortogna. The riders will then follow the Piave until Belluno, at which point they will head north into the Dolomites. The road will only slightly rise at first, going upstream along the Cordevole valley. All in all, 44 km of gentle uphill roads will bring to the intermediate sprint of Caprile, the town at the foot of Passo Fedaia, but unfortunately we are not headed there. Instead, the peloton will keep north through very tough false flat and a few minor climbs, including one of 1.5 km at 8% and one of 3.5 km at 7.1%, before they hit the first categorized climb of the day, Passo di Campolongo (GPM2, 3.9 km at 7%), one of the Sella Ronda peaks. The descent is very short and twisty up to the town of Corvara in Badia, after which it devolves into a descending false flat to reach La Villa, where the next climb begins. Passo Valparola (GPM1, 14.1 km at 5.6%) is a tough climb at a relatively high altitude, a statement that will only get more accurate for each of the following climbs of this stage. It starts as an irregular climb, with 9% ramps scattered here and there, and then becomes a very consistent climb with the last 6 km at 8% average. The top is at 2192m above sea level and at 71 km to go… but the fun has just begun. The descent is basically straight down until the Passo Falzarego, where the riders will turn south and the descent becomes quite technical. There is no respite at the bottom: the uncategorized Colle Santa Lucia (2.2 km at 7.5%) and its equally short descent leads to the next climb, one of the most famous of all the Dolomites. The mighty Passo Giau (GPM1, 9.9 km at 9.3%), with its very regular and very steep slopes will be one of the key points of this stage and perhaps of the whole Giro. It starts at 49 km to go and ends at 40.5, plus the peak is at 2236m above sea level. Its descent is long and technical, so GC riders will have to consider that too. At the bottom there is also the intermediate sprint of Cortina d’Ampezzo, at 22 km to go. There is no flat here, as the road will rise again immediately once out of town, to head towards one of the most iconic climbs the Giro has to offer. But first, the Passo Tre Croci (GPM2, 7.9 km at 7.2%), with its top at 13.5 km to go, will bring the riders onto a 6.5 km false flat section along the Lake of Misurina, the last breath before the grand finale. The legendary climb to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (GPM1, 7.2 km at 7.6%) will decide the winner (if still necessary), not with its puny overall statistics, tainted by the first irregular section, but with its killer final section of 4 km at 11.7% bringing to the 2304m above sea level of Rifugio Auronzo, where the finish line is located, like always.


The Climbs:

Passo di Campolongo
: GPM2, 3.9 km at 7%

One of the four passes of the famous Sella Ronda, it is a short and fairly easy one, but is preceded by some really hard terrain.


Passo Valparola: GPM1, 14.1 km at 5.6%

Quite irregular but does get tough towards the end.


Passo Giau: GPM1, 9.9 km at 9.3%

One of the greatest climbs of the Dolomites, last time it was ridden we barely saw live pictures of it. Hopefully this year will be different. It is a rather short but really hard climb, always between 9-10%, and the altitude, even if not sky high, will also play a factor.


Passo Tre Croci: GPM2, 7.9 km at 7.2%

A medium sized climb that at this point of the stage (and of the race) will surely do a lot of damage. See below for the profile.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo: GPM1, 7.2 km at 7.6%

Possibly the most iconic finish of the Dolomites, its very steep gradients, high altitude and stunning views will be one of the key points of this Giro. Last time the race came here was in 2013 under the snow.


What to Expect:

All out GC battle obviously, the only question is from which point. Tomorrow is still a big day but letting this one pass would be a grave mistake. I would expect at least a significant selection on the Giau, and maybe a desperate attacks from a top 5 contender. For any pure climber, this is it. They have to make it count.


Vincenzo Nibali winning on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Giro 2013
Stage 20: Tarvisio – Monte Lussari 18.6 km ITT

Saturday, May 27th, 11:30 – 18:30 CEST



Technical Overview:

And here you have it, the last GC stage of this race and easily the most controversial. An ITT ending on a silly steep goat track, surfaced for this very occasion. From Tarvisio, the riders will have to go through 11.3 km of flat in the valley, before starting to climb right after the first checkpoint of the day. Monte Lussari (GPM1, 7.3 km at 12.1%) is a ludicrous climb, that features 5 km at 15% average before getting a bit easier for the final 2 km. Needless to say, this might very well be the stage that decides the Giro, and it being a very atypical TT on a very atypical climb, at the end of a very demanding Giro, I can see many riders having problems finding the right pace and potentially losing huge chunks of time.


The Climbs:

Monte Lussari
: GPM1, 7.3 km at 12.1%

Short, narrow, and ridiculously steep. It does have some respite near the top, although the profile of the final km (both in the climb and in the final km graph) does not quite match with the profile of the stage, so there might be small errors there. Also, it will feature two checkpoints, the last of which at only 800 m to go. No idea why.


What to Expect:

Well, the last battle for pink. Surely it will be entertaining. If anything, just the sheer novelty of a time trial this dumb will be interesting to watch. I am a lot more concerned about how the GC guys might be worried about this stage and try to save energy for it in the previous days. In the end however, I don’t think we will see huge gaps here, unless someone bonks completely.


Monte Lussari
Stage 21: Roma – Roma 126 km

Sunday, May 28th, 15:25 – 18:45 CEST



Technical Overview:

A classic final parade, this time in Rome, for a change. The route starts with an initial linear section and it concludes with a 13.6 km circuit to be repeated 6 times. Originally it was planned to have a short climb that might have been worth mentioning, but it has been was scrapped at the last minute. Oh well. The sights will be great though.


What to Expect:

The Colosseum, glasses of Spumante and one more mass sprint.


Il Colosseo