Giro d’Italia 2023
The Giro d’Italia is the second biggest stage race after the Tour de France and is a particularly special event for die-hard cycling fans. Every year the race winds its way through spectacular green countryside with rolling hills, along cypress-tree-lined streets, through quaint villages and famous wine regions, past major historical landmarks and along the beautiful Italian coastline overlooking sand and sea. But most importantly, the route takes the cyclists into the mountains to race on the steepest, most beautiful and most iconic mountain passes that the country has to offer. Meanwhile, spectators dream of Italy’s first-class cuisine, excellent espressos and fine wine. This is exactly what enchants fans year after year. There’s a good reason why the race’s slogan is always ‘amore infinito’ – infinite love.
BORA – hansgrohe / Sprintcycling
Giro d’Italia: a potted history
The Giro d’Italia was first staged in 1909, starting and ending in Milan and covering eight stages and 2,448 km. Out of the 127 cyclists who started the race, only 49 crossed the finish line. This race with its long tradition started out as a promotional campaign for the Italian sports newspaper ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’. The newspaper still exists today and is the reason why the jersey for the overall leader has had its unique pink colour since 1931. This coveted jersey is known as the ‘maglia rosa’ in Italian. There are three other classifications that are also awarded with a jersey: the points classification, the mountains classification and the best young rider classification. Unlike the Tour de France, these special jerseys have changed colour several times throughout the history of the Giro d’Italia. Today, the best climber dons the blue jersey while the leader of the points classification wears the cyclamen-coloured jersey, the ‘maglia ciclamino’. The best young cycling (U25) is awarded the white jersey. 2022 was a special year for BORA – hansgrohe: the team entered the Giro’s history books thanks to Jai Hindley’s win, and it hopes to make its mark once again at this
The 2023 edition
In 2023, the Giro will start in Abruzzo for the second time in its history, kicking off with an individual time trial along the Adriatic coast. After a few stages in southern Italy, the peloton will gradually make its way north. The riders will then head along the Ligurian coastline towards the Alps, crossing the mountain range from East to West. On 19 May, the 13th stage will take riders to the highest point of this year’s race, the Col du Grand St. Bernard at an altitude of 2,469 metres before finishing in the Swiss ski resort Crans Montana. On the following day, the route will return to Italy, where a brutal final week awaits the riders. This will culminate in the queen stage on 26 May, which will cross four Dolomite passes before reaching the legendary mountain finish at Rifugio Auronzo, beneath the majestic Tre Cime di Lavaredo. As if that wasn’t already enough, on the penultimate day the riders face a steep mountain time trial up Monte Lussari. After a plane transfer, the final stage will take place in Rome. On 28 May, the cyclists will go on a circuit around the ‘eternal city’ before facing a final sprint battle. At this stage, whoever is sporting the maglia rosa will no longer need to fear attacks from competitors and can enjoy being celebrated by the tifosi.
The BORA – hansgrohe line-up
30 professional cyclists from 15 different countries in one team. After all, teamwork makes the dream work in cycling. Even though only one rider can be the first over the finish line, winning is a success for the whole team because you can’t win in cycling without domestiques who provide slipstreams, grab water bottles, keep the competition at bay and lead out the sprinters in the sprint.
Solidarity is a top priority in the BORA – hansgrohe team, that’s how the Band of Brothers constantly develop, improve and become more successful. The team started in the third division in 2010, still under the NetApp team name, and was promoted to the first division in 2017. Just two years later and with a total of 47 victories under its belt, the team advanced to the second-best team in the WorldTour division. In the 2022 season, when appointing newcomers and determining its race tactics, BORA – hansgrohe focused on stage races and consequently on general classification specialists. What was initially conceived as a lengthy process already led to success in the first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia. Jai Hindley not only clinched the first Grand Tour podium for BORA – hansgrohe, he also triumphed across the board and got to don the prestigious maglia rosa in the Arena di Verona. It’s hard to celebrate success, but it’s even harder to confirm achievements. The team’s motto for the 2023 season is therefore ‘to confirm its achievements’ – and it has its sights set on another Grand Tour podium. At the same time, it aims to further establish its up-and-coming talents in world-class racing.
This year, 22 teams with eight riders each will start at the Giro d’Italia. There are sprinting specialists, strong climbers and great all-rounders. Aleksandr Vlasov and Lennard Kämna will be on the start line for the general classification. You won’t find a sprinter in the BORA – hansgrohe line-up for this race as the team’s sights are firmly set on the mountain stages and the resulting podium in the general classification.
The 29-year-old German joined the BORA – hansgrohe team in 2023. What belongs together, came together. This father of two is a down-to-earth guy, a loyal helper who makes sacrifices for his teammates in almost every terrain and, above all, he’s always up for a laugh. After finishing school, this avowed fan of ‘schlager’ music went to France to kick-start his cycling career without any knowledge of French, and now he speaks it fluently. To switch off, he absolutely loves cooking surrounded by his family or relaxing in his sauna after a training session (his children come along to the occasional session in their bike trailer).
This repeated road bike and time trial champion from Luxembourg also joined the team in 2023. What he appreciates most about the Band of Brothers is the focused approach to nutrition and technology, and the familiar atmosphere within the team. Bob Jungels is a true all-rounder. On a bike, he is able to impress in major tours, winning demanding mountain stages, classics and time trials. But aside from cycling, he also has many talents and interests. He speaks seven languages, knows his way around the kitchen, owns a dachshund and is a fan of fine wine and fast cars.
Born in Lower Austria, Patrick joined BORA – hansgrohe’s predecessors as a stagiaire (‘test rider’) in August 2014. He’s come on in leaps and bounds since then and consistently snatches a top ten spot in the tours. His invaluable climbing skills have been brought into action at three Tours de France to date. But the keen amateur chef with a love of Austrian cuisine has shown that he can do more by coming 7th, 8th and 13th in the general classification at the Giro d’Italia and by soloing to victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France in 2021. This should be Koni’s declared goal once again this year, as well as supporting team captain Aleksandr Vlasov.
From one of the most successful ski mountaineers to professional cyclist. Anton’s – or Toni’s – story, and everything else that goes with it, is anything but conventional. This combined with his cheery and open personality meant he attracted a lot of attention right from the start of his cycling career. Hailing from Bavaria, Toni is a nice guy who has fun cycling, and this joy is infectious. But he’s not in the peloton just for enjoyment, he can keep up really well, especially in the mountains, and he has just proven that in his first stage races. After a convincing Grand Tour début at the Vuelta 2021, it’s time for him to go to Italy for the Giro. Whatever happens, he’s sure to bring good cheer!
Aleks, who already tried his hand at judo and football before becoming a cyclist, joined the Band of Brothers in 2022, immediately showing what he’s capable of in the first half of the season. As well as securing stage wins and claiming overall victory at both the Tour de Romandie and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, he also performed very well at the Ardennes classics, followed by a powerful fifth place at the Tour de France 2022. This 27-year-old likes to chill out by walking his dog or cooking, and he particularly loves the passion and exuberant emotions of cycling. He finished fourth at the Giro 2021, narrowly missing out on a podium spot. This year, things should go even better: Aleks and BORA – hansgrohe have their sights firmly set on the podium.
The 23-year-old became a professional cyclist in the team in 2021, but Giovanni has nonetheless already had some notable successes in his career so far: he was the Under-23 Italian champion in 2020, and he finished second in the 2019 Tour de l’Avenir and fourth in the 2020 Giro Ciclistico d’Italia (also known as the ‘Baby Giro’). Both races are generally very highly regarded for talent scouts. He showed just what he’s made of among the pros, winning the Sibiu Cycling Tour in 2021 and 2022. This fan of home-made Italian food is feverishly awaiting his third Giro with great anticipation, pride and excitement.
The 26-year-old from the far north of Germany started to make a name for himself early in his career. His skills as a time trial rider battling against the clock stood out in particular, making him junior time trial world champion and under-23s European time trial champion. At just 20 years old, he won the world team time trial championships alongside cycling stars Tom Dumoulin and Michael Matthews, to name a couple. It was the stage win on mountainous terrain at the 2020 Tour de France that grabbed the cycling world’s attention, and not just in Germany. Pancake-fiend Lennard likes to go all in for mountain stages, and his racing style is bold and offensive. This has given every one of his eight wins to date a very special touch.
Cece, as his teammates call him, hails from South Tyrol. Besides his native Italian, he also speaks German, English, French, some Spanish, and if they weren’t enough, Polish too since love brought him to Poland. This means that he can communicate with most of the cyclists in the peloton in their native languages. Cesare was the first cyclist who Ralph Denk recruited to his 2010 line up, a team that was in the third division and known as Team NetApp back then. Cece is one of the best and most loyal domestiques in the peloton. He gives it everything he’s got to help his team, but he prefers to stay out of the spotlight. So, you can imagine how wild the cycling world went when this team player par excellence battled to win the 12th stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. It was the first win in his professional career and at one of the biggest and most prestigious races in the world. No one in the peloton would have begrudged Cece his win.