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Sunday 28 May – 21st ROUTE: ROME-ROME *|126km, altitude gain 500m

Cannnonbal’s 17th Giro win closes out the Pink Race on a high note

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) won the final stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia with a sumptuous sprint, worthy of the setting of the Fori Imperiali, the scene of today’s finish. The 126-kilometer-long Roman stage, equally divided between round trip from EUR to Ostia Lido and a spectacular city circuit among the millennial monuments of the eternal city, was lived in anticipation of the final sprint, dominated by Cannonball who, for a day, seemed to be back to the one from the days when he won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen in the 2011 world championship. The Isle of Man champion thus greeted the pink race with his 17th partial victory, 15 years and 15 days after his first, taken at the finish line in Catanzaro on May 13, 2008. In the place of honor was Luxembourg’s Alex Kirsch (Trek Segafredo), who finished ahead of Italy’s Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project Bradiani CSF Falzanè). Not taking part in the final sprint was Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), who had gained the arithmetic certainty of the cyclamen jersey on the previous passage across the finish line, valid for the points classification, in which the die-hard Canadian Derek Gee (Israel PremierTech), the only one who could still overtake him, only finished fifth.
Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) won the 106th Giro d’Italia. The Olympic time trial champion thus added the pink race to the three Vuelta Espanas already on his palmares. In second place, spaced out by only 14″, was Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), winner of the 2018 Tour de France, who was defeated by the champion from Trbovlje only after the exciting head-to-head battle that took place yesterday in the Mount Lussari time trial. Third, as well as winner of the white jersey of the youth classification, came Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), 1’15″ behind the Slovenian. In fourth place, at 4’40″ from Roglic, came the best of the Italians, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), who was ahead of Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), fifth at 5’43″. The transalpine, like Cavendish at the final season of his career, also took the blue jersey of best climber of the Giro.
At the end of the race, for the first time in 106 editions, it was the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who presented the Trofeo senza Fine to the winner Primoz Roglic, the first Slovenian to win the Giro d’Italia. We hope this gesture marks the beginning of a splendid new tradition. Full results here

The 106th Giro d’Italia is coming to an end and hits the Italian capital for the grand finale with the fascinating catwalk to the Fori Imperiali. The stage kicks off from the EUR district to close in Via dei Fori Imperiali after 126 km. In the first part we ride out and back along Via Cristoforo Colombo to reach the sea (Ostia) and return towards the centre of Rome where they will pass the finish line – placed as in 2018 in Via dei Fori Imperiali, on the sanpietrini (cobblestones). Here begins the final circuit of 13.6 km does repeat 6 times.

The route will touch a number of historical landmarks such as the ‘Homeland Altar’, the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, and it will cross the Tiber to transit alongside Castel Sant’Angelo and also runs a short stretch of Via della Conciliazione with a view of St. Peter’s Basilica. At this point, still following the course of the Tiber, one heads to the Circus Maximus to make a loop around the Baths of Caracalla and back to the Imperial Forum. The presence of multiple sections in sanpietrini (cobblestones) and the circuit tortuosity are there to make the sprinters life a little more complicated. Bookmakers Favourites: J MILAN 2, A DAINESE 4, P ACKERMANN 8, F GAVIRIA 8, M CAVENDISH 8, A MARIT 14, M MATTHEWS 19.

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From 6 to 28 May, 51,400 metres of altitude gain and 3,489.2 kilometres, from Abruzzo to Friuli, the return of the uphill time trial, the difficult Monte Lussari with the grand finale in Rome.

8 stages for sprinters, three time trials for a total of 70.6 km, 7 mountain stages with as many uphill finishes including the uphill time trial of Mount Lussari, and 4 tough, very treacherous stages will be the menu of this 106th Giro d’Italia, which offers 51,300 metres of elevation gain in its total of 3,448.6 kilometres to cover. The start is in Abruzzo with an individual time trial on the cycle track of the Trabocchi coast and the grand finale in Rome where the Corsa Rosa will finish for the fifth time in its history. The only trespassing of the Giro will be in Switzerland with the uphill arrival in Crans Montana that will have in the stage the Cima Coppi of this Giro: the Colle del Gran San Bernardo with its 2,469 metres.

Stage by stage: expected difficulty from * to *****

Saturday 6 May – 1ST STAGE: COSTA DEI TRABOCCHI (FOSSACESIA MARINA-ORTONA) **| 19.6 km, altitude gain 100m

Remco Evenepoel dominates the opening time trial of the Giro

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Flemish Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) won the opening stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, a 19,600-meter time trial from Fossacesia Marina to Ortona along the Costa dei Trabocchi in Abruzzo. The Belgian national time trial champion covered the distance in a time of 21’18”, at a phantasmagorical average of 55.211 kmh, beating Italian Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) by 22″ and Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) by 29″. The other aspirants for the final success blamed far larger gaps: Londoner Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), fourth at 40″, did better than his captain, Welshman Geraint Thomas who finished ninth at 55″, while Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), sixth at 43″, was disappointed. Australian Jay Vine, seventh at 46″, and U.S. Brandon McNulty, eighth at 48″, completed the excellent day for UAE Team Emirates, the only team to place three riders in the top 10. Tomorrow in the second stage, also entirely on Abruzzo soil, from Teramo to San Salvo. The 202km route includes a couple of fourth-category GPMs in the first half but then is flat and should be decided by the best sprinters in the peloton. The only real risk for the fast wheels are the stretch of long, waterfront straights where if the wind blows sideway could shatter the peloton into several parts.

The Giro d’Italia, for the second time in its history after 2001, will start from the Abruzzo Region. The 19.6-kilometer first time-trial stage, on Saturday 6 May, will be almost entirely on the Ciclovia dei Trabocchi (Trabocchi cycle route), which follows the disused Adriatic railway. Starting from Fossacesia Marina, the first part is entirely flat with views of the trabocchi – the ancient fishing machines – and the sea as far as the port of Ortona where the road climbs for just over 1 km to the finish in the city centre.

The test is bound to dig important gaps right away, starting with the almost 17 km completely flat that precedes the final ascent, 1150 meters at 5.4 percent (max 8 percent) and ends 1700 meters from the finish line. The latter will probably be more decisive: it will be essential to immediately relaunch the action in the slightly downhill section, then to face the sharp left bend that leads into the last 950 meters again on a slight climb. Bookmakers favourites: F Ganna 2, R Evenepoel 3, S Kung 6, P Roglic 8.

Sunday 7 May – 2ND STAGE: TERAMO-SAN SALVO * | 202 km, altitude gain 1400m

Irresistible Milan! The first Giro sprinter goes to the Italian.

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Olympic team pursuit champion Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) won the second stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia 202-kilometer stage, completely on Abruzzo soil, from Teramo to San Salvo. The armor-bearer from Tolmezzo, 194 cm in stature, sprinted well ahead of Dutchman David Dekker (Team Arkea Samsic) and Flemish Arne Marit (Intermarchè Circus Wanty), imposing himself on the long, wide final straight. World champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) retained the pink jersey in the context of a slightly changed classification due to a crash with 3,700 meters to go that broke the peloton. In fact, he lost 19″ to Englishman Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers). Evenepoel was followed by Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) 22″ behind, Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), third at 29″, Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), fourth at 43″, and Geraint Thomas,
Not even time to lower the checkered flag that a breakaway of five riders took shape: Frenchmen Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën) and Thomas Champion (Cofidis) along with Italians Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec) and Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-Samsic). The attack, always kept under control by the peloton, sterilely consumed a good 160 kilometers of the stage.
With the peloton once again compact, at minus 35 from the finish the fight between the sprinters’ teams had begun to gain the leading positions for the final sprint. With 3.7 kilometers to go, 700 meters before the neutralization came into effect, a crash on the right side of the peloton, around the 30th position, caused it to fracture into two sections. Alpecin-Deceuninck remained the only team with a fully operational train. Of this, however, the formation’s sprinter, Australian Kaden Groves, was unable to take advantage. On the contrary, it was he, 300 meters from the final banner, who opened the dances by leading the way for Milan, who won with an imperial sprint
Tomorrow will see the third stage along the 213 kilometers that will take the riders from Vasto to Melfi in Basilicata. The first 170, imperceptibly uphill, will be anything but selective. At minus 43 from the finish, the Valico di Monticchio Bagni, which will be followed immediately by the Valico La Croce, will open hostilities in the peloton by posing presumable difficulties for the pure sprinters. Without excluding the possibility of a breakaway from afar, the hypothesis of the success of a finisseur at the end of the undulated final that precedes the finish seems the most likely solution.

A stage suitable for sprinters, with a start in Teramo and an undulating route in the first part a few mild ascents (Bellante, Controguerra and Colonnella). It then follows the coast with some inland excursions to climb Silvi Paese (GPM; 3.5 km at 5.6 percent), Chieti (TV; about 4.5 km at 6 percent) and Ripa Teatina (GPM; 1.9 km at 5.7 percent), all placed in the middle of the stage. After reaching the seafront again, the last 45 km continues along the coast all the way (apart from the gush toward Punta Penna placed 17 km from the finish) to San Salvo. The flat final kilometres are essentially straight with the last roundabout 1,400 m before the final 1 km long straight. Bookmakers favourites: M Pedersen 3, F Gaviria 4, K Groves 5, M Cavendish 8, A Dainese 12.

Monday 8 May – 3RD STAGE: VASTO-MELFI *** | 213 km, altitude gain 1400m

Matthews edges Pedersen in a thrilling sprint

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

The Australian Michael Matthews (Team Jayco AlUla) won the third stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia from Vasto to Melfi along 213 kilometres initially flat and then with climbs towards the end. At the end of an exciting head-to-head, the Canberra rider preceded the Danish Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) with another Australian Kaden Groves (Alpecin Deceuninck) who conquered the third place. For Matthews this is the third partial victory in the Corsa Rosa.
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) maintained the lead of the classification, also gaining 3” at the intermediate sprint in Rapolla where he preceded Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) who gained 2″. The world champion, thanks to the time lost today by Filippo Ganna ( Ineos Grenadiers), now leads the standings with a margin of 32″ over the Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) with the Slovenian now third at 44″.
Today’s stage was enlivened by the instantaneous attack of the Corratec Selle Italia duo made up of the Italian Alexander Konyshev, son of the legendary Dimitri and the Serbian Velijko Stojnic. The couple, who soon gained almost seven minutes on the group, were then resumed at minus 45 from the finish line at the foot of the first of the two climbs of the day, the Valico di Monticchio Bagni.
On this ascent Team Jayco AlUla took control of the race with the Italian champion, Filippo Zana setting the pace, eliminating the pure sprinters, as well as sending Ganna into a crisis. The French Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) was first on the summit, then rounding the next Valico La Croce conquering the Maglia Azzurra of leader of the climbers. On the descent towards the finish line, Almeida slipped and returned promptly, and Mads Pedersen reigned the lead of the race after loosing ground on the second climb. In the final sprint, Matthews managed to stay ahead of Pedersen, presumably anticipating the duel for the point Maglia Ciclamino that will accompany us in the next three weeks.
With the fourth stage scheduled for tomorrow, the race will travel from Venosa to Lago Laceno along 175 kms characterized by the absolute lack of flat sections. After 64 km of continuous ups and downs, you will climb to the 1,136 meters of Passo delle Crocelle, 2 category GPM, and then after a downhill section climb again towards the intermediate sprint of Muro Lucano, and the Monte Carruozzo pass, still 2nd category. At this point there will be 65 kilometers to go. After a new descent, followed by a hilly section, the group will reach Molella from which they will begin the climb towards Colle Molella. The GPM, will be the prelude to the finish, placed after 3,000 meters of plain.

Tomorrow will only be the 3rd day of the race, but it is already time to test the climbs. Departure from Vasto and arrival in Melfi in a stage clearly divided into two distintive parts: the first 170 km up to the entrance to Basilicata is completely flat, on wide and mostly fast‑flow roads, with a few mild bends, before meeting the Vulture mountains.

The road that leads through the Valico dei Laghi di Monticchio to the lakes is intricate, with 6.3 km at 6.4%, although the first pedalable section masks the real insidiousness of 4 km at 7.5% with peaks above 10%. A flat section alongside the lakes of about 4.5 km will follow, before the route climbs again to Valico la Croce with 2.6 km at 7.6%. The subsequent descent is almost 15 km long and once reaches Rapolla, the remaining dozen kilometres will be a continuous up and down all the way to Melfi. After a short climb to the centre of Melfi, The road descends after the last km, then becomes flat again after a left turn 750 meters from the finish line; the last right turn leads into the final straight of 350 meters uphill again at 5%. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 2, M Matthews 3, J Milan 6, K Groves 6, M Cort Nielsen 12, P Roglic 14.

Tuesday 9 May – 4th STAGE: VENOSA-LAGO LACENO *** | 175 km, altitude gain 3500m

France’s Paret-Peintre wins Giro stage 4 and Ineos pressure isolates Evenepoel. Leknessund takes pink.

Frenchman Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën Team) won the fourth stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia from Venosa to Lago Laceno, a 175-kilometer stage characterized by continuous ups and downs. Behind the transalpine came, distanced by 2″ in a sprint, Norwegian Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), followed by the duo consisting of Latvian Tom Skujins (Trek Segafredo) and Italian Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO Kometa), who crossed the finish line 57″ behind. The Viking, with today’s place of honor, took the pink jersey, thus becoming the second Norwegian in history, after Knut Knudsen in 1981, to wear the top symbol. The Scandinavian will start from Atripalda tomorrow with a 28-second lead over world champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) with today’s winner, Paret-Peintre, up half a minute in third.
The stage at the beginning, was characterized by a swirling pace that did not allow the long-awaited breakaway of the day to emerge. Finally, after 70 kilometers, on the descent of the Crocelle Pass, after Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), passing first at the summit, had consolidated his blue jersey as leader of the climbers, an action of seven riders took shape: Norwegian Andreas Leknessund, Frenchmen Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Warren Barguil (Team Arkéa Samsic), Italians Vincenzo Albanese and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Eritrean Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Latvian Tom Skujins (Trek – Segafredo).
Evenepoel had no interest in saving the pink jersey, and at minus 30 from the finish, the escapees’ lead reached a margin of 5’48. At this point, Soudal Quick Step stamped an acceleration that allowed the peloton to recover a minute. The price paid for this effort was, however, very high: at the start of the last asperity of the day, the Molella Pass 10 km from the finish, Remco found himself isolated, surrounded by his rivals all accompanied by their faithful squires.
On the last climb, the Ineos Grenadiers towed the top group vehemently laying bare the shortcomings, in large stage races, of the Wolfpack. Ahead, meanwhile, the seven breakaways one after another gave way, in order, Barguil, Conci, Albanese, Ghebreigzabhier and Skujins. At the finish, in accordance with unwritten cycling tradition, the division of the cake with Leknessund, paid for winning the pink jersey, leaving the victory to Paret-Peintre. The top group came in at 2’01”.
Tomorrow the fifth stage will be staged. From Atripalda to Salerno the riders will be expected to cover 171 kilometers, not without difficulties in the first part of the route. From minus 100 from the finish, the course will be always flat until the finish in Naples.

Altimetria/Profile Stage 4 Giro d’Italia 2023

The first Apennine stage goes over a series of asperities to accumulate 3500 metres of altitude difference, the one from Venosa to Lago Laceno, the first uphill finish of the Giro. A stage across the Apennines, taking in two long and manageable ascents up the mountains of Basilicata. The stage will start practically already uphill, potentially making the first kilometers and the eventual start of the morning breakaway very complicated. Basically there is no respite for almost 30 km, until Lagopesole, where a relatively long downhill section begins, followed by a handful of flat km. You then arrive at the foot of the first long climb (some 20 km) at Passo delle Crocelle: after a first section of nearly 5 km, the 13.6 km climb at 4.3 percent. This is followed by a long, very technical descent of 20 km, then a very short section of valley terrein before the next climb: we arrive at the Valico di Monte Caruozzo with a total of 19.9 km at 3.8%, divided into two uphill sections with steeper gradients (averaging between 5% and 7%). Another long and treacherous descent leads to the easiest sector of the course, which leads to the last 15 kms.

The course gets tricky again with the tear towards the flying finish in Montella (about 1 km at 5/6%), immediately followed by a short descent and the entrance to the final climb of Colle Molella. The climb as a whole is made up of 6 km at 6.2 percent, but the crucial point where the tussle could break out will be the last 5 km, with decidedly steeper gradients; within these is especially noteworthy the stretch of over 3 km that almost never gives up double digits (9.4 percent average). in fact, past Bagnoli Irpino, the route ascends in hairpins for 3 km, with gradients around 10% and peaking out at 12%. The summit is exactly 3 km from the finish, of which only the first 700 meters will be downhill. Bookmakers Favourites: P Roglic 8, R Evenepoel 8, S Buitrago 10, B Healy 14, B Mc Nulty 16, L Kamna 16, T Pinot 16, L Fortunato 16.

Wednesday 10 May – 5TH STAGE: ATRIPALDA-SALERNO ** | 171 km, altitude gain 2400m

Rain, crashes and Groves’s victory

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Australian Kaden Groves (Alpecin Deceuninck) won the 171-kilometer fifth stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia from Atripalda to Salerno, which was held in incessant rain. The Australian sprinter gave his country its second partial success in this edition of the Corsa Rosa after the victory of Michael Matthews (Team Jayco AlUla) in Melfi, he preceded Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) with Danish Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) third. Norwegian Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) retained the pink jersey keeping his lead unchanged over Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step), still second at 28″ ahead of yesterday’s winner, Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen), third at half a minute.
The dominant theme of the day was the rain that gave no respite to the riders. Before the start, news came of three retirements, Ramon Sinkeldam (Alpecin Deceuninck), Remy Rochas (Cofidis) and Valerio Conti (Corratec Selle Italia) who joined Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroen). With the wet roads, there was no shortage of crashes that, in particular, did not spare Evenepoel who ended up on the ground twice: at the start of the race, after 19 kilometers, due to a dog that crossed his path, and 1,900 meters from the finish in the second general tumble of the group in the last 10 kilometers. Four immediately went away at the start: Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec Selle Italia), Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project Bardiani CSF Faizanè), and Thomas Champions (Cofidis). Pinot’s interest was limited: having conquered the Passo Serra GPM, strengthening his leadership in the climbers’ classification, the transalpine climber reeled back in, leaving the other attackers alone in the attack. The trio quickly increased their lead to three minutes before the inevitable reaction of the peloton produced a slow and inexorable erosion of the margin. With 25 kilometers to go, just after the flying finish line in Battipaglia, and with the lead reduced to just one minute, Zoccarato attempted a solo. The cyclist managed to hold on 18 kilometers, being absorbed by the group with 7 kilometres to the finish line. At this point, in a bend, the soggy asphalt caused a crash around the tenth position that shattered the peloton. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), the most illustrious of those who had fallen behind, managed to rally the team, which allowed him, within four kilometers, to patch up the breakaway. With just under two kilometers to go, a new tumble occurred that had Evenepoel and Alexander Vlasov (Bora Hansgrohe) as its most illustrious victims. Fortunately for both, the crash did not result in a loss of time in the rankings. Meanwhile, in the final head-to-head race Groves took revenge on Milan while Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan Team), fourth, and Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen), eighth, ended up on the ground just after the finish.
Tomorrow the sixth stage will be staged with start and finish in Naples. It will be a partial repetition of yesterday stage with ups and downs until the final flat 40 kms. Rain is forecast in the morning but in the afternoon the sun should peep out. Let’s hope the runners are up for a good time.

Space is given to the fast wheels in the peloton with the Atripalda-Salerno with a stage most likely calling for a bunch sprint finish. The route is not entirely flat and after the start, the route winds its way across Irpinia, undulating continuously and taking in a categorised climb to Passo Serra. After a short climb to Oliveto Citra, the last 50 km are less demanding with the final 15 km along the Tyrrhenian coast are flat and straight all the way to the finish, an 800 m long straight on an 8 m wide roead. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 3, K Groves 5, J Milan 7, F Gaviria 13, M Matthews 15, P Ackermann 19, M Cavendish 26, D Dekker 26.

Thursday 11 May – 6TH STAGE: NAPLES-NAPLES ** |162 km, altitude gain 2800m

Pedersen snatches stage 6 win in Naples

Photo Credit: © Trek-Segafredo – Bettiniphoto

Denmark’s Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) won the sixth stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia over the distance of 162 kilometers with start and finish in Naples. The 2019 Harrogate world champion preceded, on the Neapolitan finish line in Via Caracciolo, Friuli’s Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), who thus retained the cyclamen jersey of points classification leader. In third place was German Pascal Ackerman (Team UAE Emirates). With this success Pedersen joins the exclusive club of those who have won at least one success in all three grand tours. The general classification remains unchanged with Norwegian Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) in the pink jersey with a 28″ lead over world champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) and 30″ over Frenchman Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen).
The conclusion in the sprint came at the last moment with the peloton catching up with 400 meters to go with the duo in the breakaway for most of the stage, Alessandro De Marchio (Jayco Alula) and Simon Clarke (Israel Premiertech). Also originally accompanying the two were Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo KOMETA), Briton Charlie Quarterman (Team Corratec Selle Italia) and Frenchman Alexandre Delettre (Cofidis) later distanced by Clarke and De Marchi. The outriders used all their experience to bring the breakaway to a successful conclusion, however, making the mistake of stopping to study each other a moment too long after passing the final kilometer banner, thus allowing the peloton to come back.
Tomorrow will finally see the staging of a long-awaited event for many. The seventh stage with departure from Capua and arrival at the 2,130 meters of Campo Imperatore on the Gran Sasso d’Italia. Making this stage even more intriguing is the not inconsiderable mileage of 218 kilometers. Departing from Capua, it will climb gradually toward the Rionero Sannitico junction, which the riders will encounter after 81 kilometers. A short dive over Castel di Sangro, site of the first flying finish line, will be a prelude to the climb to the Roccaraso GPM at kilometer 100. After crossing the Piano delle Cinque Miglie, the race will swoop down to Bussi sul Tirino at kilometer 160, where the second flying finish line will be located. From there it will begin to climb toward the Calascio GPM at kilometer 186. There will be a brief respite for the riders before arriving in Santo Stefano di Sessanio where the 26,400-meter climb to the finish will begin. While the average gradient of 3.4 percent seems very affordable, it should be remembered that the last 3,000 meters will be at 10 percent with peaks up to 13 percent.

A stage that promises to be beautiful for the landscapes, departure and arrival in Naples, passing through Somma Vesuviana, Pompei, the Chiunzi pass, Amalfi, Positano, Capo di Mondo, Sorrento, Castellammare di Stabia, Torre Annunziata, Torre del Greco, Portici and Naples again. The entire stage is undulated, with countless bends and undulations. At first, the route takes a loop around the Vesuvius and after the Valico di Chiunzi, the route reaches the shoreline and follows the Amalfi coast all the way to Sorrento. The final kilometres are on city roads, passing through several urban areas reaching Naples where in the last 3 km are flat up to Via Caracciolo. Bookmakers Favourites: M Pedersen 2, K Groves 3, J Milan 7, M Matthews 10, F Gaviria 12, A Dainese 16, M Cavendish 22.

Friday, 12 May – 7TH STAGE: CAPUA-GRAN SASSO D’ITALIA (CAMPO IMPERATORE) **** | 218 km, altitude gain 3900m

The breakaway goes, three come to play for the success, 25-year-old Davide Bais wins it.

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Trentino’s Davide Bais (Eolo KOMETA) won the seventh stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia from Capua to the 2,130 meters of Campo Imperatore on the Gran Sasso d’Italia along 218 theoretically challenging kilometers. The rider from Rovereto, younger brother of teammate Mattia, took his first win as a pro, edging Czech Karel Vacek (Corratec Selle Italia) by 9″ on this year’s first uphill finish, with fellow Italian Simone Petilli (Intermarchè Circus Wanty) third at 16″. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) took the fourth coin by winning the sprint of the top group that arrived detached by 3’10″. The general classification remains unchanged at the end of a day in which the pretenders to the final victory avoided a battle. Norway’s Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) retained the pink jersey with a margin of 28″ over the road world champion and 30″ over France’s Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen).
It is difficult to comment on a stage that practically did not race. The top three finishers along with Eritrean Enoch Muluebrhan (Green Project Bardiani CSF Falzanè) went on the attack at the fourth kilometer of the race with the blessing of the peloton, which virtually never reacted. On the first GPM of the day, Roccaraso, the breakaway reached its maximum gap, 11’11”. It was precisely on this climb that Muluebrhan irretrievably lost contact. The margin of the three escapees eroded very slowly. With 30 kilometers to go, at the mouth of the final climb, the gap was still eight minutes. It was clear at this point that it would be the three outriders who would play for the victory.
Tomorrow’s stage, the eighth in this edition of the pink race, will go from Terni to Fossombrone along 207 kilometers. In the last 50, the Capuccini climb will be tackled twice, with the last passage just 5,900 meters from the finish. In between, there will be the climb up Monte delle Cesane, at the top of which they will pass at minus 37 from the finish. Given today’s non-belligerence, it is to be hoped that Sunday’s Romagna time trial will not weigh on the riders’ minds, pushing them into wait-and-see again.

It is time for the first real mountain stage, also endowed with the first taste above 2,000 meters: we arrive on the Gran Sasso after 218 km starting from Capua. The stage as a whole is quite challenging being particularly long, and with an altitude gain of 3500m. The first 70 km are a long valley floor, mostly on fast roads; then the first obstacles to overcome: up to Rionero Sannitico (almost 15 km at 4.5 percent) and Roccaraso (6.9 km at 6.5 percent, of which the first 5 km at 7.5 percent with double-digit sections). False flat to the Five Mile Pass and then long descent into Sulmona. The pains begin again about 45 km from the finish, almost all of it uphill: in succession we climb to the GPM of Calascio (13.5 km at 6 percent), then to Campo Imperatore; the latter climb, formally 26.4 km at 3.4 percent, is split in two between the first section leading onto the plateau with 10 km at 4 percent and the climb proper of about 7.5 km at 6.5 percent.

With 7.5 kms to go, he false-flat gradually gives way to gradients of 5/6%, then the gradient rises sharply 4.5 km from the finish (average 8.2%) to overtake a first section of more than 2 km at 9% (max 13%), followed by 300 meters easier and the last section of 1.9 km at 8.3%. These are significant gradients, prolonged for several kilometers, as well as placed at the culmination of a long 45-kilometer ascent; plus the whole thing is further weighed down by oxygen depletion and an overall very demanding stage. Bookmakers favourites: P Roglic 3, R Evenepoel 6, B McNulty 7, T Geoghegan Hart 9, B Healy 14, J Vine 20, S Buitrago 25, F Zana 25, T Pinot 25, A Vlasov 25.

Breaking news: Filippo Ganna forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia 2023. As communicated by his team, the Ineos Grenadiers, the 26-year-old has in fact tested positive for Covid-19, also showing mild flu-like symptoms, and therefore will not be at the start of the eighth stage, the Terni-Fossombrone. The Verbanese rider, who finished second in the inaugural time trial, is the fourth rider to have to leave the Corsa Rosa due to coronavirus positivity after Clément Russo (Team Arkéa-Samsic), Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-hansgrohe) and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who withdrew in the previous two stages. The British formation added that Ganna will now observe a period of rest and recovery before resuming his racing schedule for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Saturday 13 May – 8TH STAGE: TERNI-FOSSOMBRONE *** | 207 km, altitude gain 2500m

Roglic strikes a blow, Remco fumbles, in Ben Healy’s day

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Irishman Ben Healy (EF Education Easy Post) won the eighth stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, between Umbria and Marche from Terni to Fossombrone, which featured a challenging finish. The Kingswinford rider took his third pro victory after his successes in early spring in the Forli stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali followed by the Trofeo Industria & Artigianato in Larciano. Behind the Gaelic came Canadian Derek Gee (Israel Premiertech), 1’49” off, who sprinted ahead of Italian champion Filippo Zana (Jayco Alula) and Frenchman Warren Barguil (Team Arkea Samsic). The overall standings shortened. Norwegian Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) managed to retain the pink jersey. His lead over Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) dropped to just 8″ with Primoz Roglic moving up to third at 38′.
The stage was animated by an attack by 13 riders: Frenchmen Valentin Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen), Francois Bidard (Cofidis) and Warren Barguil (Team Arkea Samsic), Irishman Ben Healy (EF Education Easy), Italians Mattia Bais (Eolo KOMETA), Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project Bardiani CSF Falzanè), Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), Italian champion Filippo Zana (Jayco Alula) and Alessandro Iacchi (Team Corratec Selle Italia), reader Thomas Skujins (Trek Segafredo), Spaniard Carlos Verona (Team Movistar), Dutchman Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin Deceuninck) and Canadian Derek Gee (Israel Premiertech). The presence among the outriders of Barguil, who was not too far behind Leknessund in the overall standings, limited the range of the breakaway with Team DSM not allowing the escapees to take off. The race developed on two parallel tracks. Up front, on the first passage up the Capuccini climb, Healy attacked and sprinted undisturbed toward the finish line. Behind, among the ranking men, on the Monte delle Cesane took the situation in hand Jumbo Visma who began to prepare the ground for Roglic’s attack. This punctually materialized on the second pass over the Capuccini. Attempting to resist the Slovenian were the pink jersey and Alexander Vlasov (Bora Hansgrohe), both going off the pace. The same happened later to Evenepoel, who could not close the gap. Those who, on the other hand, did not get their times wrong were the Ineos Grenadiers pair of Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart who caught up with the Trbovlje champion at the end of the climb. The trio was able to gain 14″ on the rainbow jersey whose team also failed today.
Tomorrow the second of three time trial stages in this Giro d’Italia will be staged. It will be 35 kilometers, flat, taking the riders from Savignano sul Rubicone to Cesena. Full results here

Here is a moving stage with the walls of the Marche region deciding the finale. The final 60 kilometres encompass practically the entire elevation gain (2500 metres). They climb the Cappuccini (about 3 km with gradients of up to 19%), the Monte delle Cesane (about 7 km with gradients of up to 18%) and after the Montefelcino climb again, the Cappuccini, whose summit, 5 km from the finish, is the ideal springboard for those who want to win the stage.

It is another rather long stage, leading from Terni to Fossombrone in 207 km: in the finale it poses relatively short but very steep climbs in succession that may stimulate actions even from afar (we are on the eve of the longest time trial) or perhaps catch someone unprepared. Immediately after the start we pass the Valico della Somma (about 5 km at 6%) then follows a long flat section that promises to be very fast because of the battle to get into the breakaway. The road becomes slightly bumpy again to climb over the Apennine ridge until it passes the Passo della Scheggia and descends into the Marche region. In view of Fossombrone we first climb the Cappuccini climb (a key point in a stage of the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico), a total of 2.8 km at 7.9%, but in fact very pedalable (4%) for 1 km and then very hard (average over 10%, max 19%) for 1800 meters. After the technical descent you pass the finish line of Fossombrone a first time, to climb immediately to Monte delle Cesane, a watershed ascent of a total of 7.8 km at 6.5%, but much more challenging than these numbers suggest: shortly after the entrance you face the toughest section of about 2. 5 km with an average of just under 10 percent and peaks of 18 percent; then 4.5 km remain, very uneven, alternating between short double-digit ramps and slightly downhill stretches, a rollercoaster in which even the GC men potentially have ground to tease each other and create gaps. At the summit there will be about 36 km to go, with the first dozen technical descents, so we are quite close to the finish. At this point we face the Montefelcino wall, quantifiable at about 800 meters at 11%; after a further descent we reach Fossombrone with a handful of kilometers of flat terrain, then avoid the finish line with another climb of about 700 meters at 6% and return to the Cappuccini climb, with the drop-off just 6 km from the finish. The descent ends at -1900 meters, while a final gush placed after the “flamme rouge” leads into the nearly flat 700-meter finishing straight. Bookmakers Favourites: B Healy 9, B McNulty 9, P Roglic 16, C Nielsen Magnus 16, M Matthews 16, R Evenepoel 21, V Albanese 21, P Konrad 30, T Geoghegan Hart 30, J Vine 30, S Buitrago 30, T Pinot 30, A Vlasov 30.

Breaking news: Shock at the Giro: Evenepoel leaves the Giro d’Italia, due to Covid. The news is from a few minutes ago. The wet blanket arrived in the evening after the time-trial was won by the Belgian. Remco Evenepoel in press release broke the news through on his social profiles, “I am really sorry to be leaving the race. As part of the team’s protocol, I took a routine test, which unfortunately was positive. My experience here has been really special and I was looking forward to competing over the next two weeks. I can’t thank enough the staff and the riders who sacrificed so much in preparation for the Giro. I will be cheering them on over the next two weeks”, said Remco, who will travel home on Monday by car.

Sunday 14 May – 9TH STAGE: SAVIGNANO SUL RUBICONE-CESENA **** |35 km, altitude gain 50m

Evenepoel wins and regains Giro d’Italia lead

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Belgian champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) won the ninth stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, the highly anticipated time trial in the Romagna region from Savignano al Rubicone to Cesena along 35 totally flat kilometers, with a time of 41’24” at an average of 50.725 kmh. In the place of honor, just one second behind, was Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) who trimmed a similar gap to his teammate, Englishman Tao Geoghegan Hart.
The new general classification sees the Flemish millennial retake the pink jersey with a 45″ lead over the Welshman, winner of the 2018 Tour de France, is 47″ over Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), who was able to limit the damage in the second part of today’s stage after a rather slow start.
Today’s stage ended up asking more questions than it provided answers. Remco, while coming out on top of the leaderboard, is now clear about the fact that in the Ineos he has a two-headed opponent with whom he will have to deal from Tuesday until the Imperial Forums. In that light, the performance of Geoghegan Hart, not a specialist against the clock, impressed even more than that of Thomas. The Londoner, for the record, is now fourth in the rankings at 50″. Roglic, for his part, will have to try to use this unusual clash in his favor.
Tomorrow the race will observe the first of two rest days scheduled this year. On Tuesday it will start from Scandiano to reach Viareggio after 196 kilometers. Just before halfway there will be a climb up the Passo delle Radici, a second-category GPM at an altitude of 1,527. Nonetheless, a sprint finish appears to be the most likely option at the Versilia finish line. Full results here

The first week of the Giro closes with an entirely flat time trial for specialists, the one from Savignano al Rubicone to Cesena (Technogym Village) after 35 km. Tomorrow’s time-trial is placed at the close of a very demanding first week. It’s time for the longest time trial of this Giro, which also being completely flat will represent a crucial turning point for the purposes of the overall classification. In the 35 kilometers from Savignano al Rubicone to Cesena, large gaps can be dug, although the rather twisty layout could allow even some of the less specialist riders to limit the damage. The general classification that will come out of here will basically be the one with which the peloton will present itself at the foot of the Alps. Bookmakers favourites: R Evenepoel 2, S Kung 5, P Roglic 9, G Thomas 10, J Almeida 20, B Armirail 20, B McNulty 20, R Dennis 24, E Affini 26.

Monday 15 May rest-day

Tuesday 16 May – 10TH STAGE: SCANDIANO-VIAREGGIO ** | 196 km, altitude gain 2600m

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Easy Post) won stage 10 of the 106th Giro d’Italia, along the 196 trans-Apennine kilometers from Scandiano to Viareggio. The Danish won the sprint against the two fellow adventurers who shared 150 kilometers breakaway with him: Canadian Derek Gee (Israel Premier Tech), and the italian Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco Alula), who finished third at 2″. Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo) sprinted through the peloton and was fourth at 51″. Nielsen also joins the exclusive club of champions capable of winning at least one stage in all three grand tours.
Confirmed in the pink jersey, donned after Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) dropped out, is Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), who is 2″ ahead of Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) in the rankings, with teammate, London-based Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), third at 5″. He is followed in the general classification by Portugal’s Joao Almeida (Team UAE Emirates), fourth at 22″. Today, Russian Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora Hansgrohe) withdrew in the race due to intestinal problems.
Under incessant rain, it was a tough stage with the three heroes of the day who, along with Campo Imperatore winner Davide Bais (Eolo KOMETA), quickly took off, gaining four minutes on the peloton before tackling the day’s main rough patch: the Passo delle Radici, a second-category GPM at an altitude of 1,527. Bais passed first at the summit, consolidating his blue jersey as leader of the climbers. Mission accomplished, Bais desisted on the descent returning on the peloton. The peloton, meanwhile, shattered into several parts with rain and cold proving even more difficult obstacles than the route. Among the riders left behind was Australian Jay Vine (Team UAE Emirates), tenth in the standings at 2’24 this morning at the start from Scandiano.
With 40 kilometers to go, the outriders’ lead over the top group had dropped to 2’15” and then the gap was down to one minute at minus 18km from the finish. What seemed like the now inevitable reunion with the peloton suffered an unexpected reversal on the Montemagno descent in which the three attackers kept the margin unchanged. None of the sprinters’ teams put much effort into the chase, allowing the trio to arrive on the final straight in peace. Starting at the 2,000-meter mark Gee sent De Marchi into trouble but did not surprise Nielsen. The Scandinavian reengaged the Canadian under the triangle of the last kilometer, repulsing De Marchi’s last attempt and then crossing the finish line clearly first. Tomorrow the eleventh stage will be staged in which the halfway mark will be doubled. The 219 kilometers, the longest distance of this edition, which will take the riders from Camaiore to Tortona, seem to prelude an inevitable sprint to the Land of the Campionissimi: Costante Girardengo and Fausto Coppi . Of course, rain is expected from start to finish.

After the first day of rest, the peloton will tackle two stages suitable for the fast wheels in the peloton: it begins with Scandiano-Viareggio. The stage will bring the peloton to the Tyrrhenian Sea after clearing the Tuscan Apennines, which has in the Passo delle Radici (at km 80) the main difficulty of the day. Passo delle Radici climb is a long climb (it can be considered 40km long) with mild gradients and only the last 3 km more demanding. After a fast‑running and technical descent into Castelnuovo Garfagnana, the route takes in a short climb to Monteperpoli. A long false‑flat down, passing just outside Lucca, leads through Camaiore to the coast, with the last 3 km run flat and straight along the seafront, all the way to the finish in Viareggio.

Wednesday 17 May – 11TH STAGE: CAMAIORE-TORTONA ** | 219 km, altitude gain 2100m

Ackermann sprints to Giro stage 11 win after Geoghegan Hart crashes out

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Germany’s Pascal Ackermann (Team UAE Emirates) sprinted to victory on the 11th stage, the longest, of the 106th Giro d’Italia, which took the riders across 219 kilometers from Camaiore in Tuscany to Tortona in Piedmont in the heart of the lands of two great Campionissimi: Costante Girardengo and Fausto Coppi. To be fair, the stage celebrated an anniversary dedicated to Xerxes, Fausto Coppi’s ill-fated brother, whose birth centenary is being celebrated this year. The German seized his third success at the Giro, following his double in 2019, ahead of Friuli’s Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), who thus consolidated his leadership in the points classification. In third place was a rediscovered Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), who finished ahead of Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo).
A crash involving the main GC men with 68 kilometers to go forced the third overall, Englishman Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), in the standings just 5″ behind the pink jersey, to retire. As a result, the general classification now sees Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) still in the lead with the very narrow 2″ advantage over Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and with Portuguese Joao Almeida (Team UAE Emirates) having moved up to third at 22″.
Today’s stage centered on the attack of six riders-Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Diego Pablo Sevilla (EOLO-Kometa), Filippo Magli (Green Project Bardiani CSF Faizanè), Laurenz Rex (Intermarché Circus Wanty), Alexander Konychev and Veljko Stojnic (Team Corratec Selle Italia). Starting after five kilometers, the escapees quickly gained four minutes, a margin that alerted the peloton, which at, that point, arose, keeping the situation under control. The peloton, despite the collective mega-slide that cost Geoghegan Hart his retirement, always had its finger on the pulse of the stage, completing the hitch to Rex, the most tenacious of the attackers with 10 kilometers to go.
Tomorrow will see the twelfth stage, all in Piedmont: a stage with a decidedly interesting route that will take the riders from Bra in Roero to Rivoli, just outside Turin. The first part of the planned 179 kilometers will be decidedly challenging, culminating with a climb to the 732-meter third-category GPM of Pedaggera at kilometer 36. This will be followed by 100 decidedly easy kilometers that will introduce a far from trivial finale with the climb to the 1,007 meters of the second-category GPM Monte Braida, whose summit will be reached at minus 28 from the finish. Full results here

The Giro enters Liguria with the longest stage of the Giro which is suitable for sprinters. Flat at first, the route reaches the province of La Spezia and crosses the Ligurian Apennines through the Passo del Bracco and the Colla di Boasi. The roads are wavy and curving, and mostly narrow. The route travels across the valley, and once over the Castagnola Pass will have 40 km of descent to march down to the final sprint. The final kilometres are essentially straight, with just a few roundabouts. There is one last bend (on a roundabout) approx. 500 m before the finish. The arrive straight is 450 m long.

Thursday 18 May – STAGE 12: BRA-RIVOLI *** |179 km, altitude gain 2300m

Nico Denz won stage 12 claiming his first Grand Tours victory after a long breakaway

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

German Nico Denz (Bora Hansgrohe) won stage 12 of the 106th Giro d’Italia, entirely in Piedmont along the 185 kilometers that took the riders from Bra to Rivoli. Denz, who marked the second consecutive German success on Savoy soil after Pascal Ackermann’s (Team UAE Emirates) victory yesterday in Tortona, preceded Latvian Tom Skujins (Trek Segafredo) and Australian Sebastian Berwick (Israel Premier-tech) at the finish line. The general classification remains unchanged with Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) in the pink jersey 2″ ahead of Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and with Portuguese Joao Almeida (Team UAE Emirates) third at 22″.
The story of the stage centered on the breakaway of the following 30 riders: Ilan van Wilder (Soudal Quick Step), Alex Baudin and Valentin Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën Team), Samuele Battistella, Vadim Pronskiy and Christian Scaroni (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Andrea Pasqualon and Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Nico Denz and Patrick Konrad (Bora Hansgrohe), Jonathan Lastra (Cofidis), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education EasyPost), Alessandro Tonelli, Luca Covili and Davide Gabburo (Green Project Bardiani CSF Faizanè), Laurens Huys (Intermarché Circus Wanty), Sebastian Berwick and Marco Frigo (Israel Premier Tech), Michel Hessmann and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma), Einer Augusto Rubio (Movistar Team), Veljko Stojnic (Team Corratec Selle Italia), Michael Matthews (Team Jayco AlUla), Mads Pedersen, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Bauke Mollema and Toms Skujins (Trek Segafredo), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin Deceuninck), Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates). None of these proving to be dangerous for the general classification, the peloton basically disinterested in the attack.
With 90 kilometers to go, out came Berwick Denz, Skujins and Tonelli, who, taking advantage of the total disagreement among the other escapees, quickly gained three minutes. In vain, they attempted a counterattack Baudin, Bettiol and Scaroni who, after recovering a minute, foundered on the ascent to Monte Braida, the second-category GPM located at minus 28 from the finish. In the final stretch of this climb, Tonelli also gave way, leaving only Berwick, Denz and Skujins ahead, The three, although not proceeding by love and agreement, thus arrived to play for the success of the day, which arrived clearly to the German. Full results here

Today’s wait-and-see attitude on the part of the peloton is easily explained by going to analyze tomorrow’s stage: the thirteenth from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to Crans Montana in Switzerland, the first of three five-star fractions in this edition of the corsa rosa. Although slightly modified in the route, but not in the mileage, which remains firm at 199, the stage remains extremely tough. It will no longer pass the 2469 meters of the Great St. Bernard but will instead climb to an altitude of 1878 where, instead of the Cima Coppi, a title passed to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, there will be a first-category GPM located at the mouth of the tunnel. This will be followed, after the descent, by the rugged Croix de Coeur, also a top-quality GPM at 2,174 meters, which will precede the final surge to the finish line located at 1,456 meters in Crans Montana. After days in which the rankings changed due to COVIDs, illnesses and crashes, perhaps tomorrow we will return to see the riders as protagonists.

The Giro changes register with the Bra-Rivoli: a mixed stage characterised by three segments that can be summarised in the hill-flat-mountain triptych. This is already time for the first Alpine taste, from Bra to Rivoli in 179 km. We set off for the Langhe, climbing almost immediately to Cherasco (about 1 km at 6%) and La Morra (about 6 km at 5%). After the descent to Barolo begins the long, step-by-step climb to Pedaggera, a total of 16.9 km at 2.4%. It descends to Alba and enters the flat after the Baldissero climb (about 1.5 km at 7 percent). At this point the stage encounters 70 fairly easy km, by which it reaches Rivoli passing the finish line once and entering the final circuit. Then begins the tough climb to Colle Braida, where the climbers furthest back in the standings might venture a few tests ahead of the venturial tapponi. The climb is a total of 9.8 km at 6.6 percent (the official average gradient figure is incorrect), divided, however, by a short descent into two sections: the first 4.7 km at 5.9 percent; the second, very tricky, 5.1 km at 8.1 percent with a maximum of 12 percent.

These are significant gradients that could actually stimulate someone, also because the descent on Giaveno is very technical and ends less than 20 km from the finish. Last obstacles will be the easy little climb of Reano (almost 2 km at 3/4%), placed about 12 km from the finish and the very short tear (max 8%) ending 500 meters from the end. In spite of everything, the most likely option seems to be the one that sees a breakaway of stage hunters arriving at the finish line. Bookmakers Favourites: B HEALY 6, B MCNULTY 8, J VINE 11, P ROGLIC 17, N CORT NIELSEN 17, P KONRAD 17, M MATTHEWS 21, L ROTA 21, I VAN WILDER 21.

Friday 19 May – 13TH STAGE: BORGO FRANCO D’IVREA-CRANS MONTANA ***** | 199 km, altitude gain 4600m. The revised stage – Le Châble-Crans-Montana |74.6 km, altitude gain 2400m

Rubio wins much-altered Giro stage 13

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Colombian Einar Rubio (Team Movista) won the 13th stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, a much-altered ride, entirely on Swiss soil, that took the riders from Le Chable to Crans Montana, along 74 kilometers of the originally planned 199. Rubio won a three-man sprint ahead of Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupam FDJ), second at 6″, and Ecuadorian Jefferson Cepeda, third at 12″. The top group came in at 1’35”. The general classification remained unchanged with Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) in the pink jersey 2″ ahead of Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and with Portuguese Joao Almeida (Team UAE Emirates) third at 22″.
In a questionable decision, dictated by fear of bad weather conditions that never materialized, the stage was drastically reduced in mileage with the elimination of the Passo del Gran San Bernardo. The start was, therefore, moved to the foot of the second climb of the day, the Croix de Coeur. By the time the checkered flag was lowered, six were on the attack: Frenchmen Pinot and Valentin Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen), Ecuadorian Cepeda, Canadian Derek Gee and American Matthew Riccitello (Israel Premier Tech) and Colombian Rubio. Quickly the attackers gained two minutes on the top group where Ineos maintained a sustained but not impossible pace. Both the escapees and the peloton faced the Croix de Coeur descent with utmost caution. At the beginning of the climb leading to the finish line, Cepeda, Pinot and Rubio went on the attack, and they quickly managed to maintain enough of a lead to play for the day’s success. The Colombian prevailed in the end, very adept at exploiting, in his favor, the constant spats between the Frenchman and the Ecuadorian.
Tomorrow the Giro returns to Italy with a stage that should not escape a bunch sprint. After 56 of the 194 kilometers planned there is the first-category GPM of the Passo del Sempione to be climbed, with a transit to the summit at an altitude of 2004m. The following 138 kilometers, however, first downhill and then flat, should allow the peloton to compact. It will be a great opportunity for Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) to further consolidate his top position in the points classification, made even stronger by today’s withdrawal of his main opponent, Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo). Full results here

Breaking news – Due to adverse weather conditions and following the riders request to requests apply the Extreme Weather Protocol, he stage has been shorted to 74.6 km. There will be no climb of the Salita del Gran San Bernardo. The start will be in Le Châble, at the foot of the Croix de Coeur.Denmark’s Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) – a favorite for the points classification win – will not start today’s stage as he has abandoned the race due to illness.

The first Alpine stage goes from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to Crans Montana, in Switzerland. Despite the cutting of the former Coppi summit (the Great St. Bernard), the numbers are still impressive: from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to Crans Montana, there are 199 km, about 4200 meters of elevation gain and still one peak above 2000 meters. The first asperity comes after 30 km and is the short ascent to Saint-Vincent (5 km at 4 percent); then almost flat km lead to Aosta. Here begins a very wearisome high-altitude challenge, even in the new version, that could lead to major upsets in the general classification. Opening the dances is the mutilated Great St. Bernard: the new climb still measures nearly 26 km, remaining a challenging effort, though less decisive than before; the average gradient is 5 percent, but in the last stretch up to the entrance of the tunnel (which will still be run on the old road, not the highway), the gradients will be more sensitive (last 10 km at 6.2 percent, max 10 percent).

The descent will be very fast, being deprived of the most technical summit part. But then you arrive at the foot of the Croix de Coeur, a monster of more than 15.4 km at 8.8%, also with a drop-off over 2000 meters: a huge effort, this time with the right gradients that put the cyclist face to face for almost another hour of ascent. 22 km of rather technical descent, perfect for further ambushes, lead to Riddes, where the only “dead” phase of the stage begins: the risk that the 22 km of valley floor separating the end of the last descent from the foot of the final climb might discourage attacks is there; however, if nothing has happened yet, with legs now in tatters and tanks in reserve you will arrive at the foot of the final ascent of Crans Montana, another 13.1 km with an average gradient – not at all trivial – of 7.2 percent. The gradients are relatively uneven, alternating between very challenging sections (max 13%) and more rideable ones (6/7%) that will still be tremendous at the end of such a tough stage.
N.B. Of course all this is valid as long as the Croix de Coeur also remains on the route. We will decompress in the morning whether it will be confirmed or there will be a Plan B to be implemented. It must be said that the expected bad weather will make regardless of the route much harder this stage. Bookmakers Favourites: P ROGLIC 4, J VINE 6, L FORTUNATO 11, B HEALY 11, S BUITRAGO 19, T PINOT 19, G THOMAS 19, I VAN WILDER 23, J ALMEIDA 23, B MCNULTY 23.

Saturday 20 May – 14TH STAGE: SIERRE-CASSANO MAGNAGO **|194 km, altitude gain 1600m

Denz does it encore, Armirail in pink jersey

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Germany’s Nico Denz (Bora Hansgrohe) won the 14th stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, which from Sierre in Switzerland brought the riders back to Italy with a finish in Cassano Magnago in the province of Varese, home of Ivan Basso, winner of the pink race in 2006 and 2010. The German, who thus replicated his success of 48 hours ago in Rivoli, preceded Canadian Derek Gee (Israel Premier Tech), in his third place of honor after those of Fossombrone and Viareggio, and an always positive Alberto Bettiol (EF Education Easy Post), also on the attack today as in recent days. It changes, surprisingly, the general classification because of the resounding delay of 21’11” with which the top group arrived at the finish line. The pink jersey will rest tonight on the shoulders of Bruno Armirail (Groupama FDJ). The French time trial champion will start tomorrow from Seregno with a 1’41” lead over Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) with Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) third at 1’43”.

A group of 29 attackers formed at the start: Davide Ballerini and Pieter Serry (Soudal Quick Step), Nicolas Prodhomme and Larry Warbasse (AG2R Citroën), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin Deceuninck), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Qazaqstan), Andrea Pasqualon and Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Nico Denz (Bora Hansgrohe), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education EasyPost), Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Henok Mulubrhan (Green Project Bardiani CSF Faizanè), Bruno Armirail (Groupama FDJ), Laurenz Rex (Intermarché Circus Wanty), Simon Clarke, Derek Gee and Stephen Williams (Israel Premier Tech), Fernando Gaviria, Will Barth and Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), Warren Barguil and Thibault Guernalec (Team Arkéa Samsic), Marius Mayrhofer (Team DSM), Alessandro De Marchi (Team Jayco AlUla) and Bauke Mollema, Toms Skujins and Otto Vergaerde (Trek Segafredo). The escapees quickly accumulated a lead of seven minutes, which became eight at the Simplon Pass GPM where Bais passed first and thus regained the climbers’ leader’s blue jersey.
At minus 65 from the finish line, with the lead of the outriders now up to 13 minutes, it was Alberto Bettiol going on the attack. For the next 30 kilometers, sprints and counter-sprints followed one another until a quartet composed of Stefano Oldani, Davide Ballerini, Laurenz Rex and Toms Skujins formed the lead. At the moment when the advantage of the attackers was nearing a minute it was Derek Gee and Nico Denz who imparted an acceleration behind that led them, together with Bettiol and others, to halve the disadvantage. From this moment a chess game began with the three in the lead, Rex meanwhile had pulled away, gradually losing ground. A fatal moment of uncertainty with 1,500 meters to go, with Ballerini, Oldani and Skujins lingering and watching each other, decreed the trio’s doom. The reunion occurred at minus 400 from the finish with Denz exploding all his power in bursting fashion. Only Gee attempted to resist him, but the Canadian’s belated comeback attempt failed, albeit narrowly. Full Results here
Tomorrow the 15th stage, a scaled-down version of the Tour of Lombardy, will be staged. There will be very little flat road in the 195 kilometers from Seregno to Bergamo with as many as four GPMs scattered along the route. After 46 kilometers there will be the first-category climb to the Valico di Valcava to be followed by three second-category climbs: the Selvino, after 98 kilometers; the Miragolo di San Salvatore, after 111; and, finally, the Roncola 31 kilometers from the finish, which, as is traditional when arriving in the city of Donizetti, will be preceded by the climb to Bergamo alta. Terrain to attack there will be plenty of. Let’s hope that, at least in some, the will will also be there.

Another stage suitable for sprinters that will start from Sierre to Cassano Magnago before the ‘mountain in the city’ stage, Bergamo-Bergamo the following day. We set off from Sierre, in the Canton of Valais, on our way to Italy with a strange stage of 194 km that includes the tough climb to the Passo del Sempione in the first few kms and is otherwise almost completely flat until the finish in Cassano Magnago. After the first 20 km flat you pass a first climb of about 1.5 km at 7/8%. Another dozen km on the flat leads to the foot of the Semponio (20.2 km at 6.5%), to which you climb via the grim old road (you ride a stretch of about 4.5 km at 9%). A very demanding ascent that moreover takes the riders again over 2000 meters altitude, but placed with almost 140 km to go. After the endless descent into Domodossola, the route will be virtually trouble-free for 70 km and slightly bumpier only in the last 30 km. The finale is undulated, with the Quinzano San Pietro climb (1 km at 6 percent) with 16 km to go and soon after the Carnago climb (about 3 km at 3 percent) at -9 km. The finish itself is placed slightly uphill, with the last km having an average gradient of 2.4%.

Sunday 21 May – 15TH STAGE: SEREGNO-BERGAMO ****|195 km, altitude gain 3600m

McNulty claims first Grand Tour stage win, sprinting ahead of Healy

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

U.S. Brandon McNulty (Team UAE Emirates) won stage 15 of the 106th Giro d’Italia, a scaled-down replica of the Giro di Lombardia, which took riders along 195 kilometers, with four GPMs, from Seregno to Bergamo. The 25-year-old from Phoenix prevailed by beating Irishman Ben Healy (EF Education Easy Post), conqueror of the Fossombrone stage, and young Italian Marco Frigo (Israel-PremierTech) in the sprint. Despite losing 33″ on the final Boccola climb, Frenchman Bruno Armirail (Groupama FDJ) retained the pink jersey. On Tuesday, after the rest day, the race will resume with a 1’08” lead over Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) with Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) third at 1’10”.
Immediately after the start, a group of 17 attackers formed: Ben Healy, Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan), Alberto Dainese (Team DSM), Andrea Pasqualon (Bahrain Victorious), François Bidard (Cofidis), Brandon McNulty, Davide Ballerini (Soudal QuickStep), Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo), Vincenzo Albanese and Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo Kometa), Niccolò Bonifazio and Laurens Huys (Intermarché Circus Wanty), Marco Frigo and Sebastian Berwick (Israel-Premier Tech), Jose Rojas and Einer Rubio (Movistar), and Martin Marcellusi (Green Project Bardiani Csf Faizanè). The peloton, now piloted by Groupama FDJ, under the protective eye of Ineos, was disinterested in the escapees. The first three GPMs saw the situation crystallized with a lead fluctuating between six and seven minutes. In the context of the fight for the blue jersey, it was Healy and Rubio who, by splitting the points, were both reentering powerfully into the fight for the final success that, until now, seemed restricted to current leader Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa) and transalpine Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ).
On the last climb, the one leading to the GPM della Roncola, located at minus 31 from the finish, the fireworks exploded with McNulty, Healy and Frigo attacking repeatedly. The three, who had passed lonely at the summit spaced a few seconds apart, would finally regroup with 10,000 meters to go. Offsetting, in the negative, the excitement provided by the three outriders, was the top group, which on the Roncola decided to slow its action even further. Healy and McNulty detached Frigo on the Boccola but then began to march tight, allowing the Venetian to pounce on them with 800 meters to go. Bassano, at this point, tried to slip the two on the counterattack but was caught at the minus 400 mark when McNulty, unleashing all his power, went on to seize a much-deserved victory. Meanwhile, for television use, the big boys mimicked a few sprints as they passed through Bergamo Alta and then all arrived at the finish line together. Full results here

This brings us to the second rest day after a week, undoubtedly dogged by bad weather, in which the race has been anything but exciting. Witnessing today’s spectacle, I am beginning to believe that the mutilation of last Friday’s stage was irrelevant. Tuesday will resume with a theoretically tough stage. It will travel 203 kilometers from Sabbio Chiese in the province of Brescia to a legendary summit of the pink race: Monte Bondone, the scene in 1956 of the most dramatic day in the Giro’s more than 100-year history. Including the finish, there will be five GPMs scattered along the route. After 64 kilometers there will be the extremely tough, first-category Passo Santa Barbara, which will be followed, after only 8,000 meters, by the more approachable Passo Bordala. After the nosedive over Rovereto it will be the turn of the Matassone, second-category GPM, which will be the prelude to the Serrada, of similar difficulty. From Folgaria it will be a dive over Nomi to then reach, after 10 flat kilometers, Aldeno. It will be here that the final 20-kilometer-long climb will begin with an average gradient of 6.8 percent that will reach as high as 15 percent in the roughest sections. Could this be the time to see some battle between the pretenders to the final victory?

The climbs to be tackled can be terrain for every type of attack. The second week closes with a sizzling stage that could influence the standings more than you might think. The starting format is last year’s Turin stage, which this year features the city of Bergamo with a more traditional and less intense, but still very nervous stage both altimetrically and planimetrically. In the end, it is a sort of Giro di Lombardia particularly suited to climbers, accumulating about 3500 meters of elevation gain in 195 kilometers from Seregno to Bergamo. The road almost immediately begins to climb towards Besana and Monticello and remains slightly undulating until km 25; it crosses the Adda river and begins the climb to San Gregorio (in all almost 5 km at 5.5%, multiple double-digit ramps in the last 3 km), which will be followed very quickly by the very hard one at Valico di Valcava: eliminating the initial falsopiano from the official data, 10.3 km at 8.7% remain; to be highlighted is the stretch of about 3 km at 11% placed near the top of the climb. The stage therefore opens in a frenetic manner and also for this reason will be very difficult to keep under control, looking at what the riders will still have to face. At the end of the long and treacherous descent on Almenno San Salvatore, they face the short climb to Villa d’Almè, after which the riders will only be able to breathe for about fifteen km, before climbing to Selvino (11.1 km at 5.6%) and Miragolo San Salvatore (5.2 km at 7%, with bad gradients in the first 4 km, max 12%).

Another treacherous descent leads to Zogno, followed by another flat sector of about fifteen km; next comes the first climb up the Boccola climb leading to Bergamo Alta (1.3 km at 7.9%, with 200 meters of cobblestones and a 12% peak) before descending to the finish and beginning the final circuit. Another dozen flat kilometers allows for one last regroup before the tough Roncola climb. Overall this is 10 km at 6.7%, but the gradients are uneven: it climbs at 4/5% for about 1km, then a short descent leads to the toughest section of about 6 km at 8.5%; the road immediately peaks at 17% then climbs steadily for 5 km keeping between 7 and 10%; arrived in Roncola you encounter another slightly downhill section before the last 2 km at 5.6% leading to Roncola Alta and Valico di Valpiana. At the summit there are only 30 km to go, which is why it is legitimate to expect some movement even among the GC men given the gradients the climb offers. It descends again to Almenno San Salvatore with an adjoining counter-slope to Villa d’Almè; when the riders meet the plain again they are just 11 km from the finish line and will still have to overcome the Boccola, with the top of the climb 3.4 km from the finish.

Monday 22 May rest-day

Tuesday 23rd May – 16TH STAGE: SABBIO CHIESE-MONTE BONDONE *****|203 km, altitude gain 5200m

Almeida wins Giro stage 16, Thomas is back in pink

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) won stage 16 of the 106th Giro d’Italia, the highly anticipated mountain stage from Sabbio Chiese to Monte Bondone through 203 kilometers of continuous ups and downs. The Lusitanian beat Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) in the sprint with Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) third at 25″ ahead of Irishman Edward Dunbar (Jayco Alula). The new general classification sees Dragoon back in the pink jersey with a lead of 18″ over Almeida and 29″ over Roglic. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) moves up to fourth in the rankings, 2’50″ off.
Today’s stage lived of an initial breakaway of 26 riders. These included Frenchman Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen), who became virtual pink jersey along the way, Irishman Ben Healy (EF Education Easy Post), who, by passing first on the Passo Santa Barbara GPM, took the climbers’ leader’s blue jersey from Italian Davide Bais (Eolo KOMETA), and Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), who, by winning the flying finish in Rovereto, consolidated his lead in the points classification. In the top group, where Pavel Sivakov’s (Ineos Grenadiers) withdrawal was recorded, it was the action of Jumbo Visma that did not allow the breakaways to take off, arriving at the mouth of the final climb, with 20 kilometers to go, with a 3’30” margin. Under Jumbo’s continued push, the lead continued to fall. At minus 15, after reducing the breakaway margin to 1’35”, Rohan Dennis (Jumbo Visma) would step aside. He was succeeded by Davide Formolo (Team UAE Emirates). Under the 10-to-finish banner, the gap dropped below a minute just as pink jersey Bruno Armirail (Groupama FDJ) lost contact.
The escapees were caught with 8,500 meters to go. A leading quintet formed at this point with Almeida, Thomas, Dunbar, Roglic and his domestique Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma). The Portuguese then set off at minus 5,000. Kuss was busting his guts to patch up the gap. Just at the moment when the American seemed to have succeeded in the feat, Thomas would break the hold, leaving everyone in place and pulling back on Almeida. Joao could barely hold the wheel of the 2018 Tour de France winner. Later, albeit reluctantly, he would also give the Welshman the change. Thomas, focused on gaining as much as possible on Roglic, took the lead under the red triangle in the last kilometer. This favored Almeida, who had no problem leapfrogging his opponent at the 300-meter mark, thus taking his first Giro victory.
Tomorrow, the 197-kilometer 17th stage from Pergine Valsugana to Caorle on the Venetian Riviera. It will be the penultimate stage for the sprinters before the final apotheosis on Sunday in Rome’s Fori Imperiali. From Thursday, with the finish in Valzoldana, it will be back to racing with the ranking in mind. Full results here

After the second and final day of rest, here comes the second big stage of the Giro. The Sabbio Chiese-Monte Bondone stage takes place all at relatively low altitudes, but accumulates over 5000 metres of elevation gain divided between very hard climbs and others that are rideable. The climbs placed in quick succession so as to create a breathless stage in which every moment can be good to attack and almost no section grants great advantage to those left behind. The start of the stage is fairly straightforward, being a slight descent leading to Salò to enter the Garda coast road. Just under 50 km are covered on the lake, riding on flat or slightly undulating roads. Passing Riva del Garda and Torbole, the road steepens a first time toward Nago, for about 1.5 km at 8/9%. A short descent leads to Bolognano, where the very hard climb to the Santa Barbara Pass of 12.7 km at 8.3% begins immediately, with very bad gradients especially in the first part (9 km at 9.2%, max 14%). It descends to Ronzo Chienis and climbs immediately to Bordala Passfor 4.5 km at 6.7%, but with uneven gradients (max 12%).

A very demanding 15-km descent leads to Villa Lagarina, then riders can barely breathe 4.5 km before seeing the road ramp up again to Matassone (11.3 km at 5.5%, but with the first 6 km at 8.5%); the subsequent descent is interspersed with numerous counter-slopes, including the abundant rather steep km to Anghebeni. The next climb to Serradapresents smoother gradients, but it is still a long effort of 17.7 at 5.5%: the first 2 km to Noriglio immediately peaks at 11%, then the gradient slowly drops to an almost flat 2 km section; the road climbs in earnest again in the last 9.2 km, averaging 6.5%. This will be followed by a very treacherous 18-km descent on Calliano, after which it will take less than 10 km before taking the final climb to Monte Bondone from the Aldeno side: the average gradient of 6.7% over the 21.4 km total climb hides countless false-flat sections, which break up particularly steep segments of the climb; of particular note are the first 3 km at 9% and the section after Garnica Vecchia of 5 km at 9.4% (max 15%). The final kilometres are slightly uphill with an avg. gradient around 4%. Bookmakers Favourites: P ROGLIC 4, B HEALY 8, T PINOT 14, I VAN WILDER 14, L FORTUNATO 14, J ALMEIDA 15, J CEPEDA 15, H CARTHY 21, G THOMAS G 21, J VINE 21, S BUITRAGO 21.

Wednesday 24 May – 17TH STAGE: PERGINE VALSUGANA-CAORLE *|197 km, altitude gain 300m

Alberto Dainese takes stage 17 bunch sprint in Caorle

Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Alberto Dainese of Padova (Team DSM) won the 17th stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, a sprinters’ stage that took the riders along 197 flat kilometers from Pergine Valsugana to Caorle in the province of Venice. The 25-year-old from Abano Terme thus repeated last year’s success in Reggio Emilia by burning at the finish line the Friulian Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), who is increasingly leading the points classification, and Australian Michael Matthews (Jayco Alula). The general classification remains unchanged with Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) in the pink jersey with an 18″ lead over Portugal’s Joao Almeida (Team UAE Emirates) with Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) third at 25″.
Little was expected from this day and so it was. Not even time to lower the checkered flag and away went four: Belgian Senne Leysen (Alpecin Deceuninck), Frenchman Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Spaniard Diego Pablo Sevilla (Eolo Kometa) and Englishman Charlie Quarterman (Team Corratec Selle Italia). Quickly, the attackers gained two and a half minutes, a lead that remained unchanged for a long time, with the group led by the sprinters’ teams in control. With just over 20 kilometers to go, with the reunion now close, Leysen attempted a solo. Taking advantage of a moment of relaxation in the peloton, the Fleming gained a one-minute lead at the minus 18 mark. Inexorable at this point began the group’s comeback, which materialized under the banner of five at the finish line where the Belgian was absorbed. The sprinters’ trains were taking over the race. On the final straight it looked like Matthews might have the game won. Overbearingly coming back on him, however, were both Dainese and Milan, the latter perhaps again late. The photo finish proved the Paduan right by half a wheel.
Tomorrow sees the 18th stage, the first of a triptych that will decide the fate of this Giro d’Italia. It will be 161 kilometers, peppered with 3,700 meters of elevation gain, that will await the riders from Oderzo, in the province of Treviso, to Palafavera in Val di Zoldo. It will start immediately uphill with the Passo della Crosetta, a first-category GPM, after 40 kilometers. This will be followed by an interlude phase of 80 kilometers in which, going up the course of the Piave River, the race will arrive in Pieve di Cadore. It will be 45 kilometers to the finish line at that point. The ascent to Forcella Cibiana, a first-category GPM whose summit will be encountered at the minus 25 from the finish, will mark the opening of the battle between the three remaining in the race for the overall victory. After the nosedive over Forno di Zoldo there will be two more climbs, both second-category, the grim Passo Coi and, finally, the final climb to Palafavera.Will the fear of Friday’s even tougher fraction restrain the GC men or will we see battle at the top as early as tomorrow? Full results here

We ‘breathe again’ with a completely flat stage from Pergine Valsugana to Caorle before a three-day crescendo. It goes from Pergine Valsugana to Caorle in 197 km. A mouthwatering opportunity for the remaining sprinters to test themselves again before the spectacular finish in Rome, but that’s another story). The stage is basically a billiard that does not seem to leave room for imagination. However, it must be said that the finish is rather twisty, with two left turns in quick succession 2 km from the finish, one right turn 1300 meters from the end, and the last left turn leading into the final 600-meter straight. Of note is the considerable length that forces everyone to expend a lot of energy still ahead of the grand finale in the Dolomites.

Thursday 25 May – 18TH STAGE: ODERZO-VAL DI ZOLDO ****|161 km, altitude gain 3700m

Zana wins stage with Pinot second again. Thomas still in pink

Italian champion Filippo Zana (Jayco Alula) won the 18th stage of the 106th Giro d’Italia, which, through 161 kilometers and 3,700 meters of elevation gain, took the riders from Oderzo to Palafavera. The Italian defeated Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) at the end of a thrilling two-man sprint with another Frenchman, Warren Barguil, taking third place, 50″ behind. Celebrating his 37th birthday in the best way was Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). The Welshman controlled smoothly and has a 29″ lead over second-placed Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), with Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) losing 21″ on his two rivals today and slipping to third place 39″ behind the pink jersey.
Fast start from Oderzo with 20 kilometers covered in the first 23 minutes. On the Passo della Crosetta, the first asperity of the day, a quintet was formed with Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot and Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroen), Italian champion, Filippo Zana and the Israel Premier-Tech pair composed of Canadian Derek Gee and Italian Marco Frigo. Pinot passed first on the GPM, thus beginning a daily en plein with which he mortgaged the conquest of the final blue jersey (Mountain GPM). On the descent, Warren Barguil (Team Arkea Samsic) and Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan) came back on the outriders, bringing the number of outriders to seven. Ineos was initially disinterested in the breakaway. The peloton then passed Pieve di Cadore with 48 kilometers to go with a delay of 5’38”. On the Forcella Cibiana, under the action of Ineos, the peloton recovered a minute. Ahead, meanwhile, Pronskiy was left behind on the climb and Frigo on the descent.
The race turned on the next Coi climb with 10 kilometers to go. Only Zana was able to resist Pinot’s forcing while, in the top group, Roglic unleashed the trusty Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma). The American stamped a ferocious acceleration bringing behind his captain but also Thomas who did not concede a millimeter to the Slovenian. Instead, he took the blow Almeida who was saved by his teammate, Australian Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates). Also losing contact was Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) who would lose fourth place in the rankings to Irishman Edward Dunbar (Jayco Alula) at the end of the stage. Full results here

Tomorrow the nineteenth stage, from Longarone, on the 60th anniversary of the Vajont disaster, to the 2,304 meters of the Auronzo Refuge at the foot of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the new Cima Coppi after the exclusion of the Gran San Bernardo in stage 13. The kilometers to be covered will be 183 with 5,400 meters of elevation gain. There will be five GPMs to climb: the second-category Passo Campolongo after 87 kilometers; the first-category Passo Valparola after 112; the also top-level Passo Giau after 143; and the interlocutory second-category Passo Tre Croci after 169 before the final ascent to the finish.

A short but intense mountain stage of 161 km with about 3500 meters of elevation gain. The stage leads from Oderzo to Val di Zoldo. The first mountain section arrives after nearly 30 km with the tough Crosetta climb (11.6 km at 7.1%, max 11%) and the subsequent undulations of the Cansiglio Plateau; 6 km of steep, tenic descent leads to Cornei where the second, fairly easy climb to Pieve d’Alpago (3.3 km at 5.5%) begins. At the end of the descent begins the flat 30-km stretch that ferries the riders to the very intense finale. Opening the dances is the climb to the flying finish in Pieve di Cadore, overall over 7 km with an average around 5%, but closed by a ramp of about 500 meters at 11% that leads into the historic center.

You breathe for a few km until Venas di Cadore, from which you descend steeply for 1 km to the entrance of the key point of this stage, namely the Forcella Cibiana (9.6 km at 7.8%): already in the first part you reach a peak of 15%, then the gradient stabilizes at 6/7% for a few km; a short almost flat section leads to the last tremendous 5.3 km that have an average of 9.3% and again peaks up to 15%. From the summit there are only 26 km to the finish, moreover never favorable to any pursuers, which is why this could be an excellent point to try a gamble and make up ground in the standings. The umpteenth technical descent of this Giro leads into Val di Zoldo; the road immediately goes back to an affordable climb (2.8% average) until the formal start of the short but very nasty Coi climb (5.8 km at 9.7%, max 19%). Only 5.2 km remain at this point: the first 2 km are downhill, then a few hundred flat meters lead to the final climb to the Palafavera finish (2.7 km at 6.4%, max 10%). Bookmakers favourites: P ROGLIC 7, J ALMEIDA 9, G THOMAS 9, T PINOT 9, I VAN WILDER 11, B HEALY 13, S BUITRAGO 13, F ZANA 16.

Friday 26th May – 19TH STAGE: LONGARONE-TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO (RIFUGIO AURONZO) *****|183 km, altitude gain 5400m

Buitrago wins at Tre Cime, Roglic gains 3″


Buitrago leaves his signature on the Giro 2023 queen stage. He wins the long-awaited stage beating an inspired Derek Gee, one again in second place. Thomas attacks but Roglic responds and recovers 3″ on the Welshman. Almeida lost 23″. Caruso went back to fourth in the general classification, overtaking Dunbar. Today’s stage was Longarone-Tre Cime Lavaredo of 183 km in the Dolomites. 5 GPM in total, 5400 metres of altitude gain, 3 passages above 2000 metres of altitude, including the arrival at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. First kilometres of the race with three elements to be noted: first, there is the breakaway with Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious), Michael Hepburn (Jayco AlUla), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin Deceuninck) Davide Gabburo (Green Project Bardiani Csf Faizanè), Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan), Patrick Konrad (Bora Hansgrohe), Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost), Veljko Stojnic (Corratec Selle Italia), Derek Gee (Israel Premier Tech), Larry Warbasse, Alex Baudin and Nicolas Prodhomme (Ag2r Citroen). Second element: there was an attack by Healy interested in the points of the Gpm but Pinot didn’t give him space, he marked him tightly and caught him at every attempt. Third element: Ineos was at the front pulling the peloton together. Gee was the first to pass both the Valparola GPM and the Giau, where the breakaway group was reduced to four elements: with Gee there were Buitrago, Verona and Hupburn. In the very technical descent of 19 km towards Cortina d’Ampezzo, the men in the lead became eleven: Patrick Konrad, Magnus Cort, Davide Gabburo, Larry Warbasse, Nicolas Prodhomme, Vadim Pronskiy, Santiago Buitrago, Magnus Cort, Derek Gee, Carlos Verona, Michael Hepburn with a lead over the pink jersey group of 6’20” when there were 20 km to go. Two kilometres later, under a violent downpour, Warbasse attacked, but at -17km, Gee, Buitrago and Cort caught him when the hail was raging. Incredible Gee! He also passed first at the Passo Tre Croci followed by Buitrago. At -7 km Gee sprinted. The Canadian remained alone in the lead, but Buitrago gritted his teeth and kept in Gee’s wake. In the pink jersey group, the first notices of battle at -5km with a strange sprint of Arensman that put Dennis in trouble. At -1,5 Buitrago ‘overtook’ Gee and sprinted towards the finish line. Behind, Dunbar gave way, Roglic attacked, Thomas replied, Almeida and Caruso gave up a few metres, but then fell back on the two leaders. At 700 metres Thomas attacked, Roglic resisted and overtook him at the finish line. Then came Almeida and Caruso. Thomas stays in pink with 26″ ahead of the Slovenian and 59″ ahead of the Welshman. Caruso fourth at 4′ 11″ ahead of Dunbar at 4’53″ and Pinot 5’10. Tomorrow the decisive time trial. Full results here

Here is the tappone Dolomitico, the one from Longarone (in 2023 the 60th anniversary of the Vajont tragedy will be commemorated) to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The Giro is coming to an end but there is still space for the third major stage, relatively short, “only” 183 km, but with some of the most demanding Dolomite climbs, surpassing 2000 meters three times: Campolongo, Valparola, Giau, Tre Croci and Tre Cime. The first part is a slow approach from the bottom of the valley to the first GPM, formally, the climb to Campolongo Pass is only 3.9 km at 7% (max 11%), but the climb should be made to start as a whole at Caprile (from here 23km at 4%), after which we already pass two sections of about 2 km at 7% and 4 km at 7%, respectively. The Campolongo is basically an appetizer that will soon be followed by the more challenging Passo Valparola, 14.1 km at 5.6% leading to almost 2200 meters of altitude: the first 6 km are irregular and alternate short ramps with stretches of false-flat; then we face the toughest section of 6.4 km at 8% average and a peak at 12%, sensitive gradients, especially when oxygen begins to run out; finally we reach the GPM with 1 km much more pedalable.

Some 15 km of descent bring you to the foot of the climb to Colle Santa Lucia, another 2.3 km at 7% that adds to the complication. It’s downhill for almost 4 km and then the climb to the first giant, Passo Giau, begins: 9.9 km at 9.3% average and a maximum gradient of 14% with a 2236-meter drop-off. It is historically one of the Giro’s most selective climbs, and placed at this point, 40 km from the finish in the last mountain stage, it could be a perfect springboard for daring the last overturn. Then begins the technical descent to Pocol followed by the easier descent to Cortina. Seamlessly we climb to Passo Tre Croci (7.9 km at 7.2%, max 12%), then descend for 4 and reach Misurina with a 1.5 km tear at 6% (max 13%). After 1,500 nearly flat meters the climb to the Tre Cime formally begins with the 900-meter climb at 13% to Lake Antorno; another short descent and then the real climb to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo begins, 4 km at 11.7% and peaks up to 18%. The climbers’ festival will be on stage. Bookmakers favourites: P ROGLIC 3, G THOMAS 4, J ALMEIDA 8, H CARTHY 13, F ZANA 16, I VAN WILDER 16, T PINOT 16, L FORTUNATO 16.

Saturday 27th May – 20TH STAGE: TARVISIO-MONTE LUSSARI *****|18.6 km, altitude gain 1050m

Incredible chrono, Roglic flips the Giro!

Primoz wins Monte Lussari time trial by inflicting on Geraint Thomas 40″ which means overtaking him in the general classification: tomorrow in Rome in pink. João Almeida is confirmed third, fourth place for the Italian Damiano Caruso.
Photo Credit: © Giro d’Italia

Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) won the 106th Giro d’Italia at the end of stage 20, the dramatic 17.6-kilometer time trial from Tarvisio to Mount Lussari. The Olympic time trial champion covered the distance in 44’03”, at an average of 25.145 kmh, although he was penalized by a chain jump four kilometers from the finish that cost him no less than 15 seconds. The Trbovlje rider inflicted 40″ on his opponent for the final success, Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). Third, today as in the standings, came Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), 42″ behind the winner. The general classification now sees Roglic in the lead with a 14″ margin over Thomas and 1’15 over Almeida.
Roglic exorcised the ghost of the Planche des Belles Filles where, three years ago, under similar circumstances, a Tour de France was snatched from him by young compatriot Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). A repeat took place today, not in the form of a farce but a rematch, with Primoz crowning his dream in front of a flood of enthusiastic compatriots, who arrived in droves from neighboring Slovenia.
Tomorrow the corsa rosa will experience its final apotheosis in the Capitoline sunset with the final sprint over the Fori Imperiali. It will start from EUR towards Ostia and then return to the city and ride a 10.5-kilometer circuit five times: a total of 126. It will be the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who will present the pink jersey to Primoz Roglic, who will thus become the first Slovenian to engrave his name on the “Trofeo Senza Fine.” Full results here

Additional articles: 🇮🇹 Marco Grassi (cicloweb.it) – Crono incredibile, Roglic ribalta il Giro! /// 🇺🇸 Chris Fontecchio (podiumcafe.com) – ROGLIC OVERCOMES MECHANICAL AND THOMAS TO LEAD GIRO D’ITALIA IN STUNNING TIME TRIAL WIN /// 🇳🇱 (wielerFlits.nl)- ROGLIC SLAAT SENSATIONELE DUBBELSLAG IN ZENUWSLOPENDE KLIMTIJDRIT NAAR MONTE LUSSARI ///

Extremely demanding individual time trial. This time trial broken between 11 fast and barely undulating km that favor the cronomen and the final surge to Monte Lussari: it’s 7.3 km at 12. 1% on a concrete road surface, with a first 4.8 km rollover section at 15.3% (max 22%) followed by 1 km pedalable (3.9%) and another very hard one (average 11.9%, max 22%); 500 meters from the finish the road descends for a while before soaring again in the last 150 meters at 16%. Curious are the three intermediate detections placed on the final climb, which will allow a direct comparison between the GC men at different points of this last major difficulty of the Giro 2023.
Please note that for logistical issues, the riders’ starts will be divided into three blocks.

Sunday 28 May – 21st ROUTE: ROME-ROME *|126km, altitude gain 500m

That’s it, the winner is already wearing the pink jersey. All that remains is the final catwalk to the Fori Imperiali. The 106th Giro d’Italia hits the Italian capital for the grand finale. The stage will be a closing showcase featuring an 11.5-km circuit of the centre of Rome, to be repeated 10 times. The route will touch a number of historical landmarks such as the ‘Homeland Altar’, the Senate Palace, the Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla, before the finish at the Imperial Fora, near the Colosseum.