Preview on the 2023 Giro d’Italia
The course of the 106th tour of Italy covers 21 stages from 6 to 28 May. On their 3,448.6-kilometre journey from Grande Partenza in the Abruzzo to the finish line in Rome, the riders will have to climb a total of 51,300 metres in altitude.
Behind these “bare figures” hide three time trials with a total distance of 70.6 kilometres, the last of which leads uphill.
There are five classic road stages that end with a mountain finish each, two of them above 2000 metres, complemented by another mountain stage. Depending on perspective and course of the race, fast sprinters have the chance of a sprint royal on six to eight stages.
This Giro is “one for the climbers”. This is not only proven by the 50,000 metres of altitude, but also by three stages with more than 5,000 metres of altitude – two of them in the final week.
Despite all high-altitude action which is typical for Giro racing, the course caters for all tastes, i.e., types of riders – and compared to the Tour de France, the Italian tour 2023 seems more balanced. There are three time trials of different lengths, sprint and hilly stages as well as short and long stages in the mountains with mountain arrivals as well as finishes in valleys.
Chances are that the overall classification will change every three or four days, especially in the first two weeks, and the GC riders will need to prove in the first week that they have travelled to Italy in top form.
First week of the Giro d’Italia 2023
It had been announced a while ago that the Giro will start on the Adriatic coast in Abruzzo with an individual time trial. Just perfect for hour world record holder Pippo Ganna, who will wear the Maglia Rosa if he rides the fastest time on the bike path along the coast.
It will be followed by stages for sprinters as well as puncheurs on undulating and flat terrain. The next highlight on day six is a race in and around Naples to the foothills of Mount Vesuvius and along the Amalfi coast, which offers perfect conditions for the classic riders.
Then it goes all uphill: stage seven ends on Campo Imperatore at 2135 metres, at the end of a seemingly endless climb of almost 45 kilometres and thus also the first real mountain finish of this tour of Italy. The first Giro week ends with a second time trial of 34 kilometres between Savignano sul Rubicone and Cesena.
Second week of the Giro d’Italia 2023
The main motto of the second week could be “classics”. There is only one alpine stage with a mountain finish – but it is undoubtedly a tough one.
The 13th stage from Borgofranco d’Ivrea takes a trip to Switzerland – up to the finish in Crans Montana. The route first leads 34 kilometres up to San Bernardino at 2469 metres – which marks the Cima Coppi, i.e., the highest point of this Giro. It is followed by the climb up to the Croix de Coeur that covers 15 kilometres and 1350 metres in altitude. After a 22-kilometre descent, the riders enter the final climb to Crans Montana. In the end, they will have ridden 208 kilometres and 5100 metres of altitude.
Otherwise, the exciting stage on the final day of the second Giro week with a finale near Bergamo will likely have an impact on overall standings. According to experts, a similar scenario may take place in this miniature version of Tour of Lombardy as in the Turin stage in 2022, when the peloton split up early and ended up in an elimination race. This is especially likely, if the weather doesn’t cooperate and it rains.
Third week of the 2023 Giro d’Italia
As usual, the third week will bring the decision of the 2023 Giro d’Italia. Three mountain finishes and a 19-kilometre mountain time trial on the penultimate day will provide lots of metres in altitude. On two stages the difference in altitude amounts to more than 5,000 metres and the mountain time trial adds up to 1000 metres of difference in altitude on only half of its overall 19 kilometres.
Above all, there is the queen stage on 26 May, which leads riders over 182 kilometres and 5,400 metres of difference in altitude from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo through the Dolomites. The race ends after a 700-kilometre transfer with a stage in the Holy City.
Instead of Milan, where the Giro traditionally ends, this time the race will finish in Rome. Therefore, the final stage will be more like a Tour d’Honneur in the style of a circuit race past ancient sites. Nevertheless, for the remaining sprinters, a victory there, just as in Paris, will be very prestigious.