The Giro Donne (July 2-11) has, for many years, been the longest stage race the women's peloton has to contend with. But they will be joined on the top step due to the arrival of the 10-day Battle of the North in 2022, so the organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure an explosive race.
The race has been included within the UCI Women's World Tour calendar since its inaugural year in 2016, but the UCI has knocked the race down for its 32nd year to the next division after the organisers failed to produce live images of the races, despite demand for them being high.
Although, the race has now come under a new organisation, hence the name change, and there will be an hours worth of live coverage from each stage. It could be a bit unreliable though as the race is using 4G to broadcast and as we saw on the Passo Giau in the men's Giro d'Italia, that doesn't work very well.
The organiser's insistence on ensuring the Giro Rosa's dates coincide with the Tour de France means that in the past the race has been overlooked and incredibly hard to follow.
However, last year, following on from Trek bikes and Voxwomen collaboration to bring daily highlights in 2019, Eurosport showed highlights every evening - except in Italy where RAI holds the rights. This then laid the path for the live coverage this year which will, fingers crossed, be reliable.
Giro Donne 2021: stages
The route for 2021 has now been announced with ten stages around Italy starting with an individual time trial.
The race then has one of its hardest stages when they head up the brutal Prato Nevoso. A mountain time trial comes on stage four. A few hilly and sprint stages will be taken on before another massive summit finish on Monte Matajur before the final hilly stage to finish off the race.
|Stage one, Friday July 2||Fossano to Cuneo (TTT)||26.7km|
|Stage two, Saturday July 3||Boves to Prato Nevoso||100.1km|
|Stage three, Sunday July 4||Casale Monferrato to Ovada||135km|
|Stage four, Monday July 5||Formazza Loc. Fondovalle to Riale di Formazza Cascate del Toce ITT||11.2km|
|Stage five, Tuesday July 6||Milan to Carugate||120.1km|
|Stage six, Wednesday July 7||Colico to Colico||155km|
|Stage seven, Thursday July 8||Soprazocco di Gavardo to Puengnado del Garda||109.5km|
|Stage eight, Friday July 9||San Vendemiano to Mortegliano||129.4km|
|Stage nine, Saturday July 10||Feletto-Umberto to Monte Matajur||122.6km|
|Stage ten, Sunday July 11||Capriva del Friuli to Cormons||113km|
Giro Donne 2021 contenders
The two-time winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) was a force to be reckoned with at the start of last years race, winning one stage before crashing out and seeing the title go to Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) who took the win by 1-14 over Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram)
Van der Breggen will be riding to defend her title as out and out favourite but her main rival, Van Vleuten, will not be making a return as she skips the race to focus on the Olympics
Trek-Segafredo, as usual, have one of the strongest teams in the race with their trident of climbers in Ruth Winder, Elisa Longo-Borghini and Lizzie Deignan, not to mention the stars of Taylor Wiles, Lucinda Brand and Ellen van Dijk all in the team.
Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange) is expected to be the main leader for the Aussie team now that Van Vleuten has joined Movistar. Although, the Australian team do have Grace Brown as a possible option too.
Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) is likely to ride and aim to add to her vast tally of 28 stage wins and three overall victories. But, the mountainous days could prove to be a bit too much for the superstar Dutch rider.
Indoor racing world champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) will be hoping to add another string to the bow for the Dutch team in the battle for GC. She could be one of several riders in with a chance at SD Worx as they bring their usual strong line-up.
Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) led the Vuelta a Burgos before slipping down the standings on the final mountain stage, but she could be a key rider this year as the 20-year-old continues to develop into a great rider.
Canyon-Sram is bringing not Kasia Niewiadoma as their leader this year as she also, much like Van Vleuten, focuses on the Olympics. So the likely focus for the climbs will be on Kiwi climber, Mikayla Harvey, who won the youth classification in 2020 as well as fifth overall.
Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) is likely down as leader for the French team but former Italian champion Marta Cavalli and current French champion Évita Muzic as also likely to put in a good showing too.
The list of star riders with a chance is long with the sprinters list also being quite extensive too, but the standout names are Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), Lorena Wiebes (DSM), Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT) and, of course, the previously mentioned Vos.
Giro Donne 2021: stage profiles
Here are all the stage profiles for each stage of this year's renamed race.
Giro Donne 2021 stage one, Fossano to Cuneo (26.7km TTT)
Giro Donne 2021 stage two, Boves to Prato Nevoso (100.1km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage three, Casale Monferrato to Ovada (135km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage four, Formazza Loc. Fondovalle to Riale di Formazza Cascate del Toce (11.2km ITT)
Giro Donne 2021 stage five, Milan to Carugate (120.1km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage six, Colico to Colico (120.1km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage seven, Soprazocco di Gavardo to Puengnago del Garda (109.5km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage eight, San Vendemiano to Mortegliano (129.4km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage nine, Feletto-Umberto to Monte Matajur (122.6km)
Giro Donne 2021 stage 10, Capriva de Friuli to Cormons (113km)
Giro Rosa 2021 startlist: teams and riders
The full start list has yet to be confirmed, but here is the list of riders down to ride...
VAN DER BREGGEN Anna
VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK Chantal
VAN DIJK Ellen
FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
LUDWIG Cecile Uttrup
VAN DE VELDE Julie
VAN DER BURG Nancy
SPEROTTO Maria Vittoria
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling
CONFALONIERI Maria Giulia
Valcar-Travel & Service
GASPARRINI Eleonora Camilla
ARZUFFI Alice Maria
Born To Win-G20-Ambedo
Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo
DALLA VALLE Elisa
Giro Rosa: Recent winners
2010: Mara Abbott (USA) Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty12
2011: Marianne Vos (NED) Nederland Bloeit
2012: Marianne Vos (NED) Rabobank Women Team
2013: Mara Abbott (USA) Exergy Twenty16
2014: Marianne Vos (NED) Rabobank-Liv Women Cycling Team
2015: Anna van der Breggen (NED) Rabobank-Liv Women Cycling Team
2016: Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
2017: Anna van der Breggen (NED) Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
2018: Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) Mitchelton-Scott
2019: Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) Mitchelton-Scott
2020: Anna van der Breggen (NED) Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.
Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.
When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.
He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.
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