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GIRO’23: The PEZ Stage-by-Stage Corsa Preview

The Italian 2023 Tour Route

Giro’23 Preview: Last week, RCS Sport announced the Giro d’Italia route for the 2023 edition. Of the three Grand Tours, ‘La Corsa Rosa’ is for the true followers of cycle racing and so who better than PEZ Grand Tour expert, Ed Hood, to give us his thoughts on the percorso.

Ed’s Scottish weather doesn’t make you think of the Amalfi Coast

October in Scotland, the days are getting shorter, the sky spends a lot of time as an unhappy shade of grey, the temperature is dropping and winter is close; la Bella Italia in balmy May seems a long way off. But the Giro organisers have gifted us the details of the 2023 ‘Pink Race’ to add some colour to that grey above our heads.

And not just any Giro, this 106th edition, whilst it’s not yet cast in tablets of stone seems very much like it will have a certain Remco Evenepoel on the start sheet; with the first stage as one where he could certainly end it in pink.

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Has the 2023 Giro been designed for Remco?

The race starts with a chrono in Fossacesia Marina in the Abruzzo, by the Adriatic; if you take the train to Roma it takes six hours and eight minutes to cover the 173 kilometres.
But this adventure takes 23 days and covers 3449 kilometres, gaining some 51,300 metres of altitude in the process to reach the, ‘Eternal City.’

Giro d’Italia 2023

The percorso can be summarised thus: five grand mountain stages, five hilly days, a possible eight sprint stages and three individual time-trials.


Stage One: is a chrono, 18.4 kilometres on the Ciclovia dei Trabocchi – a cycle path along the course of the former ‘Ferrovia Adriatica’ railway line. There was a day when we could have pencilled ‘Pippo’ Ganna’s name in as winner; but that lift to the line should be right up Remco’s Ciclovia.

Stage 1 uphill finish TT

Stage Two: 204K coastal with some ‘blips’ but it has ‘SPRINTER STAGE’ written all over it. Because the ‘chronomen’ will have opened a decent gap on Stage One it’s unlikely we’ll see a sprinter grab pink, even with time bonuses.

The Best of Abruzzo

Stage Three: 200K plus again; flat but with a late blip sure to see off the sprinters who can’t climb the aptly named ‘Monte Vulture’ – the last 20K will be frantic as those dropped on the climb try to get back in contention.

Stage 2 and 3 profiles

Stage Four: 184K through the Apennines with 3,500m of elevation, the right man in the right break could stake a big claim on the climbers’ jersey today.

3,500 metres of climbing on stage 4

Stage Five: 172K, lumpy and bumpy early but a 40K drop to the line means that a sprint finish looks on the cards.

Stage 5 – A day for the sprinters

Stage Six: 156K and another for the sprinters (?) with that long, flat run into Napoli – but you know what many Italians say; ‘Naples is not Italy’but the PEZ might say different, after seeing the 2013 Giro Grand Depart here.

The Italian Press are already calling this stage the most beautiful in the world – with Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and Vesuvius they have a point.

Stage 6: Vesuvius – Up Pompeii

Stage Seven: 218K with the last 60 dragging all the way to the line atop the Gran Sasso d’Italia – the Big Stone of Italy – at 2,135 metres; whilst every day is a GC day, this one REALLY is a GC day – one you can lose the Giro on.

Stage 7: A day to lose the Giro

Stage Eight: 207K and one for the breakaway and no doubt frisky GC guys will have a stab on the Salita dei Cappuccini which comes very late in the day.

Stage 8 profile

Stage Nine: 33.6K against the watch and pan flat – Pippo? Remco? They’ll both be on 60 rings. . .

Ganna will be on the 60 tooth chainring, but he won’t be in a rainbow jersey

Monday 15th: Rest Day One – thankfully no ‘pretend’ first Monday rest day to allow for some mad transfer.

The Giro d'Italia pink jersey will fly on Tuesday in stage 4 up the climb of the active volcano of Etna, Sicily. The jersey will probably fly out of the grasp of present leader, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step). Pic:LaPresse - Spada.
Giro rest day – time to wash those jerseys

Stage 10: 190K tough early but the sprinters’ teams will be refreshed after the first rest day and it could well end up in a sprint – OR an escape artist might launch on the blip with 18K to ride?

Stage 10 for the sprinters? Maybe

Stage 11: 218K, the longest stage of the race, there are hills but with 40 plus K downhill to the line is looks certain to be a sprint.  PEZ love the Ligurian coast, and has personally inspected the Passo del Bracco – it’s a lovely ride, but don’t expect it to impact the race at all.

Sprint or…

Stage 12: 179K for the breakaway; if they can survive over the Colle Braida summit with 28K to go then the fast run to the finish should be enough for them to make it.

The ‘Break of the Day’ could go all the way

Stage 13: 208K and the Cima Coppi, excuse me; ‘GRUPPETTO!’ sorry, where was I? Ah yes, Switzerland and the Colle del Gran San Bernardo, this year’s Cima Coppi at 2,469 metres, [snow permitting, that is] then the 15K ascent of the Croix de Coeur which tops 2100 metres, with the finish atop Crans Montana – a BIG GC day.

Fausto would be happy on stage 13

Stage 14: 194K, the break will go on the big, early climb of the Simplon Pass but then with 140K predominantly flat or downhill it’s hard to see them surviving.

Stage 14 map and profile

Stage 15: 191K and a mini il Lombardia, a breakaway day for sure.

A little Lombardy

Monday 22nd: Rest Day Two

Giro'15 St.16: Looking head to tomorrow's first big climbing day, team mechanics spent today's Rest Day swapping cassettes to 28's and 32's - essential gear for the 12km of 11% slopes on the Mortorilo. Read PEZ's Top Ride on the beast here.
Get those big sprockets ready for the final week

Stage 16: 194K flat early then five tough ascents, not the day for a ‘giornata no,’ another day when your GC hopes can evaporate over those 5,000 metres of ascents.

But another stage which has felt to PEZ presence – back in 2006 il Capo himself climbed to the top on a day when Ivan Basso destroyed the rest of the race.

A tough stage after the rest day

Stage 17: 192K and pan flat – a tough day for the doomed break and the commentators. . .

I think you can guess – Sprint

Stage 18: 160K a hard, hard day with the break damned by the GC battle in the finale, which includes a new climb, the second last ascent to Coi, a tough one – the boys in the gruppetto best watch that time cut today.

Who will take the wine on stage 18?

Stage 19: 182K in the Dolomites with five savage ascents and arguably the ‘Queen Stage.’ The last time Dave and I were on the Tre Cime finish climb there was a blizzard with winner, Vincenzo Nibali’s maglia rosa caked with snow – ‘well hard, old school!’

The weather on stage 19 could be crucial

Stage 20: 18.6K and those of us who love chronos are spoiled as we get our third of the race in what the organisers say is a ‘Zoncolan replica,’ the GC could well be decided on this beast of an ascent.

Will Remco be in pink at the end of the day?

Stage 21: 115K in the ‘Roma crit’ with pink everything the order of the day for the winner.

Final stage 21 in Roma

Six stages over 200K, 50,000 metres plus of climbing, 70K of time tests, no ‘gimmick’ stages – we like it!


Remco? Roglic? or will Jai surprise us again?

Giro d’Italia 2023 Stages 06 May to 18 May 2023:
Stage 1: Fossacesia Marina – Ortona (18.4 km, ITT)
Stage 2: Teramo – San Salvo (204 km)
Stage 3: Vasto – Melfi (210 km)
Stage 4: Venosa – Lago Laceno (184 km)
Stage 5: Atripalda – Salerno (172 km)
Stage 6: Naples – Naples (156 km)
Stage 7: Capua – Campo Imperatore/Gran Sasso d’Italia (218 km)
Stage 8: Terni – Fossombrone (207 km)
Stage 9: Savignano sul Rubicone – Cesena (33.6km, ITT)
15/05 – Rest day
Stage 10: Scandiano – Viareggio (190 km)
Stage 11: Camaiore – Tortona (218 km)
Stage 12: Bra – Rivoli (179 km)
Stage 13: Borgofranco d’Ivrea – Crans-Montana (208 km)
Stage 14: Sierre – Cassano Magnago (194 km)
Stage 15: Seregno – Bergamo (191 km)
22/05 – Rest day
Stage 16: Sabbio Chiese – Monte Bondone (198 km)
Stage 17: Pergine Valsugana – Caorle (192 km)
Stage 18: Oderzo – Zoldo Alto/Val di Zoldo (160 km)
Stage 19: Longarone – Tre Cime di Lavaredo (182 km)
Stage 20: Tarvisio – Monte Lussari (18.6 km, ITT)
Stage 21: Rome – Rome (115 km).

# Stay PEZ for ‘Everything Pink’. You can read about the announcement of the Giro’23 route HERE. #

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