I asked ChatGPT to create a 2023 Giro Donne route and this is what it came up with

Annemiek van Vleuten. 2022 Giro Donne. Stage 4: Cesena. 4.7.2022.

The 2023 Giro Donne route still hasn’t been announced, although it should be known in around 2-3 weeks at the end of April. To fill the void I gave ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that is very much in the news at the moment, a chance to come up with a route instead. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot, designed to have human-like interactions and is able to pull information from many sources. Depending on what you ask of it, ChatGPT can be very convincing and as a result, it has already been banned in Italy, somewhat ironically given the task I’ve got for it. I asked it for 10 stages, start and finish locations, the distances and any major climbs on the stage route to see what it came up with.

ChatGPT certainly produced something of almost some use. It has flaws certainly but it’s a decent effort for something that’s automated. Thankfully for those of us who write about women’s cycling, it won’t be replacing us just yet. As you look down the list of stages, the geography of Italy hasn’t been fully utilised as it focuses almost entirely on the area of the Italian Lakes and the top section of the country. The furthest south we go is Venice and that leaves something like 90% of Italy unused.

Another flaw is the monster Stage 3. It’s claimed a distance of 180km but the actual mapping has it at over 300km long. Ultimately, it’s an alright race design but it still needs human intervention to really produce something of proper quality. Also unlikely is Stage 8 being a rest day, rather than separating it out into a rest day and an actual Stage 8. That might leave fans feeling slightly short-changed.

Giro Donne Stage 1

Prologue Time Trial

Start and Finish: Milan
Distance: 10.5km
Terrain: Flat
No major climbs.

ChatGPT: This stage will serve as an introduction to the race and a chance for riders to showcase their individual time trial skills. It will also set the stage for the overall classification.

ProCyclingUK: Nothing major to add really, it’s a solid start and something the Giro Donne has done in recent years. Always helps shake up the GC ready for further battles down the line.

Giro Donne Stage 2

Road Race

Start: Milan
Finish: Como
Distance: 115km
Terrain: Hilly
Major climb: Madonna del Ghisallo (8.2 km at 6.2%)

ChatGPT: Rolling hills with a challenging climb near the end This stage will test the riders’ endurance and climbing abilities. It will also provide an opportunity for breakaways and tactical racing.

ProCyclingUK: There’s definitely some potential with this route. The Ghisallo saw action as a stage finish back in 2014’s Giro Rosa, with Emma Pooley winning by 25″ from Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Marianne Vos. The likes of Anna van der Breggen, Elisa Longo Borghini and Annemiek van Vleuten were all in the top 10 that day. Where it’s positioned on this stage, the Ghisallo would be more of a launch pad, with a decent distance left to cover before potentially a small group sprint in Como. It’s reminiscent of the 2023 route for the Vuelta CV Feminas.

Giro Donne Stage 3

Road Race

Start: Como
Finish: Canazei
Distance: 180km
Terrain: Mountainous
Major climbs: Passo dello Stelvio (24.3 km at 7.5%), Passo di Fedaia (14.7 km at 7.3%)

ChatGPT: This stage would be a long and difficult one, with two major climbs that would test the riders’ climbing abilities. The Passo di Stelvio is a classic climb that has been included in the Giro d’Italia several times, while the Passo di Fedaia is a challenging climb with steep sections. The finish in Canazei, located in the heart of the Dolomites, would provide a spectacular setting for the end of the stage.

ProCyclingUK: Honestly, I’ve no idea where ChatGPT has plucked this idea from. Como to Canazei is around 320km by road, let alone trying to fit in the Stelvio and Fedaia into that somehow! Let’s just say this is one that ChatGPT needs to rethink. I’ve not even attempted to create a profile for it as it’s too unrealistic.

Giro Donne Stage 4

Team Time Trial

Start and Finish: Bergamo
Distance: 35km
Terrain: Flat to rolling
No major climbs.

ChatGPT: Rolling hills with a challenging rise to the end This stage will test the riders’ endurance and climbing abilities. It will also provide an opportunity for breakaways and tactical racing.

ProCyclingUK: There’s plenty to test teams on this team time trial, an tough early 5km or so will reward teams who can keep together before a generally downhill 15km to keep the speed ticking over. The rise to the finish for the final 6km will test whether or not the effort has been managed well. It’s the sort of parcours that would remove some riders on non-big teams from GC relevance with many minutes going to be the gap between first and last.

Giro Donne Stage 5

Road Race

Start: Sondrio
Finish: Bormio
Distance: 140km
Terrain: Mountainous
Major climbs: Passo di Gavia (16.5 km at 8.5%), Passo del Mortirolo (12.4 km at 10.5%)

ChatGPT: Several steep climbs with a drop down to the finish line. This stage will be the Queen stage of the race and will test the riders’ climbing abilities to the limit. It will also provide a chance for riders to make significant gains in the overall classification.

ProCyclingUK: It’s certainly a Queen stage! The Mortirolo followed by the Gavia will be enough to destroy the peloton and probably see a good chunk of riders finishing outside of the time limit for good measure. Finishing in Bormio maybe takes the shine off it a little bit, a good solid summit finish probably would encourage more mountain attacking for GC time.

Giro Donne Stage 6

Road Race

Start: Morbegno
Finish: Lecco
Distance: 130km
Terrain: Rolling hills
No major climbs.

ChatGPT: Mostly flat with some rolling hills This stage will be a chance for sprinters to shine and a chance for teams to control the race. It will also provide a break from the challenging mountain stages.

ProCyclingUK: A rare chance for the sprinters in this Giro Donne route, there are a few places where they could get distanced along the way but the nice flat run-in to the finish after going around Lake Como should give them a solid chance after some tough days.

Giro Donne Stage 7

Road Race

Start: Seregno
Finish: Bergamo
Distance: 110km
Terrain: Hilly
Major climb: Colle dei Pasta (8.5 km at 7.3%)

ChatGPT: Rolling hills with a challenging climb at the end This stage will be similar to stage 2 but with a different course, providing another chance for riders to test their climbing abilities and breakaways to form.

ProCyclingUK: It’s a punchy stage with 3 late climbs that all can be launchpads for stage wins but I suspect it would come down to the final climb for the favourites. A short steep climb up into Bergamo is perfect for the likes of Uttrup Ludwig and Niewiadoma. It’s also a return to Bergamo after Stage 4’s Team Time Trial in what turns out to be a very northern Italy-dominated route.

Giro Donne Stage 8

Rest Day

Giro Donne Stage 9

Individual Time Trial

Start and Finish: Verona
Distance: 25km
Terrain: Flat
No major climbs.

ChatGPT: This stage will be a shorter time trial than the prologue but will still have an impact on the overall classification. It will also provide a chance for riders to make up some lost time or extend their lead.

ProCyclingUK: Even more time trial kilometres! After a prologue and a TTT, it’s time for another battle against the clock in Verona.

Giro Donne Stage 10

Road Race

Start: Treviso
Finish: Venice
Distance: 125 km
Terrain: Flat to rolling
No major climbs.

ChatGPT: Mostly flat with some rolling hills This stage will be the final chance for sprinters to shine and a chance for teams to control the race. It will also provide a chance for riders to make last-minute gains in the overall classification. Some riders to watch for in the GC for a race like this include Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Kasia Niewiadoma, Elisa Longo Borghini, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

ProCyclingUK: It’s a final chance for the sprinters into Venice, with a small rise in the early part of the stage but nothing in there to really test the legs. The GC should be pretty much in the books after the TT the stage before so it really is a chance for the fast riders to get a stage for themselves after slim pickings in this route. ChatGPT is limited to 2021 so the Van der Breggen mention makes sense as it was her last season. I’d expect Annemiek van Vleuten to walk this but the notable missing names include Demi Vollering and Marta Cavalli too.