Giro d’Italia 2023 – Stage 5

The Maglia Rosa changed owner today. Tomorrow looks like a battle between the breakaway and the sprinters.


We have nearly 2700 climbing meters. Most of it is in the first 70 km. It is quite a brutal start to the stage.

This is the opening 71.4 km. It includes a lot of smaller climbs, which I will list. Starting from the 170 km to go and moving east.

Passo Serra – 3.8 km at 7.4%
Unknown climb (starting 20.3 km into the stage) – 1.8 km at 7.8%
Passo di Mirabella – 2.1 km at 7.4%.
Unknown climb 2 (starting 37.3 km into the stage) – 2.6 km at 5%.
Bv. de Torella dei Lombardi – 3.4 km at 5.2%.
Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi – 2.1 km at 6.1% – also intermediate sprint point (-3, -2, -1).

Plenty of kickers to get the break going.

Moving on, we have a long descent and valley before the last categorized climb, Salita Oliveto Citra. This is the last chance to drop anyone you do not want to sprint against. It has it top 57 km from the line.


A boulevard sprint. A crosswind sprint, you want to launch on the right side of the road – we are near the sea, so it will play a factor.


Wind from the SW, meaning a tailwind for the opening 23 km which includes the first two climbs mentioned. The riders turn into a cross-headwind from km 23 – 49, which includes the two next climb on the list. Then, turning west, the riders will have a cross-tailwind on the last two climbs mentioned. The issue is, from the top (71.4 km into the race) and home is mostly with a cross-headwind/headwind. Meaning staying away is not easy. And yet again, another rainy day – tomorrow even worse than the last two days.

How will the stage unfold?

Well, in my GC preview I wrote this down to a sprint stage. Now, with the rain and a tough stage 4 – I am not too sure.

Scenario 1) Breakaway.

The opening 71.4 km are ideal for a break getting up the road. Tomorrow suits the rouleurs more than the climbers. We have quite a tricky descent (when wet) after unknown climb (starting 20.3 km into the stage) – 1.8 km at 7.8%. This is not a bad shout for the break to go. It will be a long battle as we saw today, as Leknessund (DSM), Pedersen (Trek), Matthews (Jayco) and Groves (Alpecin) are not easily willing to letting the breakaway go. If they form a quartet, then the breakaway is likely domed. The second issue is the last 71 km only has one tough climb. It is difficult staying away with the headwind too.

A breakaway will get up the road as the teams with sprinters need to ensure they have riders who can work after the opening 71 km. Then it is about organizing the chase.

Scenario 2) Sprint.

As mentioned, we have four teams more than willing to work for their sprinter. You may add EOLO-Kometa too for Albanese who is from the region. It is a tough cookie to crack for the teams. They need to make sure the gap is not too big and save riders for the chase and lead-out. Then you add the rain and after a tough mountain stage. Tomorrow is not as easy as it looks.

We will have plenty of teams willing to work together for the sprint.

Conclusion: I will favor the sprinters but not say it is impossible for a breakaway to win.


Pedersen – No win yet from the Dane. Tomorrow is another great chance. As the day tomorrow is quite difficult but the climbing is earlier, his chances are better. As a Dane, he will thrive in the rain. It is rare he wins a boulevard sprint but he did do so at Paris – Nice this year.

Milan – took a brilliant win on stage 2 but was dropped a bit earlier than expected on stage 3. Tomorrow should be another great chance for the sprinter tomorrow. With Pasqualon at his side, he will start his sprint from a good position once again.

Matthews – they need to make this hard. Scotson, Zana and Dunbar all look flying just now. De Marchi opted for the breakaway too. I think this is a way bigger task than on stage 3 as the climbing meters are far from the line. Will they sit back and save some energy for stage 6? I would if I was their DS.

Groves – he is climbing well but he is not as quick as I thought. Well, Oldani certainly did not help him on stage 3. I expect the team to help him tomorrow, they would also benefit heavily from dropping Ackermann, Dekker and Gaviria.

Albanese – finishing once again near his home. He went deep today, very deep. I hope to see EOLO-Kometa help with some of the work tomorrow.

Stewart – punctured on stage 3. Tomorrow is a good chance for a top-10 spot.

Dekker – he looked mighty quick on stage 2. However, I’m uncertain if he can handle the amount of climbing. He has one good result with loads of climbing meters in Tour de Pologne – all the way back in 2021. If he makes it, he is a contender for the podium.

Mayrhoffer – I think Dainese is on duty to help, so does their race report from stage 3 say. He is quick and he can climb. Another top-10.

Ackermann – if he and Gibbons manage to stay in contention, they should fight for a top-5.

Gaviria – I think he will manage to do well. A podium contender for me but launching early may not be optimal.

For the breakaway, look at rouleurs. Cort, Denz, Wurtz, Battistella and LLS. These types of riders.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Pedersen
⭐⭐⭐Milan, Groves
⭐⭐ Matthews, Albanese, Gaviria
⭐ Dekker, Stewart, Mayrhoffer, Ackermann

Who will win?

A tough day. Loads of climbing and terrible weather. It suits a classics-rider, a stage win for Mads Pedersen. I do think most of the sprinters will make it.

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