The Giro Rosa (September 11-19) has, for many years, been the longest stage race the women’s peloton has to contend with. With that title lost due to the arrival of the 10-day Battle of the North, the organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure an explosive race starting with a team time trial and taking in dirt roads, sharp climbs and summit finishes.
The race has been included within the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar since its inaugural year in 2016, but the Italian procession of women’s cycling far pre-dates the UCI series with this being it’s 31st edition.
The organiser’s insistence on ensuring the Giro Rosa’s dates coincide with the Tour de France mean that in the past the race has been overlooked and incredibly hard to follow.
However, this year, following on from Trek bikes and Voxwomen collaboration to bring daily highlights last year, Eurosport will be showing highlights every evening – except in Italy where RAI holds the rights.
And there will be a lot to say – with two summit and uphill finishes along with a team time trial and punchy hard stages to contend with. Here’s what you need to know…
Giro Rosa 2020: stages
We’ve taken a look at each individual stage further down the page, but first, here’s a brief look at the route:
|Stage one, Fri September 11||Grosseto – Grosseto||16.8km (Flat TTT)|
|Stage two, Sat September 12||Civitella Paganico – Arcidosso||124.8km (Hills)|
|Stage three, Sun September 13||Santa Fiora – Assisi||142.2km (Hills)|
|Stage four, Mon September 14||Assisi – Tivoli||170.3km (Hills)|
|Stage five, Tues September 15||Terracina – Terracina||110.3km (Flat)|
|Stage six, Weds September 16||Torre del Greco – Nola||97.5km (Flat)|
|Stage seven, Thurs September 17||Nola – Maddaloni||112.5km (Hills)|
|Stage eight, Fri September 18||Castelnuovo della Dannia – San Marco la Catola||91.5km (Hills)|
|Stage nine, Sat September 19||Motta Montecorvino – Motta Montecorvino||109.9km (Mountain)|
Giro Rosa 2020 contenders
The defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) was a force to be reckoned with last year, winning two stages outright to take the title ahead of Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) by 3-45.
The Dutchwoman has shown no signs of slowing down this year, and returns flanked by team mate Amanda Spratt, who rounded out the overall podium for a second year in a row last year.
Last year’s second placed rider, Van der Breggen, is back this year to see if she can go one better and beat her main rival. Having won the Giro in 2015 and 2017, Van der Breggen skipped the race in 2018, focusing on La Course.
Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) is set to ride and will be hoping to go one better than her four stage wins at last year’s race. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) will be the rider looking at the GC for the team.
Canyon-Sram are bringing a solid team with Kasia Niewiadoma and Hannah Barnes riding to look at a potential spot in GC and stage wins, with several stages suiting Niewiadoma.
Trek-Segafredo have new French champion, Audrey Cordon-Ragot down to race along with Elisa Longo-Borghini and WorldTour overall leader, Lizzie Deignan, in a very strong team.
Their team-mate, Ellen van Dijk is also down to ride in a potential support role and a vital component in the team time trial on stage one.
Team Sunweb will be taking a strong team to Italy too with American sprinter, Coryn Rivera taking to the line to see if she can take advantage of the two sprint days alongside former WorldTour leader, Liane Lippert and Floortje Mackaij.
Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) is fast becoming a fan favourite for her aggressive style of racing and her bubbly personality off the bike and she has a good chance to maybe go for GC and stages at this race.
Giro Rosa 2020: route analysis
The organisers have used the ‘free to use’ profiles made by La Flamme Rouge. Here’s a look at each stage…
Stage 1: Grosseto (16.8km – TTT)
A straightforward introduction to the race with a pan flat team time trial around the town of Grosseto.
This is a real power course with several long straight roads and not many tight bends along the way meaning this will be a high-paced TTT with a possibility of big gaps at the end of the day.
It was Trek-Segafredo who narrowly beat Boels-Dolmans and Mitchelton-Scott on the line with Elisa Longo-Borghini crossing the line first for her team, taking the pink jersey for the first time in her career.
Stage 2: Civitella Paganico – Arcidosso (124.8km)
Stage two immediately throws the peloton into the deep end. A very hard day that barely takes in any flat at all.
Riders who had lost time in the TTT on stage one will be very keen to put that behind them and strike back as soon as they can. Stage two is a great opportunity for that.
The riders will also tackle some of the dirt roads used in Strade Bianche during this stage in the Tuscan hills.
It was Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) who won solo, taking the overall lead away from Longo-Borghini.
Stage 3: Santa Fiora – Assisi (142.2km)
On the third stage we stay with the hills, albeit with some flat roads leading up to the final climb up to the finish in Assisi.
The early part of the stage is perfect for a strong break to get away and also take a hat full of queen of the mountain points too.
It was Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) who took the win up a very steep kick to the line in Assisi with Van Vleuten keeping pink.
Stage 4: Assisi – Tivoli (170.3km)
A very similar stage to stage three, the fourth day of the race sees the peloton tackle several more climbs to Tivoli as the riders head into Umbria.
Once again it is a sharp uphill finish, not as big as the day before, potentially bringing in the punchier riders or maybe even a strong sprinter who gives there all to the line.
It was a breakaway made up of Lizzy Banks (Equipe Paule Ka) and Eugenia Bujak (Alé-BTC-Ljubljana) who stayed away with Banks taking the win with a big attack at the 1km to go mark.
Van Vleuten extended her lead of the other riders in the top 10 with a late attack.
Stage 5: Terracina – Terracina (110.3km)
Stage five should finally see a day for the sprinters with just the one climb to contend with in the middle of the day.
Riders like Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) will be very keen to take this chance and not let a breakaway steal the stage away from the sprinters.
The suspected bunch sprint didn’t have all the big names as Kirsten Wild (Ceratizit-WNT) was dropped on the big climb.
It was Vos who took the win in the bunch sprint ahead of Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal) and Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo).
Van Vleuten kept pink with a quieter day in GC.
Stage 6: Torre del Greco – Nola (97.5km)
Another day that should be for the sprinter, but this is a bit more challenging than the day before. Three climbs with the final one peaking with around 20km from the line with a fast descent almost all the way to the finish.
It looks like a perfect breakaway day, but will the sprint teams control it and bring it all together for a dash to the line?
Another bunch sprint. Another Vos win. The CCC-Liv rider took her third win of this year’s race with Van Vleuten retaining pink.
Stage 7: Nola – Maddaloni (112.5km)
Back to climbing for stage seven with a lumpy day to Nola finishing on two laps of a circuit that takes in a very tough climb before finishing in Nola.
A real day for the women looking to come out on top at the end of the race.
The final climb was peppered with attacks by Longo-Borghini and Van der Breggen with them continuing on the descent and flat towards the finish.
This meant that the peloton was very small and there was a lot of movement as riders tried to follow moves.
This caused a crash that took out pink jersey Van Vleuten, Vos, Spratt and Uttrup Ludwig among others, with Van Vleuten breaking her wrist and Spratt breaking her collarbone.
It was Lotte Kopecky who powered home to take the biggest win of her road racing career ahead of Deignan, but the may be overshadowed.
Kasia Niewiadoma officially goes into pink as Van Vleuten abandoned after the stage finish.
Stage 8: Castelnuovo della Daunia – San Marco la Catola (91.5km)
The penultimate day is the hardest day up to this point with a summit finish in San Marco la Catola with the general classification riders set to battle it out.
More difficult hilly terrain for riders challenging for the queen of the mountain competition.
And it was a real battle with several attacks before Van der Breggen and Longo-Borghini got away, it was the Dutch champion who took the pink jersey and Longo-Borghini who took took the stage.
Stage 9: Motta Montecorvino – Motta Montecorvino (109.9km)
The final day is by far the hardest with four full ascents of the Motta Montecorvino climb with the first lap only taking in the last 3km of the climb.
A day that will likely see a shootout between the GC riders in a real wearing down day with potential for early attacks on an earlier ascent of the climb.
Giro Rosa 2020 start list: teams and riders
The full start list has yet to be confirmed, but here is the list of riders down to ride…
VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek
Équipe Paule Ka
NORSGAARD JORGENSEN Emma
ARZUFFI Alice Maria
GONZALEZ BLANCO Lucia
Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team
VAN DER BREGGEN Anna
VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK Chantal
Canyon SRAM Racing
CCC – Liv
Cogeas – Mettler Pro Cycling Team
FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
UTTRUP LUDWIG Cecile
BORGLI Stine Andersen
Lotto Soudal Ladies
VAN DE VELDE Julie
PATIÑO Paula Andrea
Servetto – Piumate – Beltrami TSA
ORTIZ HANO Rosalia
Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
DALLA VALE Elisa
VAN DIJK Ellen
Valcar Cylance Cycling
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling
CONFALONIERI Maria Giulia
Astana Womens Team
MORENO Blanca Liliana
Lviv Cycling Team Women
DE ROECK Naomi
Casa Dorada Women Cycling