The first of cycling’s three Grand Tours gets underway on Saturday as 176 riders from 22 teams prepare to compete over 21 stages of the 2023 Giro d’Italia.

Starting with a 19.6km individual time-trial in Fossacesia in the Abruzzo region, the peloton will pedal its way through Bel Paese, aiming to come through seven summit finishes and much more before rounding things off with a largely ceremonial ride around Rome.

Defending champion Jai Hindley has chosen to skip the race, instead opting for a first shot at the Tour de France, and it looks all set to be a shootout between Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic for the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey).

Giro d’Italia betting tips

Primoz Roglic outright @ 15/8

Hugh Carthy each-way @ 33/1

The route

This year’s Giro route takes in 3,448.6km of racing, with 73.2km of that coming against the clock, including on the penultimate day as the riders climb to Monte Lussari.

That is one of four stages that the organisers have awarded five stars for difficulty and ends a brutal few days in the Dolomites.

Before that, that riders will race across the Apennines, with the first summit finish coming on stage four, while stage seven concludes with a 45km ascent to Grand Sasso. A pan-flat stage nine time trial over 33.6km ends a fabulous first week.

The second week looks set to be headlined by stage 13, which sees the race spend time in Switzerland and features 5,100m of climbing, including the 34km-long Colle del Gran San Bernardo, before concluding on Croix de Coeur.

After digging deep in the Dolomites, notably on the penultimate stage, the peloton will be relieved to see Rome, with a circuit race around the city set to conclude the 106th edition of the Giro.

Primoz Roglic outright @ 15/8

With his Tour de France dreams now arguably over due to the exploits of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar, Roglic has set about looking elsewhere.

The Slovenian was third at the Giro in 2019 as he and Vincenzo Nibali were outmanoeuvred by Richard Carapaz and has bounced back from DNFs at both the Tour and Vuelta a Espana in 2022 by winning both Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya in March.

The second was particularly significant as he beat the reigning Vuelta champion and 5/6 Giro favourite, Remco Evenepoel.

Evenepoel, who successfully defended his Liege-Bastogne-Liege crown in April, also won both the third and seventh stages in Catalunya, but Roglic was always in control. The Belgian could gain on his rival in the time trials, but doubts remain over his climbing, especially when the gradient hits double digits.

His support team may have been hit by an outbreak of COVID-19, but the three-time Vuelta champion is said to be fine, and at 33, 10 years older than Evenepoel, Roglic’s extra miles on the clock should give him the steel to see off ‘Aerobullet’.

Hugh Carthy each-way @ 33/1

While those two duel it out for the pink jersey, there could be value in looking at the prices to take third, with Betfred paying 1/4 each-way on podium finishes.

A rider to watch could be Carthy, who came home eighth and ninth at this race in 2021 and 2022, respectively, having been third behind Roglic at the Vuelta in 2020.

The Lancastrian was on brilliant form towards the end of last year’s Giro, recording three top 10s and having used his understated style on his way to eighth at Tirreno-Adriatico and then second to Teo Geoghegan Hart at the Tour of the Alps has a real chance of making the top three.

 

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