This is a queen stage across the Apennines, with a remarkable vertical altitude gain (over 4,000 m). After briefly skirting the Adriatic coast, the route heads inland, undulating continuously all the way to Guardiagrele, and then takes in long, consecutive climbs up Passo Lanciano, Passo di San Leonardo and Bosco di Sant’Antonio, with two-figure gradients over the first ascent. Past Pescocostanzo and Rivisondoli, the route reaches the foot of the closing climb in Roccaraso.
The closing climb is nearly 10 km long, with an average 5.7% gradient. The ascent is manageable in the first part, and is followed by a false-flat down. The last 2 km rise at a 7% gradient, topping out at 12% over the final kilometre. The stage homes in on 6 m wide tarmac.