What the Tour de France is to men’s cycling, the Giro Rosa – the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – is for women and the 30th edition, with 10 stages, starts on Friday and will wind through northern Italy for 10 days.
The stages are mostly hilly, with two time trials and two important mountain routes:
● 5 July: Stage 1 (18.0 km: Team Time Trial) Cassano Spinola to Castellania (hilly)
● 6 July: Stage 2 (78.3 km): Viu to Viu (hilly)
● 7 July: Stage 3 (104.1 km): Sagliano Micca to Piedicavallo (hilly)
● 8 July: Stage 4 (100.1 km): Lissone to Carate Brianza (hilly)
● 9 July: Stage 5 (87.5 km): Ponte in Valtellina to Lago di Cancano (mountains)
● 10 July: Stage 6 (12.1 km Time Trial): Chiuro to Teglio (hilly)
● 11 July: Stage 7 (12.3 km): Cornedo Vicentino to San Giorgio di Perlena (hilly)
● 12 July: Stage 8 (133.3 km): Vittorio Veneto to Maniago (hilly)
● 13 July: Stage 9 (125.5 km): Gemona to Chiusaforte/Malga Montasio (mountains)
● 14 July: Stage 10 (120.0 km): San Vito al Tagliamento to Udine (flat)
As you would expect, the 144-rider, 24-team field includes several returning medalists, including three former winners:
● Marianne Vos (NED) ~ Winner in 2011-12-14
● Anna van der Breggen (NED) ~ Winner in 2015-17; third in 2014-16
● Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) ~ Winner in 2018; third in 2017
● Tatiana Guderzo (ITA) ~ Second in 2013; third in 2010
● Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) ~ Second in 2017
● Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) ~ Second in 2018
● Amanda Spratt (AUS) ~ Third in 2018
Three-time winner Vos has the most stage wins in this race all-time, with a staggering 21. Van Vleuten has eight and Kirsten Wild (NED) has four among the active riders.
In terms of the current season standings, three of the top five riders are in the Giro Rosa: van Vleuten (leading with 948 points), Kasia Niewiadoma (POL: second with 910) and Vos (NED: fourth with 624).
Dutch riders have won eight of 13 races on the World Tour so far, with van Vleuten taking Strade Bianche and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Vos won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and van der Breggen grabbed La Fleche Wallonne and the Amgen Tour of California. Wild won the Three Days of De Panne (a one-day race this year) and Gent-Wevelgem back in March.
An Italian rider hasn’t won the Giro Rosa since Fabiana Luperini won her fifth title back in 2008. Perhaps this is the time for Elisa Longo Borghini, the 2017 runner-up? She won the four-stage Emakumeen Euskal Bira stage race in Spain in May and this will be her eighth Giro Rosa. She has done well, finishing 5-8-11-2-10 from 2014-18.
Look for results here.