Giro d’Italia 2023: Stage-by-Stage Recap

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reviewed by Rory McAllister
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This Giro d’Italia 2023 began on the Adriatic coast and finished in Rome, the first time in the Italian capital since 2018.

The three-week race covered 3,448 km along the beautiful Italian coastline, along rolling hills, and most importantly, over 51,000 m up some of the most brutal climbs in Europe.

One of the things in particular that distinguished this year’s route from previous editions was the amount of time-trialing. With over 70 km against the clock, we had over three times as much ITT as the Giro in 2022.

Going into this year’s race, there were a number of names being thrown around as potential winners.

However, the clear pre-race favorite was 23-year-old Grand Tour winner and world champion Remco Evenepoel, having won the Vuelta a España in 2022, and been on good form during the spring classics, taking victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Another pre-race favorite was the Vuelta veteran Primož Roglič, having been pipped to what would have been a fourth consecutive Vuelta win last year.

Also riding the Giro this year was a strong Ineos Grenadiers team, featuring multiple Grand Tour winners including Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Giro d'Italia 2023 Recap: Title Image

Stage 1

  • Stage Type: Individual Time Trial (ITT)
  • Distance: 19.6 km
  • Start/End: Fossacesia Marina – Ortona

The Giro d’Italia 2023 kicked off in Abruzzo with a backdrop of clear skies and beautiful azure waters of the Adriatic coast and a sense of excitement in the air as the longest opening time trial in the history of the race got underway.

At the first checkpoint, Evenepoel held an impressive lead of 12 seconds over the two-time time-trial world champion Filippo Ganna, with the other pre-stage favorites having already lost a more significant chunk of time to the young Belgian.

Evenepoel stormed through the rest of the course, sustaining his impressive speed and even extending his lead over Ganna to 22 seconds, finishing with a time of 21:18, that wouldn’t be beaten the rest of the day.

If Evenepoel wasn’t already the clear favorite of the race, his powerful Stage 1 performance would put him firmly in that category and see him wearing the maglia rosa into Stage 2.

Stage 2

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 202 km
  • Start/End: Teramo – San Salvo

After what was a fairly quiet day on the road, a large pile-up initiated around 4 km from the finish saw Cavendish, Pederson, and Tusveld held up.

Out of the chaos came a bunch sprint from the survivors, with Jonathan Milan bursting out in front of the bunch with 100 m to go to take his first-ever Grand Tour stage win.

With the General Classification (GC) podium unchanged from Stage 1, Remco Evenepoel retained the maglia rosa.

Stage 3

  • Stage Type: Medium Mountains
  • Distance: 213 km
  • Start/End: Vasto – Melfi

The first stage boasting any reasonable climbs, the peloton was strung out over the Valico dei Laghi di Monticchio and Valico La Croce (Category 3 and 4 climbs respectively), with Thibaut Pinot taking the points on the mountains.

Going into the final kilometer, the peloton was largely in-tact, until Michael Matthews launched a blistering sprint with Mads Pederson attempting to stay on his wheel.

However, Matthews’ speed proved too much for Pederson – who finished second in the stage – as he took the win.

Evenepoel extended his lead in the GC to 32 seconds, with Filippo Ganna falling out of the podium.

Stage 4

  • Stage Type: Medium Mountains
  • Distance: 175 km
  • Start/End: Venosa – Lago Laceno

Stage 4 was a gritty day in the mountains with over 3550 m of climbing, well-poised to be a day to split the peloton and alter the GC standings.

The first 85 km saw a number of stifled attacks, and, despite a number of crashes on the descent, the peloton remained largely as one.

However, with 90 km to go, a hopeful group of seven riders finally established a viable breakaway, including Aurelien Paret-Peintre and Andreas Leknessund.

The breakaway managed to extend their advantage to almost six minutes over Remco Evenepoel and the rest of the peloton going into the final 30 km.

With seven km to go, Leknessund launched an attack, with Paret-Peintre remaining on his wheel. Meanwhile, the peloton’s pace had dramatically increased due to some hard riding by the Ineos Grenadiers team.

Leknessund launched an attack against Paret-Peintre with four kilometers to go. The Frenchman rode hard and managed to catch the Norweigan with just a kilometer to go. The two rode together for the final kilometer, until 100 m to go when Paret-Peintre attacked again to take the stage.

However, Leknessund’s efforts did not go unrewarded, with the duo’s lead over the peloton being sufficient to take the pink jersey from Evenepoel.

Stage 5

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 171 km
  • Start/End: Atripalda – Salerno

The day began with a number of aggressive attacks in the slick roads of rainy Atripalda. A lasting breakaway trio containing British rider Geraint Thomas formed early on in the race.

After a flurry of crashes due to the conditions, including one between Remco Evenepoel and his teammate, the trio sustained a one-minute lead until six kilometers to go. Primož Roglič and a Jumbo-Visma teammate were the only riders able to bridge the gap, with two kilometers remaining.

Another crash involving Remco Evenepoel left him raging, and caused further confusion that resulted in the front group being led by Kaden Groves and Jonathon Milan.

Groves launched a powerful attack with just meters to go that saw him take the stage. Leknessund retained the pink jersey.

Stage 6

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 162 km
  • Start/End: Napoli – Napoli

After a split in the peloton on the Picco Sant’Angelo climb, two riders – Alessandro de Marchi and Simon Clarke – established a lead that would last until the very final kilometers against a furiously pedaling peloton.

The stage ended in a sprint finish that saw Mads Pederson cross the finish line first. Leknessund remains in the pink jersey.

Stage 7

  • Stage Type: Mountains
  • Distance: 218 km
  • Start/End: Capua – Gran Sasso d’Italia

Stage 7 was the fourth consecutive stage in the mountains, and by far the most difficult yet, with 3900 m of climbing.

Davide Bais, Karel Vacek, and Simone Petilli took a commanding 12-minute lead over the peloton after launching an attack just six kilometers from Capua. This unlikely trio maintained their lead throughout the whole race.

The GC contenders seemed content to be in the peloton, with none launching attacks to attempt to snatch the pink jersey from Leknussund.

With 700 m to go, Bais attacked solo, and crossed the finishline first by a significant margin.

Stage 8

  • Stage Type: Medium Mountains
  • Distance: 207 km
  • Start/End: Terni – Fossombrone

Ineos Grenadier’s Fillipo Ganna unfortunately dropped out of the race before the start of the stage due to Covid-19.

After being part of a successful early breakaway, Ben Healy attacked with 50 km to go on the brutal 19% slopes of the I Cappuccini climb. No-one was able to stay on his wheel and he built an impressive lead over the peloton.

The second time up the I Cappuccini climb, Healy managed to extend his advantage, which now stood at 02:22. He crossed the finish line solo in glee, winning Stage 8 of the Giro 2023.

Leknessunds slender lead over Evenepoel of just 8 seconds remains.

Stage 9

  • Stage Type: Individual Time Trial
  • Distance: 35.0 km
  • Start/End: Savignano Sul Rubicone – Cesena

The GC contenders Evenepoel, Roglic, Thomas, and Leknussund began their ITTs last, with Evenepoel holding an 11-second lead at the first checkpoint over Thomas.

By the second checkpoint, Thomas and his teammate Geoghegan Hart had reduced their time gaps to just 2 seconds.

Evenepoel was riding strong into a headwind, but Thomas and his teammate Geoghegan Hart had managed to reduce the time gap to zero by the final checkpoint – it was anyone’s day.

Evenepoel managed to sustain his lead, winning his second stage and second time trial at this year’s edition of the Giro. He was, once again, in the pink jersey.

Stage 10

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 196 km
  • Start/End: Scandiano – Viareggio

The biggest thing that would happen in this stage was announced before it got underway.

Remco Evenepoel, the then-leader of the race, was forced to drop out due to Covid-19. An extremely unfortunate event for him and spectators alike.

Geraint Thomas was now in pink, leading the general classification.

An early breakaway containing Gee, De Marchi, and Cort was sustained over both climbs into the final 20 kilometers.

Somehow, the sprinters had remained in the peloton and had become a chasing group attempting to close the gap to the front trio.

However, with ten kilometers to go the pursuivants cracked, leaving the front three to fight it out to the finish line. Gee launched an attack in the final kilometer. De Marchi led the charge to close the gap, with Cort on his wheel.

Cort conserved his energy until the point of reaching the race leader Gee, when he stormed past de Marchi to win the stage.

Thomas retained his newly-donned maglia rosa.

Stage 11

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 219 km
  • Start/End: Camaiore – Tortona

After a stifled early breakaway, Thomas and a number of his Ineos teammates were involved in a crash that saw Tao Geoghegan Hart, probably Thomas’ strongest teammate, injured and forced to abandon the race.

Multiple relatively severe crashes later, a reduced front group of Cavendish, Pederson, Milan, and Ackermann fought it out to the finish.

Pederson launched an attack but was quickly caught by a countering and strong-looking Cavendish. Cavendish sustained his lead over Pederson but was caught mere meters from the finish line by Milan and Ackermann.

Ackermann crossed the finish line first by a wheel’s width, taking the stage win. Thomas retained the pink jersey by just two seconds over second-placed Roglič.

Stage 12

  • Stage Type: Medium Mountains
  • Distance: 185 km
  • Start/End: Bra – Rivoli

A number of attacks and confusion in the main peloton led to a front quartet of Berwick, Denz, Skujins, and Tonelli formed immediately after the intermediate sprints, taking +2:15 out of a bickering peloton.

Eventually, three riders – Bettiol, Scaroni, and Baudin – reached an agreement to launch a serious chase against the race leaders. The chasers were later caught by the peloton, further increasing the lead of the front quartet.

In the final kilometers, a number of unsuccessful attacks were launched among the front four. However, with 500 meters to go, Berwick had established a small gap in front of the remaining three. Denz blisteringly sprinted after Berwick, eventually catching him and winning the stage.

With the peloton crossing together, the GC podium remained unchanged.

Stage 13

  • Stage Type: Mountains
  • Distance: 199 km
  • Start/End: Borgofranco d’Ivrea – Crans Montana

Shortly before the race, adverse weather conditions led to a dramatically shortened route. The riders would now begin in Le Chable, and they would ride just 74 km.

Once again, a front quartet was formed early in the race. Pinot, Cepeda, Gee, and Rubio were out in front and had established a three-minute lead before the Category 1 Crans Montana.

A verbal conflict between Pinot and Cepeda erupted after a flurry of individual attacks, with Pinot visibly angry and pointing at Cepeda. Pinot then attacked aggressively, dropping the other three.

Cepeda managed to counter and caught Pinot and the duo were forced to ride together. Rubio caught the leading two with a couple of kilometers to go. In the last kilometer, the original two clearly had less energy, and Rubio managed to storm out in front for the win.

Stage 14

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 193 km
  • Start/End: Sierre – Cassano Magnago

A slow-moving peloton following a decision made by race-leader Geraint Thomas allowed a large breakaway of nearly 30 riders to form and take over six minutes from the peloton on the Category 1 Simplon Pass.

With 85 km to go, the front group’s lead was commanding at over nine minutes. Around 30 km later, a group of four riders managed to break away from the front group, but a joint effort from Denz, Bettiol, and Gee caught them.

Denz and Gee dropped Bettiol in a furious sprint, in which Denz was victorious.

Stage 15

  • Stage Type: Mountains
  • Distance: 195 km
  • Start/End: Seregno – Bergamo

A front group formed that remained largely together until the Category 2 climb of Roncola Alta. A series of attacks led to Frigo and McNulty establishing a slender lead.

Rubio and Healy led the chase, but Healy dropped Rubio with an extremely powerful burst of pace and managed to catch the front two.

The three continued up the climb together, attempting to establish a convincing breakaway from the main front group. With just over three kilometers remaining, Healy launched an attack on his two companions that saw Frigo get dropped.

McNulty, however, looking extremely strong, remained glued to the back wheel of Healy. With less than a kilometer remaining, the two were caught by Frigo, though it proved fruitless as McNulty dropped both of them to win the stage, and Healy finished second.

Stage 16

  • Stage Type: Mountains
  • Distance: 203 km
  • Start/End: Sabbio Chiese – Monte Bondone

After the second rest day, we were immediately back in the mountains as the final week got underway. It was one of this year’s hardest stages, with over 5800 meters of climbing. Yet again, a large breakaway formed very quickly.

This time, however, the pace set by the GC contenders showed some intent to battle it out today. After all, there were only a few remaining opportunities for riders to close the gap on Thomas.

Beginning the Category 1 Monte Bondone, the front group had just over four minutes on the chasing peloton. Joao Almeida rode on the front of the peloton at a high pace, before somehow rapidly accelerating on the brutal slopes.

Kuss, Thomas, and Roglič followed not far behind. In the final 5 kilometers, Thomas attacked with fury, taking time out of the others and passing Almeida. However, Almeida managed to catch him, and the two joined forces.

With 150 meters to go, Almeida launched his sprint, dropping Thomas and winning the stage. Almeida was now 18 seconds behind Thomas in the GC in second place.

Stage 17

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 195 km
  • Start/End: Pergine Valsugana – Caorle

An early four-man breakaway was caught with five kilometers to go due to a high pace set by the peloton to keep the breakaway within reach.

With 500 meters to go, Milan, Matthews, and Dainese were led out by their lead-out men to engage in a sprint finish. Dainese accelerated with alarming speed to take the stage. Thomas held his pink jersey.

Stage 18

  • Stage Type: Mountains
  • Distance: 161 km
  • Start/End: Oderzo – Val di Zoldo

Yet again, within minutes a five-man breakaway had formed, which included Pinot, Paret-Peintre, Gee, Zana, and Frigo. Meanwhile, in the peloton, Thomas and the Ineos Grenadiers were setting a blistering pace to attempt to tire the other GC contenders.

On the Category 1 climb of Forcella Cibiana, Ineos continued to set a high pace to discourage GC attacks. Pinot and Zana joined forces and dropped Frigo and Gee on the steep slopes.

However, this failed to discourage UAE, as Roglič showed his strength by attacking with the help of teammate Sep Kuss. Thomas stayed on his wheel, ensuring that his slender lead wasn’t eaten into.

With 500 meters to go, Pinot and Zana were still together at the front. Zana’s sprint proved too much for Pinot and he accelerated away from him to take the stage.

Thomas and Roglič crossed the finish line together, neither able to take time out of the other with both riding somewhat defensively.

Stage 19

  • Stage Type: Mountains
  • Distance: 183 km
  • Start/End: Longarone – Tre Cime di Lavaredo

We entered this year’s queen stage with everything to play for. Today’s route included the iconic Dolomiti climb of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, this year’s Cima Coppi.

As you might expect, the pace was very high from the get-go with the GC contending teams carefully controlling who would be allowed to form a breakaway. A small breakaway formed early on with a slender advantage over the chasing peloton.

Five riders, including Buitrago launched a chase to bring the front group back to the peloton. The peloton then slowed the pace and allowed a larger time gap to form.

The front group was caught by the chasers to form a larger breakaway. On the slopes of the legendary Category 1 Passo Giau, the front group was whittled down to just five after a well-worked attack. Cort, Verona, Gee, Hepburn, and Buitrago were now leading the race.

The group slowly was caught by more and more stage-winning-hopefuls until the final climb of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Buitrago, Gee, and Hepburn attacked, dropping the remainder of the front group.

With 2.5 kilometers to go, Gee launched an attack. Buitrago managed to catch up and instantly countered, dropping Gee and attempting to finish the stage solo.

He successfully kept the lead at the front to win the queen stage of the Giro 2023. The GC remained the same, despite a stifled attack by Roglič.

Stage 20

  • Stage Type: Individual Time Trial
  • Distance: 18.6 km
  • Start/End: Tarvisio – Monte Lussari Tudor

This year’s mountain time trial would be the decider with Roglič needing to take 26 seconds out of Thomas.

At the first checkpoint, Roglič was riding a strong TT with a two-second lead over Thomas. However, he soon suffered a mechanical with terrible timing and had to get his bike repaired on the side as his maglia rosa hopes hung in the balance.

However, he sped out from the assistance with extremely fast acceleration and sustained what seemed an unrealistic speed to the second intermediate checkpoint. He had extended his advantage to 16 seconds, though this would not be enough to take the pink jersey.

He continued his powerful speed, however, and finished with a new fastest time of the day at 44:23 seconds. Only Thomas was yet to finish.

Thomas rode hard and fast to defend his jersey but finished 40 seconds slower than Roglič, who now seemed to have sealed his victory in the Giro 2023, taking the maglia rosa with a 14-second advantage over Thomas.

Stage 21

  • Stage Type: Mostly Flat
  • Distance: 126 km
  • Start/End: Roma – Roma

A series of promising attacks were swallowed by the peloton with just under 15 kilometers to go. As expected, the stage was set for a bunch finish. Gaviria launched a sprint early, led-out by his Movistar team.

However, the sprinting veteran Cavendish would take the stage, showing extremely encouraging form in what we now know will be his final season. This takes his tally of stage wins in the Giro to 17.

Primož Roglič won the Giro d’Italia 2023 with a time of 85:29:02 for Jumbo-Visma. It was his first-ever Giro win, adding to his three Vuelta titles: an extremely impressive record.

Roglič was followed by Thomas in second place, 14 seconds behind the winner.

Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) finished third, but also won the young rider classification.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the blue jersey of the mountains classification. Jonathon Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) won the points classification in his maiden Giro d’Italia.

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Jack is an experienced cycling writer based in San Diego, California. Though he loves group rides on a road bike, his true passion is backcountry bikepacking trips. His greatest adventure so far has been cycling the length of the Carretera Austral in Chilean Patagonia, and the next bucket-list trip is already in the works. Jack has a collection of vintage steel racing bikes that he rides and painstakingly restores. The jewel in the crown is his Colnago Master X-Light.

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