Five stages, four of them with mountain finishes. And of these, three above 1,900 metres of altitude. Almost 16,500 metres of accumulated positive vertical drop in the 626 kilometres of routes proposed for this 2023 edition. Little more can be added to what has been said about one of the toughest races of the season, which is determined to improve from year to year once it has recovered a certain normality after the years of the pandemic.
The Italian Giro Ciclistico del Valle d’Aosta is so tough that it is sold as the event “where legends are born”. There will be sixteen mountain passes this year, with the ascent of Breuil Cervinia and its marvellous views of the Matterhorn/Cervino (depending on the side, whether it is Switzerland or Italy) as the epilogue, as in recent years. And if the ascents will be hard, some of the descents will be technical. Not a breath of fresh air. It’s not a race for sprinters, no.
The U23 structure of the Contador Foundation, which two seasons ago took over from the continental team of the Contador Foundation after its jump to the ProTeam category, travels to Valle d’Aosta with a quintet (as in the Giro U23, in this event the teams are made up of five units, 25 squads and twelve countries will be represented) of good climbers: Luca Bagnara, Ramon Fernandez, Arnau Gilabert, Antonio Gonzalez and Raul López.
Raúl López, member of the blue quintet that will start what will be his second experience in the Aosta Valley after 2021: “We’ve been looking at the stages in more detail and one thing is clear: it’s going to be very hard. It’s going to be tough every day. The fourth stage is going to be particularly complicated, very hard, with more than four thousand metres of elevation gain and on top of that, climbs with a very steep average gradient. And the next day, the mythical finish on the Matterhorn. I especially remember this last stage because two years ago it was the stage where I had to withdraw because I got hit by a car. Aosta is always a tough race and this year will be no exception. I’m motivated, I know I’m strong and I think we’re in a position to have a good race. After a good series of races in Castellón, La Rioja and the Nationals, with good performances, I’m looking forward to racing again”.
12 July | Stage 1: Arvier – Arvier (80.9 km).
13 July | Stage 2: Courmayeur – Pré de Pascal (125.1 km).
14July | Stage 3 : Saint-Vicent – Bionaz / Place Moulin (138.1 km).
15 July | Stage 4: Verrayes – Fénis / Val Clavalité (172.5 km).
16 July |Stage 5 : Valtournenche – Breuil Cervinia (109.7 km).