Riding is Life


What’s on tap for week two at the Giro d’Italia?

More opportunities for the stage hunters and a handful of big climbs await between now and the second rest day at the Giro d'Italia.

The peloton on stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia. Photo: Luca Bettini/SCA/Cor Vos © 2023

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 15.05.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
More from Dane +

With everything that happened at the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, it’s probably a good thing that the everyone – including the media covering the race – had a chance to recover strength on Monday’s rest day. But as the peloton heads to bed this evening, it’s time to start thinking about what’s to come at this Giro, where the GC battle was turned on its head when overall leader Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) left the race due to COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) will roll out as the new race leader. He and the rest of the Giro peloton will have six days of racing ahead of them before they get their second and final opportunity to enjoy a rest day. Along the way, riders will have some interesting challenges to tackle. There will be plenty of opportunities for stage hunters to make their mark on the race in the first few days of the week, and then there are some big climbs looming.

Primož Roglič showed a bright spark on stage 8 with his late attack, and after a solid time trial on stage 9 is just three seconds behind Thomas. (Photo © Cor Vos)

Let’s take a closer look at what’s coming up as the Giro rolls on …

Tuesday’s stage 10 could be another chance for the sprinters, or it could be a breakaway day, but the GC riders will likely be able to ease off the throttle either way. The road from Viareggio on the Tyrrhenian Coast of Tuscany to Scandino in Emilia-Romagna involves a moderate amount of climbing towards a second-category ascent in the first half of the day, shortly followed by a Category 4, but there are no categorized climbs in the final 75 km. That could mean that Mads Pedersen, Mark Cavendish, Jonathan Milan, Fernando Gaviria, and the rest of the fast finishers in this race will be able to battle for a win, or it could mean that a long-range attack goes the distance.

Stage 11, on Wednesday, will be another day for those racing the Giro with an eye towards nabbing stages. It features two Category 3 climbs before a short Category 4 with over 40 km to go, and then it’s largely downhill to the finish. Expect a sprint, with those aforementioned fast finishers likely to shine.

Thursday’s Stage 12 could be a different story, but it’s hard to say. All told, there isn’t actually much climbing on the day as the race rolls though Piemonte, but a steep Category 2 ascent crested just inside the final 30 km could take its toll on the pack and possibly even spur attacks.

Stage 12 of the 2023 Giro d’Italia.

Whatever happens there, Friday’s stage 13 will be the first real major test of this Giro – although as of Monday evening, there are reports that weather may force course changes. Friday’s stage is set to cover 207 km of racing from Borgofranco d’Ivrea into Switzerland at Valais. Along the way, the original profile features the Cima Coppi of the Giro (the highest point in the race), the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard, as well as two other tough first-category climbs, including the summit finish.

As it was planned initially, stage 13 was rated by the roadbook as a “five-star” difficulty kind of day. Snow in the Alps, however, seems to have required organizers to skip part of what would have been a climb to 2,469 meters and pass through a slightly lower-elevation tunnel instead, but either way, riders will still likely be doing plenty of high-altitude climbing. In other words, even with a bit of the sting taken out of the planned route, this is very likely to be a stage with GC implications, where Thomas, his Ineos teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) should be prepared for battle.

From there, it’s on to stage 14, which starts in Switzerland but will return the peloton to Italy. A massive Category 1 climb to over 2,000 meters in the first part of the stage will be the only real challenge on the parcours. From there it’s either downhill or flat almost all the way to the line. The sprinters should be able to catch back on. We think.

Finally, stage 15 on Sunday could offer some intrigue with its Lombardia-lite parcours. It features an early first-category climb and then three Category 2s, and the last of those could be a great launching pad for a medium-distance attack. Then again, it could also see the overall contenders keeping their powder dry ahead of the second rest day, with the knowledge that the hardest high-mountain climbs are right around the corner for the following week.

At this point, we’re learning to be prepared for anything. A week ago, some people were wondering if the GC battle might as well have been decided already. It obviously wasn’t! We’ll see how things continue to unfold in the coming days …

What did you think of this story?