The Hardest Climbs in the Giro d'Italia 2023

The Hardest Climbs in the Giro d'Italia 2023
Good ol' Pogačar

While everyone loves to say "this year's Giro is the hardest" or "this year's Tour is the hardest" - this year's Giro d'Italia 2023 is definitely something special in terms of the sheer amount of elevation and brutality of the climbs offered up. It's no reason that teams have left most of their sprinters at home.

Stage Date Rank Elevation Gain (m) Climbs
7 May 12th 6 4119 4
10 May 16th 7 3020 3
12 May 18th 10 2331 2
13 May 19th Queen Stage 5212 4
14 May 20th 8 2998 1
15 May 21rst 4 4040 4
16 May 23rd 3 6240 5
18 May 25th 5 4140 6
19 May 26th Runner Up 5423 6
20 May 27th 9 1070 1

We break down the key climbs on the hardest stages and offer up our pick for the Queen stage of the Giro d'Italia. We rank the stages based on elevation gain, if there's a mountain top finish, the steepness of the climbs, how far into the tour the climb is, and how close the climbs are situated together.

The Best Giro d’Italia 2023 Sprinters | Pro Cycling Bets
Analysis of the best and favourite cycling sprinters coming to the Giro d’Italia 2023 and advice on which stages they may target.

Hardest Climbs

Here are our top three picks for the hardest climbs of the Giro d'Italia 2023. Taking the top slot here doesn't necessarily guarantee that the corresponding stage will be the hardest. So keep reading for our picks for the Queen stage, runner up and rankings of the other hill climb stages.

#1 - Col du Grand Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard's are one of the world's largest dog breeds with their weight ranging from 64 to 120 kilograms. In fact, a St. Bernard named Benedictine still holds the world record for being the heaviest dog ever at 357 lbs. So this climb is aptly named as it's also absolutely massive.

34.3km @ an average of 5.5%. While it's not the steepest climb of the Giro, it most certainly is the longest. It's the first of three gigantic climbs on stage 13 and will weed out anyone who isn't completely on form.

#2 - Passo Giau

Hailing the day before the stupendous individual of stage 20, stage 19's Passo Giau offers riders 9.8km @ a back breaking 9.3% average. That's incredibly steep for such a long time. If rider's weren't wishing this grand tour was over already, they most certainly will after looking at the road book for this climb.

#3 - Monte Bondone

While there's a plethora of choice for the third spot, Monte Bondone of Stage 15 takes the third slot. Stage 15 finishes on this climb, which in total is 22.7km @ 6.4% percent, and starts out at 3.1 km @ 9%. This is all after four killer climbs previously in the stage. This should prove to be an incredibly exciting day to tune in.

Hardest Stages

There's definitely a few stand out stages you'll want to mark down on your calendar. We'll start out with our pick for the Queen stage and our runner up and then dive into each specific climb stage.

Queen Stage

We've selected stage 13 as our Queen stage, also known as, the hardest mountain climbing stage of a professional cycling multi day stage race.

Three incredibly intense climbs are scattered throughout the stage, and we were hard pressed not to put the second climb, Croix de Couer - 15.5km @ 8.6%, on our top three hardest climbs.

Runner Up

Stage 19 easily slot in as our runner up stage. It's right before the draconian individual time trial stage the next day and has potentially the five hardest climbs given how close they are situated together.

In the span of 100km they face 4km @ 7%, 14km @ 5.7%, 10km @ 9.3%, 8km @ 7.2%, and 7km @ 8% right at the finish.

Stage 7

The climbing action kicks off on stage seven with the first major climbs of the historic multi-day race.

You're reading that right. That's 26.6 km of climbing right to the finish on Campo Imperatore with kickers of 6.3km @ 7% and 13.5km @ 6% throughout. That should basically be a solid hour of climbing, and just at the cusp of when draft starts to matter less.

Stage 10

Passo Delle Radici, while bolted on right in the middle of stage 10, should still prove to be a lung buster. 33.7km of climbing with kickers throughout (8km - 5.1%, 2km - 5.8%). Not the hardest climb of the tour, but nothing to scoff at.

Stage 12

Stage 12's Colle Braida will be a defining moment for the stage, at 10.7km @ 5.9% it's long enough and hard enough to prove as potential grounds for a breakaway.

Stage 13

We would not want to ride this stage to be completely honest. Stage 13 features three massive climbs, one right at the finish. Mark this one in your calendars. You have Col Du Grand Saint Bernard - 34km @ 5.5%, Croix de Couer - 15.5km @ 8.6% and Crans-Montana as the finishing climb, a bold 13km @ 7.3%.

Stage 14

Stage 14's Passo delle Sempione is 36k into the course, so as long as the sprinters can get over it, should be a bunch finish, but it's still 20km of climbing at 6.6%.

Stage 15

Stage 15 is one to mark down in your calendars. An absolutely brutal stage of four major climbs: 12km @ 8%, 11km @ 5.5%, 5.2km @ 7% and 10km @ 6.7%. Over 4000m of climbing and a cobbled sector.

Stage 16

You'd think they'd get a break after stage 15, but the Giro organizer's must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Stage 16, another big X for your calendar has not just four, but five major climbs: 12.8km @ 8%, 5km @ 7%, 11.5km @ 5.6%, 17.5km @ 5.5% and 22.7km @ 6.4%.

Stage 18

They may get a rest on stage 17, but they're right back at it on stage 18, with five major climbs and a mountain top finish. The climbs start with Passo della Crosetta - 13.5km @ 7.1%, and then if we skip a minor kicker, ends with 7.3km @ 4.8%, 9.7km @ 7.7%, 5.5km @ 9.5%, and 2.3km @ 7%.

Stage 19

Stage 19 has high potential to be the Queen stage. Not only is it right before the draconian ITT stage the next day but it potentially the five hardest climbs given how close they are situated together. In the span of 100km they face 4km @ 7%, 14km @ 5.7%, 10km @ 9.3%, 8km @ 7.2%, and 7km @ 8% right at the finish.

Stage 20

We'd be hard pressed not to mention the final TT. We mean c'mon, 7.4km @ 12% - so steep that you can't even get a directeur sportif in a car up the hill and they have to use a motorbike instead? They really wanted to end with a bang here.