When the route for the 2023 Giro d’Italia was announced earlier this week, the most striking thing about it was the drastic increase in time trialling.
There will be three time trials in total, with a flat 18.4km opening stage in Abruzzio, an 18.6km mountain time trial in Friuli-Venezia Giulia on the penultimate stage, and a lengthy 33.6km ITT in Emilia Romagna at the end of the first week. Added all together, that makes for a total of 70.6 time trialling kilometres — the most of any Giro since the 2013 edition, and almost three times as many as at last year’s.
The trend in recent seasons has been for less time trialling to be included in Grand Tours, so this significant reversal will give an entirely different crop of riders the chance to fight for the maglia rosa.
While even the toughest mountain top finishes often see the top GC contenders separated by a matter of seconds, those who also specialise against the clock have the opportunity to make gains in these time trial stages that could be decisive in determining the fate of the pink jersey.
Map and route
Of course, this being the Giro d’Italia, there’s still plenty of climbing to account for. Summit finishes in the Apennines, the Alps and the Dolomites provide plenty of opportunities for climbers to attack, and those who aren’t confident with their time trialling will be eager to use every opportunity to make gains where the terrain suits them. The final week, in particular, looks primed for fireworks.
Prior to that, the riders will make their way gradually up north through the country following the Grande Partenza in Abruzzio. There will be plenty of stages for the sprinters along the way, but perhaps not as many as it might seem at first glance — many of the days with flat finales feature a substantial amount of climbing earlier on, which could play into the hands of breakaways.
And for the first time since 2018, the Giro will finish in the nation’s capital of Rome, having alternated between Milan and Verona in recent years.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage one: Fossacesia > Ortona, 18.4km
The first Maglia Rosa of the 2023 edition will be worn by whichever time trialist can complete this mostly flat (apart from an uphill final kilometre) 18km course along the Abruzzo coastline the quickest.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage two: Teramo > San Salvo, 204km
A few small hills during the opening half of the first road stage of the Giro are unlikely to be enough to prevent a bunch sprint on the San Salvo promenade.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage three: Vasto > Melfi, 210km
Whether or not stage three ends in another bunch sprint will depend upon whether the sprinters can survive the late climbs inside the final 35km, or if any puncheurs can successfully break away on them.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage four: Venosa > Lago Laceno, 184km
An early stern test in the Apennines, stage four undulates throughout the day, including three classified climbs and a near-summit finish at Lago Laceno.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage five: Atripalda > Salerno, 172km
A front-loaded parcours with rolling roads during its first half, there’s a chance for an early breakaway to build a big enough lead to make it to the finish.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage six: Napoli > Napoli, 156km
The shortest road stage of the race (aside from the finale in Rome) features some tough climbing in its first half, but a flat final 50km to the finish in Napoli.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage seven: Capua > Gran Sasso d'Italia, 218km
The first real mountain top finish in the Abruzzo Apennines, stage seven finishes over 2000m above sea level atop the very long Campo Imperatore climb.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage eight: Terni > Fossombrone, 207km
A series of short, steep climbs inside the final 60km make stage eight one for the puncheurs, and possibly a chance for some more GC action.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage nine: Savignano sul Rubicone > Cesena (Technogym Village), 33.6km
The first week comes to an end with one of the most important stages of the race, a 33.6km individual time trial in Emilia-Romagna, that, with its pan flat parcours, will be unforgiving to any GC contenders with weaknesses against the clock.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 10: Scandiano > Viareggio, 190km
A gradual slog up to the summit of the Passo delle Radici makes stage 10 a complicated one for the sprinters to remain in contention for, but the 108km of downhill and flat that follows will aid them.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 11: Camaiore > Tortona, 218 km
The joint-longest stage of the race isn’t likely to see much action, with just three small climbs for the sprinters to worry about.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 12: Bra > Rivoli, 179km
The Colle Braida isn’t as difficult as the proper Alpine tests awaiting in the coming days, but will be enough to determine the winner of stage 12.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 13: Borgofranco d’Ivrea > Crans Montana, 208km
The riders cross the border into Switzerland for one of the hardest stages of the Giro, featuring this year’s Cima Coppi of Col du Grand Saint-Bernard as the first of three massive mountains.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 14: Sierre > Cassano Magnago, 194km
After getting the Passo del Sempione out of the way just 56km into the stage, there’s nothing to test the riders prior to the finish at Cassano Magnago.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 15: Seregno > Bergamo, 191km
The second week closes with a hilly stage in the same territory as the Il Lombardia monument.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 16: Sabbio Chiese > Monte Bondone, 198km
Beginning a final week stuffed with mountains, stage 16 features over 5,000m of climbing, including a summit finish at Monte Bondone.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 17: Pergine Valsugana > Caorle, 192km
The one moment of respite during the last week, this is the flattest stage of the Giro and should be nailed-on for a bunch sprint.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 18: Oderzo > Val di Zoldo, 160km
The steep slopes of the new climb to Coi provide an air of intrigue and mystery to the finale of stage 18, even if it is shorter than the other mountain stages.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 19: Longarone > Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Rif. Auronzo), 182km
With a total of five mountains in the iconic landscape of the Dolomites, amounting to a total elevation gain of 5,400m, this is the queen stage of the 2023 Giro.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 20: Tarvisio > Monte Lussari, 18.6km
Unlike the other two time trials, stage 20 offers something for the climbers, with the last 7 of its 18 kilometres spent climbing the steep Monte Lussari.
Giro d'Italia 2022 - stage 21: Roma > Roma, 115km
A very long transfer takes the riders from Tarviso in the far north-east, to Rome, to finish the Giro with a circuit stage around its historical streets for a likely sprint finish.