Luke Mudgway was apprehensive about his climbing ability, but he's poised to strike after a strong 8th place in stage 1, photo Bruce Biddle

A six-strong team has been announced to contest the U23 Giro d’Italia.  The squad who have been racing together in Belgium and Italy for much of the European spring campaign will take their place among the 174 starters of one of the biggest U23 races on the calendar.

This year’s U23 Giro d’Italia, or Giro Ciclistico D’Italia, will draw riders from 29 teams together for the race which begins on June 9th.  Racing will take the riders on seven stages of racing, starting with the 132.2km stage starting and finishing in Imola.  The opener will be one for the sprinters in all probability but from there stage 2 presents the first of the opportunities for the climbers.  The finish up to Castellarano is not a long climb but it is a repetitive one and progressively gets more severe as the climb goes on.

Alex West will be part of the New Zealand U23 team for the Giro, photo Don Kennedy

Stage 3 is a lumpy 140.5km to Forli that still presents the sprinters with plenty of opportunity to take the glory assuming their climbing legs haven’t been spent on one of the five rises of the day.  They then have another near certain sprint finish the following day to Gabicce Mare.

Stage 5 is split into 2 parts, with a summit finish to Ex Cept over 87.2km in part 1 and then a 14km individual time trial in part 2 focussing on the Campocavalo area.

Ryan Christensen will have plenty of opportunities to excel on the climbs, Photo Bruce Biddle

Two more climbing stages bring the race to a close with stage 6 to Casalin Contrada, a journey of 132.2km which is a stage riddled with short, sharp climbs.  And finally the big one brings the race to a close.  Francavilla al Mare to Capo Imperatore is the final 148.9km stage, but the massive HC climb that really begins around 37km from the finish line will put even the best climbing legs to bed.

The New Zealand U23 team to race the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia is below:

James Fouche is off to the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia, photo Sirotti

Alex West

Ryan Christensen

Luke Mudgway

Bradley Leitch

Matias Fitzwater

James Fouche

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