MILAN (AP)Next year’s Giro d’Italia will be held almost entirely on the Italian mainland.

The 2023 route of the Italian Grand Tour was unveiled in a ceremony in Milan on Monday. It will start in Abruzzo, as announced last month, and end in Rome.

The Giro will not cross over to either of the Italian islands of Sardinia or Sicily but will go briefly into Switzerland on Stage 13, with an uphill finish in Crans Montana. The riders will also climb the Croix de Coeur that day and the Colle del Gran San Bernardo, which at 2,469 meters (8,100 feet) will represent the race’s highest point – traditionally known as the ”Cima Coppi” (Coppi peak).

The route features eight stages suitable for sprinters, three time trials, seven mountain stages – most of which are packed into what should be a dramatic final week – and as many uphill finishes.

”The whole race looks interesting. It’s a fantastic route so it’ll be an interesting race,” said Australian cyclist Jai Hindley, who still has to decide with his team whether he will attempt to defend his title next year.

Riders will climb a total of 51,300 meters (168,000 feet) in vertical elevation, over a distance of 3,449 kilometers (2,143 miles) from May 6-28.

”It would be pretty sweet to the start the Giro with No. 1 on the back, that’s for sure,” Hindley added. ”It’s still early October and the season’s just finished and I haven’t thought too much about what next year has.

”But, you know, I think it also depends on what the route of the Tour de France is like. But the route that came out tonight, it’s also pretty interesting and for sure it’ll be a really, really hard race.”

Here are some aspects of the 2023 race:

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

The 2023 Giro is the first edition since 2013 to have more than 70 kilometers (43 miles) of time trialling.

There will be three individual time trials: The opening day, Stage 9 from Savignano sul Rubicone to Cesena, and the penultimate stage – a demanding climb up Monte Lussari, with an elevation of over 1,000 meters and gradients of up to 22%.

Time trials hold bad memories for Hindley, who lost the 2020 Giro by 39 seconds after the race-ending time trial. He started the final stage wearing the pink jersey only to finish runner-up to Tao Geoghegan Hart.

”There’s three more than I would like,” Hindley said with a laugh. ”But it’s not me organizing the race, so I just take it as it comes. But there were three TTs in 2020 and I was still second, and I think I’m also a bit better at time trialling since then.

”So I’ll continue to work on that and try and make it more of a strength. For sure it’s not really ideal for me but you can’t always get what you want.”

DECISIVE DOLOMITES

The race will likely be decided in the Dolomites Range in what promises to be an action-packed, demanding final week.

Three of the last six stages have been given the maximum difficulty rating of five stars, including the penultimate day’s time trial, and the week kicks off with the Sabbio Chiese to Monte Bondone stage, with over 5,000 meters of elevation.

Stage 19 has no flat sections and has five classified climbs including the Passo Giau, the Passo Tre Croci and the finish up the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, with gradients of up to 18%.

”I think Stage 19 looks the hardest and then followed by the time trial, finishing on the climb there I think that will be really tough,” Hindley said. ”If you run out of legs on that final TT it could cost you the race. Those two stages on the back of three weeks, I think that’ll be pretty crucial.

”Like every year in the Giro it’s always the last few stages where guys can come unstuck and I think this will be no different. It’s a race of attrition and you either have it or you don’t on the last few days.”

CAPITAL FINISH

The Giro will finish in Rome for the fifth time in the race’s 106-year history.

There will be 10 laps of an 11.5-kilometer (7-mile) circuit through the streets of the capital, taking in many of its historic sites.

The route will pass by places such as the Altare della Patria, the Capitoline Hill, the Circus Maximus and finish at the Imperial Forums, in the shadow of the Colosseum.

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