2023 Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Preview

Capua > Gran Sasso d’Italia (Campo Imperatore) 218km

The first mountain stage of the race, and as there isn’t another one for a week, this is a little peak at what’s to come later on. The finish of Gran Sasso was last used back in 2018, when Simon Yates won a sprint from a small group. It’s a funny climb, the length of it can leave some without energy for the final 2km, but there are much harder mountains in the race. Gaps aren’t likely to be big between the top 10, will this stop teams from chasing the break?


Sunny and warm, but as the finish is at over 2000m, it’s cold up the top of the mountain. The final climb will have big banks of snow at the side of the road.

The Finale

This is the cat 2 climb which starts with 45km to go. 13.5km at 5.9% isn’t the hardest climb in the world, but it does start to soften the legs. This is followed by 5km of flat, 9.4km at 3.8%, then around 10km of rolling roads. This brings the riders to the final rise to the line.

Just like the first climb, it’s not that hard, but the altitude makes it seem harder. Add in the cumulative effect of the final 45km and you start to understand why this could be a big day in the GC battle. The final kilometre averages 7.3%, it suits someone who’s still got some punch.


Why did Soudal – QuickStep tell everyone about Remco’s injuries? Teams normally keep things like that behind closed doors, I was amazed to see the team go public after his crash on Wednesday. To let everyone know about a potential weakness is incredibly naive, it invites attacks and aggressive racing. However, it could also be a bluff, the start of the mind games. Let everyone think Remco is weakened, they’ll respond by riding hard, then Remco puts them to the sword. By the end of this stage, we’ll know if it was a touch of genius or amateur hour.

How will the first mountaintop finish unfold? The breakaway will sense a chance. It might be the first MTF, but I’ve seen harder. This is a long day in the saddle, the longest stage in the whole race, who’s going to chase? DSM will want to honour the jersey, but if a threat to pink isn’t at the front, they won’t ride hard. Soudal – QuickStep certainly won’t, all eyes will be on Ineos. They have Swift and Puccio to chase on the flat, Ganna when we get deeper into the race, but only De Plus, Arensman and Sivakov for most of the final 40km. It’s the aged old problem of coming with two leaders, it leaves you short on domestiques. The same is true of EF, Bora, UAE, and Bahrain, which is great news for the break. Jumbo-Visma could ride, they have one leader and quite a few good climbers to assist. The issue will be riding all day only for Remco to put more time into Roglič, but maybe he is injured after all.

Another issue for those wanting a GC showdown is that nearly all the final 13km is headwind. Now, the wind isn’t too strong, but the climb is exposed, and the wind will put off any long-range attacks. The more I think about it, the more I like the chances of the break.

The problem for the climbers wanting to make the morning move is the flat start, it makes it so much harder for them to escape the pack. Due to the length of the stage, the break will need at least 8 men to stand a chance, and some climbing talent too. 

The headwind means the main GC action will be saved for the final kilometre; it’s not going to be a great stage to watch. The main thing everyone will be watching out for is any sense that Remco is injured. This stage is not only a test for him but also his team. He was isolated the other day, Soudal – Quick Step will want Hirt and Van Wilder to survive deep into the finale, a poor showing will only give the others hope for the final week.


Remco Evenepoel – is he hurt? He mentioned before the race he wanted to go all-in during the first two TTs, and not anywhere else. I don’t see him trying anything fancy in this stage, simply follow the wheels, and see where it takes him. If the stage is still available, he’ll go for it, but it’s all about not losing time and saving as much as possible for the big TT on Sunday. If he is sore, this is going to be a demanding stage for him.

Primož Roglič – will Jumbo-Visma try and put Evenepoel under pressure? This finish is a good one for Roglič, it’s the type of stage he’s made a career out of winning. He’s got a strong enough team to hold the race together and set him up for the win, but he’ll be worried about Evenepoel.

Tao Geoghegan Hart – in great form, but he’s not as fast as the big two. 

Aleksandr Vlasov – just how good will he be? Some are saying his disappointing season was all part of a plan to come here undercooked, that’s bollocks if you ask me. I’m still waiting for him to recapture last year’s form; he’ll be hoping that happens in this stage.

Lennard Kämna – there’s no point coming to a race with two leaders and not attacking early. The headwind isn’t ideal, but I still expect Kämna to roll the dice and attack. He needs to time it well, it’s all to do with waiting until all the domestiques have done their job, then we’ll see if anyone wants to chase him down.

Santiago Buitrago – he’s in the same position as Kämna. His current shape is excellent, and this is a good finish for him. With Haig and Caruso as team leaders, I hope he has the freedom to attack inside the final 3km.

Thibaut Pinot – was 2nd to Yates back in 2018, and his current shape looks good. The cold weather is something he won’t mind, and I get the sense he’s going to attack. Pinot is riding with the freedom of someone in their final year, he can throw caution to the wind and play a high-risk tactical game.

Hugh Carthy – the cold conditions are good news for big Hugh, at least there’s one good thing about coming from Preston (only joking big man). This isn’t a classic Carthy climb, it’s not hard enough. This stage is all about trying not to lose time, the same can be said for many with aspirations of the top 10.

Joe Dombrowski – breakaway hopeful number 1.

Ben Healy – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Harm Vanhoucke – breakaway hopeful number 3.

Brandon McNulty – breakaway hopeful number 4.

Prediction Time

I like the chances of the break, but it needs some climbing talent to go all the way.

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I’ll take a breakaway win for Brandon McNulty. Back in the GC group, I think Remco will be just fine and back in pink.