As well as the seven summit finishes and a ridiculously hard final week including the Dolomites, the race will feature more than 70 kilometres of individual time trialling. This presents a sharp increase from the 2022 edition which included just 26.2 kilometres.
Spread out over three stages including a beyond savage stage 20 mountain time trial, the sharp increase in kilometres against the clock will be seen purely as a means of attracting Vuelta champion Remco Evenepoel to Italy next may.
However, the Italian grand tour route has plenty of other reasons to get excited about. Stage 19 will see the riders tackling the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb which has only previously featured in the Giro d’Italia eight times. Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Vincenzo Nibali have all won there. It’s a brutally steep climb featuring sectors of 18% which Nibali conquered in a snow storm in 2013 on his way to overall victory that year.
Nibali was on stage at Monday's presentation and said: “I like this route, it is very similar to the editions I won. It is a well designed Giro, with a very lively first part. It will be essential to be in top form in the second half. All energy will be needed. It’ll be a difficult Giro to manage."
Here we look at each week of the 2023 Giro d’Italia and where it may be won or lost.
GIRO D'ITALIA 2023: WEEK ONE
Unlike last year’s edition, the 2023 Giro d’Italia will start and finish in Italy. Earlier this year the Grande Partenza of the 2022 took place in Budapest, Hungary with the country hosting the following two stages too.
The action will get underway in the Abruzzo region with an opening time trial which will include a final section along the Trabocchi cycle path, retracing the disused Adriatic railway. The first section is entirely flat with views over the Trabocchi and the sea, and looks toward the port of Ortona. The road then climbs for just over 1 km, until arriving into the finishing straight, in the Ortona city center.
If Evenepoel decides to try to win the Maglia Rosa in May then this will provide an excellent opportunity to take the pink jersey right from the gun.
Stage two starts in Teramo, and is one for the sprinters looking to bag the Maglia Ciclamino, won by Groupama-FDJ’s Arnaud Demare in 2022. The route will largely focus on the coastline with a few small climbs at Silvi Paese, Chieti and Ripa Teatina before the riders roll into the promenade of San Salvo marina for a shot at the first road stage win of the 2023 edition.
On the following day the route heads further south in the direction of Melfi. The first half of the 210 kilometre long stage will be completely flat before the parcours suddenly kicks up. The Giro peloton will cross the Monte Vulture massif near to the Monticchio lakes before descending ahead of a final climb up to Melfi.
This precedes stage four in the midst of the Apennines with more than 3,500 metres of elevation gain on the way to the hilltop finish at Lago Laceno. After the test in the Apennines, the riders will be treated to a double header of undulating stages for the sprinters and puncheurs of the peloton before another summit finish test on stage seven at Gran Sasso d’Italia (Campo Imperatore).
The first week will close with a testing stage eight to Fossombrone which will include another 2,500 metres of climbing all within the final 60 kilometres of the stage. Sunday's stage nine time trial to Cesena on flat terrain, another opportunity for Evenepoel to either defend his lead or move up the general classification.
GIRO D'ITALIA 2023: WEEK TWO
After the first rest day of the race, there are another two opportunities on stages 10 and 11 for the sprinters with the latter of the two concluding in Tortona before an undulating test on stage 12 between Bra and Rivoli.
Once stage 12 is out of the way, the riders then face a gruelling day in the saddle on stage 13 as the Alps make their first appearance of the 2023 Giro d’Italia.
When the route was announced Vincenzo Nibali immediately pointed to stage 13 as a “pivotal” moment in the route and it’s easy to see why that might be. Before the riders reach the summit finish at Crans Montana in Switzerland, they will have to take on the 2023 “Cima Coppi'' in the form of the brutal Colle del Gran San Bernardo, a 34 kilometre long monster of a mountain. Once the riders have descended off the San Bernardo, they face another gruelling climb in the shape of the Croix de Coeur before the final ascent to Crans Montana.
The following day on stage 14 the riders will be treated to another flatter stage into Casso Magnago before an Il Lombardia style stage 15 test concluding in Bergamo.
Stage 15 could provide a dramatic test similar to the stage into Torino which was won by Simon Yates in May 2022. Although the route is categorised by fairly simple climbs, it offers opportunities for a multitude of riders including any general classification favourites looking to grab any available seconds before the serious mountains return in week three.
GIRO D'ITALIA 2023: THE FINAL WEEK
The third week will see the riders tackle what can only be described as a classic Giro d’Italia final week in the high mountains including the Dolomites.
Stage 16 finishes at Monte Bondone and presents a particularly brutal day on the bike with over 5,000 of elevation gain. The first part of the stage begins on the shores of Lake Garda and several other climbs before the finale on the Monte Bondone. If reigning champion Jai Hindley returns to defend his title, then this could be a day for him to shine on the 15% gradients of the Bondone. Stage 17 then presents another completely flat opportunity before the action will really kick off in the Dolomites later in the week.
Stage 18 may appear short, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in elevation gain (3,700 metres). The riders will take on the Cansiglio mountain before tackling several others on the way to the finish.
The following day is undoubtedly the “Queen Stage” of the 2023 edition and promises to provide an incredible spectacle in the Dolomites. The first third of the stage is on valley roads that gradually sweep up towards the Passo Campolongo and the beginning of more than 5,400 metres of climbing. After the Campolongo is out of the way, the Passo Valparola hits hard before the mythical and infamous Passo Giau. Once the riders have descended from the dizzying heights of the Giau they will then move towards the summit finish at Tre Cime di Lavaredo near to the three limestone peaks of the mountain range.
Stage 20 is the mountain time trial to Monte Lussari with approximately 1,050 metres of climbing. The first 4.5 kilometres of the climb to the finish reach a gradient of approximately 15% which RCS say is “comparable to the Zoncolan”, something which the majority of the peloton won’t want to hear after the previous day in the Dolomites.
The third week will then wrap up with a circuit-style stage in Rome with the winner being crowned 2023 champion at the Imperial Forums in the city. It’s only the fifth time that Rome has hosted the final stage of the Corsa Rosa.
GIRO D'ITALIA 2023: THE STAGES
Stage one, Fossacesia Marina - Ortona ITT 18.4 km
The action begins in the Abruzzo region with an 18.4 kilometre time trial and runs almost completely along the Trabocchi cycle path.
The first half of the stage is completely flat before it briefly climbs towards the finish in the town of Ortona. Including three stages of time trialling is seen by many as being the race organisers attempting to persuade Remco Evenepoel to target the 2023 Corsa Rosa.
Stage two, Teramo - San Salvo 204 km
Stage two is the first of several opportunities for the sprinters at the 2023 edition of the race.
The stage isn't completely flat and includes several short climbs, although they are far from being enough to pose any possibility of damage to the hopes of the likes of Arnaud Demare of winning the stage.
The route focusses in largely on the coast as it moves south towards the finish on the promenade of the San Salvo Marina.
Stage three, Vasto - Melfi 210 km
Stage three into Melfi is relatively flat before a test within the Monte Vulture massif in the latter third of the day.
It provides a warm up test to the following day in the Apennines with a brief climb around the Monticchio Lakes before descending towards Rapolla and then the final short ascent to Melfi.
Stage four, Venosa - Lago Luceno 184 km
Stage four will provide the first real challenge of the 2023 race with a series of climbs totalling more than 3,500 metres of elevation on the menu.
The Apennine test throws back to the early test of the 2021 edition of the race into Sestola which was won by Joe Dombrowski of the USA and UAE Team Emirates.
On the road to Sestola multiple general classification favourites looked to land some early blows in the rain including Mikel Landa and eventual winner Egan Bernal.
Expect to see the GC favourites this time round right at the sharp end of the action on stage four in 2023.
Stage five, Atripalda - Salerno 172 km
Stage five is far from being completely flat, although it provides an opportunity for the breakaway or the fast men taking on the 2023 race.
Several early climbs feature in the stage including the Passo Serra at 13 kilometres followed by the Guardia del Lombardi later on.
If a rider in the shape of Arnaud Demare makes it through the first half of the action then he will relish the run in to Salerno on relatively flat, downhill terrain.
However, the route ideally suits a puncheur such as Mathieu Van der Poel or Wout Van Aert.
Stage six, Napoli - Napoli 156 km
Stage six starts and finishes in Naples and features two nasty looking climbs in the middle of the 156 kilometre route.
At 47 kilometres the riders face the Valico di Chiunzi before the ascent to Colle San Pletro. Once the first two are out of the way they then descend towards a valley road before heading towards the Capo di Mondo climb at 95 kilometres.
If the sprinters are protected in the early half of stage six, the conclusion back into Naples is completely flat and will provide an opportunity for the lead out men to assemble in plenty of time for the kick to the line.
Stage seven, Capua - Gran Sasso d'Italia (Campo Imperatore) 218 km
Stage seven provides the second uphill finish of the race and the first with a finish above 2,000 metres.
Rolling out from Capua, the riders will face the climbs of Roccaraso and Piano delle Cinque Miglia before a long descent in the direction of the base of the Gran Sasso climb.
The final climb will seem endless as the riders head to Campo Imperatore and will provide a stern test for the likes of Evenepoel and Jai Hindley early on.
Stage eight, Terni - Fossombrone 207 km
Stage eight will provide an undulating test between Terni and Fossombrone.
Over 2,500 of elevation are on the cards in the final 60 kilometres of the parcours including 19% sections on the Cappucini climb. After the Cappucini is done and dusted, the Monte delle Cesane follows swiftly behind it with gradients of up to 18%.
The stage finale will see the riders return for a second stab at the Cappucini before the final push to the line.
Stage nine, Savignano - Cesena (ITT) 33.6 km
Stage nine provides a totally flat 33.6 kilometre race against the clock.
Part two of the Giro organisers' grand plan to attract Remco Evenepoel is one that the Belgian will relish should be decide to head to Italy next May.
Courses such as this one are Evenepoel's bread and butter and would provide an opportunity to either establish a potential lead in the Maglia Rosa, or close down any early leaders in the general classification battle.
Stage 10, Scandiano - Viareggio 190 km
After the riders have enjoyed a much welcome rest day, they will face a day largely aimed at the breakaway specialists.
The route features a significant climb to Passo delle Radici before a long descent town towards flatter roads and the run in the Viareggio.
If any faster men are still at the sharp end of the action then the day could materialise into being one for the sprinters too.
Stage 11, Camaiore - Tortona 218 km
Stage 11 to Tortona is absolutely an opportunity for the sprinters and riders chasing the Maglia Ciclamino.
Three minor climbs are on the menu, although they won't provide a sufficiently difficult test that would result in sprinters being jettisoned from the main field.
A day for Demare, Van Aert and Van der Poel if they decide to race the Giro next year.
Stage 12, Bra - Rivoli 179 km
The hilly stage 12 is a mixed parcours that will provide an opportunity for a variety of riders.
After the first hilly section, the route continues for 60 kilometres across the Po Valley and briefly passing the finish line.
The riders then face the difficult Colle Braida, and pass alongside the Sacra di San Michele before heading towards the finish in Rivoli.
Stage 13, Borgofranco d'Ivrea - Crans Montana 208 km
In October Vincenzo Nibali immediately highlighted stage 13 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia as being one for the favourites.
The route has all the makings of a similar test to the Blockhaus stage at this years edition of the race which was won by eventual winner Jai Hindley.
A pure alpine stage, the route heads to Crans Montana in Switzerland and will provide the 2023 "Cima Coppi" prize in the form of the Colle del Gran San Bernardo. Riders also face the Croix de Coeur climb before the final summit finish at Crans Montana.
Stage 14, Sierre - Cassano Magnago 194 km
Other than a huge climb at the start of the day, stage 14 will provide another chance for a sprinter to add a Giro d'italia stage win to their palmares.
The final 100 kilometres are almost completely flat, allowing the peloton to close down any riders who have got away on the earlier climb.
Once they are off the climb, teams can assemble their fast men knowing that the finish is one for the Maglia Ciclamino contenders.
Stage 15, Seregno - Bergamo 191 km
Stage 15 has all the flavour of an edition of the Il Lombardia monument in Northern Italy.
Finishing in Bergamo, the course offers a multitude of relatively straightforward, punchy climbs which will offer opportunities for a variety of attacks. The route features the Valcava and Selvino climbs before it flows into Bergamo and the finish.
The stage has all the attributes that could provide plenty of unexpected drama, similarly to the stage into Torino at the 2022 Giro which was won by Great Britain's Simon Yates.
Stage 16, Sabbio Chiese - Monte Bondone 198 km
Stage 16 is a monster, it's as simple as that.
Over 5,000 metres of elevation gain are on the cards with several savage climbs and others with more gentle gradients.
The stage will begin along the western shore of Lake Garda before it takes on the Passo di Santa Barbara with sections of 10%, before eventually reaching the Passo di Bordola climb.
The Giro will then climb Monte Bondone from the Aldeno side which features sections of up to 15%.
It's very much a day for the overall favourites as they look to either extend their overall lead in the pink jersey, or grab crucial seconds before the Dolomites stage later in the week.
Stage 17, Pergine Valsugana - Caorle 192 km
The almost entirely flat stage 17 will provide a much welcome recovery day for the overall favourites as well as one final opportunity before Rome for the sprinters.
All 192 kilometres should be completely stress free before a bunch kick to the line in Caorle.
The team's of the race leader and other riders in the top 10 will be looking to keep their main men out of trouble ahead of the mountains to come.
Stage 18, Oderzo - Val di Zoldo 160 km
Stage 18 is a relatively short but intense mountain stage to Val di Zoldo featuring 3,700 metres of elevation gain and a real warm up to the following days Queen Stage.
The riders will take on the Cansiglio climb before taking on the Forcella Cibiani and the final climb to Coi (which features 4 kilometres over 10%, peaking at a brutal total of 19%).
After the riders have summited Coi, there will be just five kilometres for any lone leader to press on to the line.
Stage 19, Longarone - Tre Cime di Lavaredo 182 km
Stage 19 is undeniably the Queen Stage of the 2023 Giro and rightly so.
It features more than 5,400 metres of climbing across some seriously challenging terrain in the heart of the Dolomites on some prestigious Giro climbs.
The race finishes on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo summit with its slopes of 18% and higher which last featured in the Italian grand tour in 2013.
Nibali won in the snow that day and whoever comes out on top after the Campalongo, Valporala and Passo Giau may just write their own name into Giro d'Italia and cycling history.
Stage 20, Tarvisio - Monte Lussari (ITT) 18.6 km
Stage 20 is the final of three time trial stages at the 2023 race and is unbelievably hard.
The mountain time trial from Tarvisio to Monte Lussari includes more than 1,050 metres of elevation gain on the monstrous climb to the sanctuary on the summit. The first 10 kilometres of the stage is on a flat cycle path on the approach to Monte Lussari.
However, once the riders are onto the climb the flatter section will soon be forgotten. The first 4.8 kilometres of the mountain reach approximately 15% which the race organisers say is similar to the middle section of the mythical Zoncolan climb.
If they haven't already won the stage in the Dolomites, whoever is wearing the Maglia Rosa on stage 20 will be itching to take the stage honours in the jersey to cement their overall win.
Stage 21, Roma - Roma 115 km
After a long three weeks the Giro finally reaches its grand finale on the streets of Rome.
It's only the fifth time that Rome has hosted the finishing stage of the Giro d'Italia and the 49th stage finish in the capital.
The finish line of the final circuit-style stage is near to the Imperial Forums and Colosseum ensuring that the overall winner and wearer of the Maglia Rosa is presented with the trophy in style.
In what will very much be a race of attrition suited to the strongest of gladiators, the winner of the 2023 edition will be the last man standing in the streets of Rome.
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