The general classification of the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile 2020 is very likely to be decided only on the last day, when the group will face the tough final circuit of Motta Montercorvino, in Puglia. The 31st edition of the longest race on the UCI Women's WorldTour will offer a challenging route with significant altitude difficulties including four summit finishes, an initial team time trial and some tricky stages such as the second, which recalls the atmosphere of Strade Bianche.
From 11 to 19 September, it will be an exciting fight every day calling the best riders to fight for the pink jersey after the double victory (2018 and 2019) of current UCI World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) who is chasing Fabiana Luperini’s record of five wins.
“The Giro Rosa grows every year and this September edition will be a confirmation,” said Giuseppe Rivolta, Race Director.
“Considering the level of the teams at the start, I feel like saying that it will be a decidedly sparkling edition. We owed it to the girls and the public who showed us their affection in these difficult months. It will be a good restart, I promise you.”
A breathless start and a tough finish
The 2020 edition of Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile was originally scheduled to take place 26 June to 5 July and had its stages reduced from ten to nine to allow the athletes to reach Switzerland in time for the UCI Road World Championships (subsequently moved to the new venue of Imola (Italy) from 24 to 27 September). In a change from its route that has traditionally been held mainly in the northern part of Italy, with some epic climbs such as the Mortirolo, Stelvio and Gavia, this year’s edition will take place in the central and southern part of the peninsula, touching the regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Campania and Puglia.
But the change in location doesn’t mean there will be any soft start, since the first four days include a team time trial (TTT), a Strade Bianche-style stage with gravel sections, and two uphill finishes. High average speeds are expected on the very fast 16.8km TTT along the roads of the Grosseto area, which will assign the first pink jersey; and with it the specialists can gain precious seconds for the General Classification (GC).
There are high expectations on the second 124.8km stage from Civitella Paganico to Arcidosso thanks to the dirt road sectors that recall the beautiful challenge of “Europe’s most southern northern Classic”. The first gravel sector features after just 14 kilometres then the group will turn around Monte Amiata until the ascent of Seggiano with a mix of dirt roads and some important slopes until just 11km to go.
History and gorgeous landscapes come combined in the 142.2km third stage from Santa Fiora to Assis, but the riders won’t have time to enjoy the beauty of Umbria. Continuous undulations and the third category climb of San Casciani dei Bagni will drain the energy in the peloton, before the first category final Queen of the Mountain (QOM) of Assisi, under the amazing Basilica of Saint Francis.
The 170.3km fourth stage is the longest and features a third category climb after 70km and a challenging finish rising constantly towards Tivoli. It calls for the faster climbers, the sprinters who can stand a short climb and of course the team leaders who cannot lose any GC seconds.
Something for the sprinters
There is finally some favourable terrain for sprinters and attackers on the fifth stage around Terracina (110.3km) which includes just one second category climb at Itri in its first part. Stage 6 from Torre del Greco is short (97.5km) but tough: after a 3rd category climb in Sarno on 31km there’s a complicated passage to Monteforte Irpino followed by a descent and a fast finish in Nola. The seventh stage (112.5km) offers a complex second part with the climb to the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo to be repeated twice before the finish in Maddaloni. The penultimate stage is the shortest (91.4km) but it starts uphill from Castelnuovo della Daunia and its finish, in San Marco La Catola, is uphill as well.
Usually the final stages of Grand Tours are a footbridge to celebrate the winner: but the 2020 Giro Rosa is different – because everything can change along the 109.8km circuit of Motta-Montecorvino with four laps and an uphill finish that may prove decisive. After the 2020 edition’s nine stages the group will have raced 975.8 kilometres.
“Sport in general and cycling in particular have always been synonymous with self-denial, dedication to a cause, commitment, suffering and love,” commented Giuseppe Rivolta. “We didn’t want to abandon the Giro Rosa, we didn’t want to give up, we fought and made sacrifices so that the magic of the peloton on the roads can be repeated again this year.”
Twenty-four teams will participate in the 2020 edition, hailing from 14 different nations. Eight are UCI Women’s WorldTeams and the remaining 16 are UCI Women’s Continental Teams. For all of them, the show is ready to shine on the Italian roads.