The stage has a hilly profile. The route starts beside the sea, all the way to Ortona, and then follows the constant undulations of the hinterland (taking in climbs up Ripa Teatina and Chieti). Svolte di Popoli, before the plateau leading to L’Aquila, is the only categorised climb. After the GPM, straight roads with a mild incline will lead all the way to L’Aquila, crossing the areas affected by the April 2009 earthquake.
With 9 km to go, the route leaves the ss. 17 and tackles the Via della Polveriera climb, with gradients around 5-6%, topping out at 9%. The route heads down towards the castle, twisting and winding its way through the city until the final descent (partly within the centre), which ends with a sharp right-hand turn 2 km from the finish. With 1,500 m to go, the road goes up again. The final kilometre has a gradient of around 7%, peaking at 11% a few hundred metres before the home straight (450 m, 7% uphill gradient). The finish line sits on a 7 m wide asphalt road.