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The hardest stage of the Giro d’Italia 2023

10th May, 2023

The Giro d’Italia, taking place this month, is one of the 3 Grand Tours, alongside the Tour de France and the Vuelta Espana. The race spans an epic 23 days from Naples in the south, to the mountains of the Dolomites in the north. Year after year, the route weaves through different regions of Italy, serving up a tantalizing feast of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes.

From the moment the race kicks off, each day brings forth a fresh challenge, as riders battle it out across a medley of flat stretches, nail-biting time trials, and grueling mountain stages. With the majestic peaks of the Alps, Dolomites, and Apennines standing tall on Italy’s doorstep, it would be a crime for the race organizers not to harness the full dramatic potential of these awe-inspiring vistas, providing viewers at home with a heart-pounding spectacle.

In recent editions, the climbs have emerged as the make-or-break moments, deciding the fate of the coveted pink jersey and the triumphant souls destined to mount the winner’s podium. The 2023 edition of the Giro promises no less, presenting a mix of renowned ascents and exciting new challenges. Brace yourself for a peloton-shattering symphony of lung-busting climbs, where contenders will seize every opportunity to leave their rivals in the dust. And as the final week of racing unfolds, the climbers shall indulge in a veritable feast of adrenaline-fueled conquests.

We think the hardest stage of the Giro d’Italia 2023 and the battle for the Maglia Rosa will be Stage 19, on the 26 May 2023. It features 3 formidable summits that will test the mettle of the riders in this year’s Giro, across terrain well known to cyclists who have completed the Maratona dles Dolomites.

The stage traverses the majestic Dolomites with a series of arduous yet captivating climbs. En route to the ultimate summit showdown later in the day, the peloton ventures through Campolongo, where they conquer the legendary Pass di Campolongo—an illustrious Giro veteran boasting an impressive 14 appearances.

The hardest stage of the Giro d'Italia 2023, The hardest stage of the Giro d’Italia 2023

Descending into La Villa, the riders are swiftly propelled upward once again, defying gravity as they tackle the relentless 13.9-kilometer ascent to Passo Valparola. A mesmerizing tapestry of hairpin bends unfolds, guiding them through enchanting woodlands and eventually revealing an expansive rocky vista. But make no mistake—these are but mere stepping stones, a prelude to the grand peaks that await in the Dolomites’ mystical embrace. Stage 19’s route beckons the riders towards what the Giro’s masterminds have anointed the “Holy Stairs” of this mountainous wonderland—namely Passo Giau, Passo Tre Croci, and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

The Passo Valparola banner at the top of the Valparola pass on the Maratona dles Dolomites

Behold the first threshold—Passo Giau. A legendary climber’s sanctuary, it holds a pivotal role in the fabled Maratona des Dolomites sportive and made its inaugural Giro appearance back in 1973. Since then, it has graced the race only on a handful of occasions. Towering at an altitude of 2,236 meters, this colossus boasts 29 treacherous hairpin bends, relentlessly challenging the riders with a 10-kilometer ascent sporting a formidable 9% gradient.

Passo Giau in Italy

Prepare to confront the brooding, brutal, and undeniably beautiful final frontier—the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Its Giro debut in 1967 left critics divided, with the last harrowing 4 kilometers of the climb deemed excessively punishing for the riders. So severe was the struggle that the overall classification results were nullified, with spectators lending a hand to propel the weary warriors forward. Nonetheless, this audacious ascent continues to grace the hallowed grounds of the Italian Grand Tour, undeterred by its breathtaking gradients.

So enjoy 26 May where you can watch riders attack the hardest stage of the Giro d’Italia 2023.

If you fancy riding these climbs, join us on the Maratona dles Dolomites or enjoy a self guided cycling holiday in the Dolomites.