The Hardest Stages of the Giro 2023

The Hardest Stages of the Giro 2023

Everyone loves to say "this year's Giro is the hardest" or "this year's Tour is the hardest" - when in reality they're generally all hard. As INEOS rider, Geraint Thomas, put it in his recent podcast the Giro is "a hard race with climbs, a couple TTs, and some sprints". He may have wanted to remind the organizers about the sprints, because they seem to have forgotten most of them this year.

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Regardless, this year's Giro d'Italia does have an astoundingly hard third week. So if you missed the action on today's time trial, don't worry, there's definitely more to come.

We offer up the top three hardest stages with calendar dates so you can be sure to catch them, their gruelling action, and the potential general classification (GC) opportunities they offer up.

#1 - Stage 13 - May 19th

Our pick for the Queen stage of the Giro.

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208km with three incredibly intense climbs scattered throughout the stage. We were hard pressed not to put the second climb, Croix de Couer - 15.5km @ 8.6%, on our top three hardest climbs list.

Climbs: 34.3km @ 5.5%, 15.5km @ 8.6%,  12.9km @ 7.3%
Descents: 2nd descent is 1679m in 15km. A bit more than 100m a km.
Total Elevation Gain: 5212m

Breaks could easily form over any of initial climbs, but most likely over the second. With an epic mountain top finish, at a grueling average of 7.3% for 13km, this stage should be a treat. Maybe not for the riders, but for the viewers.

Good ol' Jay Vine

#2 - Stage 19 - May 26th

Well we're glad the organizers are allowing the race to be interesting right to the finish. Probably making up for all the individual time trials they slotted into this year's tour 🙃. If your rider is bad at time trials (TT) - hopefully they can make up time here before the next day's alpine TT.

The final three biting climbs right at the finish should offer unique opportunities for team tactics compared to say one long final climb.

Climbs: 4km @ 7%, 14km @ 5.7%, 9.8km @ 9.3%, 8km @ 7.2%, 7km - 7.8%
Descents: Down from Passo Giau is 700m in 6km. More than 100m a km.
Total Elevation Gain:

#3 - Stage 16 - May 23rd

This is the "whoops we messed up on stage 13 and need to make up time" stage. Teams that need to re-coup GC time losses will look to make a dent here. With a total elevation gain of 6240m it takes the prize for the most amount of elevation gain within a stage.

Expect either a break of "free" riders on the second to last climb, or for the GC action to kick off the final climb. The final climb also starts near to sea level, at 201m, so expect some insane power to weight numbers coming from the riders over those final 22.7km.

Climbs: 12.8km @ 8.2%, 4.6km @ 7.1%, 11.4km @ 5.6%, 17.5km @ 5.5%, 22.7km - 6.4%
Descents: Down from Serrada is 1050m in 8km. More than 100m a km.
Total Elevation Gain:

This was a stage option for the 2009 Giro before it got cancelled by the organizers due to a rockfall on Col de Vars. Absolutely brutal.