What is the Giro Rosa?

The Giro Rosa, also known as the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, is the only women’s Grand Tour, and one of the most significant women’s races of the year. It is also only one of two women’s stage races in the revised calendar for 2020.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic the race, which was first held in 1988, has been shortened from 10 days to nine, and runs from September 11-19.
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What to expect in the Giro Rosa, the women’s Grand Tour? Orla Chennaoui explains

Like the men’s Grand Tours there are different jerseys for the overall leader (pink), points leader (purple), queen of the mountains (green), best young rider (white), and best Italian rider in the overall standings (blue).
This year’s race starts with a team time trial and features plenty of climbing – although mostly shorter climbs than normal – as well as a couple of flat finishes for the sprinters.

Who are the favourites?

Not only is Mitchelton-Scott’s Annemiek van Vleuten the defending champion, but she heads to the race in superb form, having won six of nine races entered in 2020.
She has won the last two editions of the Giro Rosa by healthy margins and will start as strong favourite to complete the hat-trick before she makes the switch to Movistar.
Van Vleuten will be supported by Amanda Spratt, who finished third in 2018 and 2019.
She says she expects the race to be more “tactical” this year with no individual time trial or long mountain climbs.
“The time gaps will be smaller and having a strong team, good numbers and a good game plan are going to be critical. I love the tactical side and playing the game so I can’t wait to get out there and racing.”

Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands and Team Mitchelton Scott at the Giro Rosa in 2019

Image credit: Getty Images

Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolman) finished second last year after winning the race in 2015 and 2017, and she has looked in good form in 2020.
Trek-Segafredo have a strong combination in Italian national time trial champion Elisa Longo Borghini and La Course and GP de Plouay winner Lizzie Deignan.
CCC-Liv also look as though they could challenge with Marianne Vos and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio.
Three-time champion Vos won four stages at last year’s Giro Rosa while Moolman Pasio was second in 2018 and fourth in 2019.

How can I watch?

Highlights of every stage of the Giro Rosa will be shown on Eurosport 1 & 2 and the GCN Race Pass.

Expert view – ‘Giro should be exciting and dynamic’

Eurosport’s Orla Chennaoui: “The range of riders that the Giro Rosa should suit this year is huge. It should make for an incredibly exciting and dynamic nine days of racing.
Annemiek van Vleuten would prefer some of the long alpine slogs but she is always going to be a threat, and she brings her wing woman from Mitchelton-Scott, Amanda Spratt, to make for a very threatening duo.
"Speaking of which, Trek-Segafredo bring an in-form Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan, both of whom will be very well suited to this terrain and have shown the kind of teamwork of late that has been practically telepathic.
"CCC bring three-time champion Marianne Vos and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, who is usually a huge danger at this race, although this year she is a bit of an unknown quantity as she has been injured since early August and hasn’t been racing. Other names to watch out for are Anna van der Breggen, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Kasia Niewiadoma and Liane Lippert.
“Lizzy Banks took her first professional win at this race last year and has been in great form. Watch out for Mavi Garcia too, especially on stage two, after her incredible performance at Strade Bianche this year.”

Stage-by-stage guide

“Hard and exhausting” is how Van Vleuten has described this year’s Giro Rosa.
“The course isn’t as hard as it was last year, there aren’t as many long summit finishes, but still there are a lot of mountain finishes. There aren’t a lot of flat days, so it will hard and exhausting, I think already after the team time trial on the first day we have some hard days coming up, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Here's what to look forward to on each day:
Stage 1, Grosseto – Grosseto, 16km (TTT)
The race starts with a flat team time trial around the town of Grosseto. It’s a chance to open up some early gaps.
Stage 2, Paganico – Arcidosso, 124km
Not only does day two feature climbing, but also Strade Bianche style gravel roads. There won’t be many opportunities for rest with very little flat on the stage.
Stage 3, Santa Fiora – Assisi, 142km
Hills to start, but then flattening out towards the finish before a final climb to the line. This could be a day for a breakaway.
Stage 4, Assisi – Tivoli, 170km
The longest stage of this Giro Rosa features some punchy climbs throughout and then, like the previous day, an uphill finish.
Stage 5, Terracina – Terracina, 110km
With just one climb to contend with in the middle of the stage, this should be one for the sprinters.
Stage 6, Torre del Greco – Nola, 97km
Potentially another day for the sprinters, although this one looks harder than stage five. It features three climbs and then a long descent that goes almost to the finish before flattening.
Stage 7, Nola – Maddaloni, 112km
This could be a big day in the battle for the overall jersey as the riders make the 6km ascent up to the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo – twice. They then descend into Maddaloni to finish.
Stage 8, Castelnuovo della Daunia – San Marco la Catola, 91km
A short stage, but another one for the climbers. There are two steep ascents – one starting at around 45km – and then the next at the summit finish.
Stage 9, Motta Montecorvino – Motta Montecorvino, 109km
There’s no rolling down the Champs-Elysees here, as the Giro Rosa finishes with three full climbs of Motta Montecorvino on a circuit route. This should feature plenty of action as riders battle for a mountain points and a place on the podium.
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