Giro d'Italia 2023 stage 12 preview - the first test in the Alps

Stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia is a great day to get into the breakaway as the sprinters and GC contenders have little incentive to chase

Distance: 179km
Start location: Bra
Finish location: Rivoli
Start time: 12:30 CEST
Finish time (approx): 17:14 CEST

One of the pleasures of the Giro d’Italia is how it travels across a nation famous for its cuisine, sampling each region’s own proud speciality on the way. The race is as much a treat for culinary connoisseurs as it is for cycling enthusiasts, and you get a real sense for each locality’s specific culture in their favourite dish.

Celebrating and preserving traditional local cooking is at the heart of the Slow Food movement, an organisation that was founded by Carlo Petrini, one of the most famous residents of stage twelve’s host town of Bra. Formed in the 1980s as a response to the culture of fast food, Slow Food emphasises the importance of the local ecosystem in terms of what we eat as well as small business over mass production, and has since become popular worldwide. 

Petrini also established the University of Gastronomic Sciences in the town during the 2000s, further increasing Bra’s culinary status. As for Bra’s own speciality, Salsiccia di Bra is the signature foodstuff, a veal sausage that’s eaten raw, as well the local cheese which is celebrated every two years in an international festival organised by Slow Food. And for dessert, why not try some Rivolotto biscuits invented by bakers in today’s destination of Rivoli? 

Stage 12 profile sourced on the Giro d'Italia website 

The stage begins with lumpy, undulating terrain, as the riders wind their way around the many twists and turns of the Alba vineyards. The long descent of the category three Pedaggera and change in direction towards a north-westerly trajectory simplifies matters, though, and the riders will subsequently enjoy almost 100km of flat terrain through the Po planes.

Any hope the sprinters might have had for contesting this one will be scuppered by the inclusion of the Colle Braida, however. Technically this climb will be the riders first experience of the Alps at this year’s Giro, located as it is in the mountain range’s southwestern region called the Cottian Alps. And it's harder than any of the climbs tackled so far this week, lasting a total of 9.8km with an average gradient of 7.1%. A brief downhill respite 5km up is followed by the hardest half of the climb, which rises at 8.1% for 5km.

No specialist sprinters are still going to be in contention by its summit, but at the same time it is not conveniently situated to ignite a GC battle. After descending for about 10km, there is still almost another 20km left to ride before arriving at the finish in Rivoli, which will disincentivize the pink jersey contenders from attacking the climb. With neither sprinters’ teams nor those representing GC riders having much incentive to chase, therefore, this looks like a great day to get into the breakaway, and there will likely be a big battle to do so on the rolling roads at the start of the stage. 


With its rolling parcours and tough climb close to the finish, today's stage is best suited to the breakaway. There is a considerable amount of elevation gain throughout the stage, but the final battle for victory will take place on the Colle Braida, the last climb of the day, before the flat run-in to the finish. 

Stage winner Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) will be a favourite for today's stage. He soloed to victory on stage eight after a killer attack on the Cappuccini, leaving the rest of the breakaway group behind. So far in this Giro, no rider has had more than one stage win, but with the Irishman in good form, he could become the first to achieve that feat. His teammate Magnus Cort also succeeded in the breakaway on stage 10, making him another rider from the American team who could secure a double victory.

Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) will be looking to redeem himself after a heartbreaking day last week on stage six, as he aims for the Grand Tour grand slam (stage wins at all three Grand Tours). Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco Alula) will also be hoping for another chance after two failed attempts at taking the top spot. However, in the long breakaway battle during stage 10 alongside Cort and Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) (another rider who could be in contention today) De Marchi had nothing left in the tank to beat his rivals in the final sprint. The experienced Italian will need to go for a long attack if he wants a different outcome in stage 12.

Previous maglia rosa wearer, Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), could finally get his stage win today if he manages to get in the breakaway, just as he did on stage four. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) has also been trying to get into a number of breakaways so far this race, but his attempts have never amounted to much, today could be the day the American has his day. Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo) and Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck) will also be riders to watch who might want to get into the breakaway, while Michael Matthews (Jayco-Alula) could also be climbing well enough to give himself a chance in stage 12.


We think that Ben Healy could get his second stage win of the race today. The Irishman has been climbing well and looks to be on fantastic form, he also has the team around him to help him to victory.

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