Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans CyclingTeam) has won the 2020 Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile ahead of Poland's Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and Italian Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). For the 2018 UCI World Champion and reigning Olympic Champion, it’s the third Giro Rosa title, following her successes in the 2015 and 2017 editions (not forgetting second place in 2019 and third in 2014 and 2016). As expected, the demanding course of the 31st edition of the longest race on the UCI Women's WorldTour called out to the best riders with prestigious stage winners, exciting daily battles and, unfortunately, some dramatic moments.
“I’m very happy, it’s always special to win the Giro Rosa,” said Van der Breggen. “The last day is always a bit exciting, even if the gap was big, the circuit was tough – but my team worked perfectly, I didn’t have to do any front work, they let me feel confident. It was a nice and hard Giro. Now we have a short time before the UCI World Championships. We need to have a good recovery.”
Every day a battle with formidable winners
The Giro Rosa started with a team time trial, as with the previous three editions. Trek-Segafredo set the best time on the 16.8km course in Grosseto, three seconds ahead of Boels-Dolmans and just less than five seconds from leading Mitchelton-Scott. Elisa Longo Borghini was the first rider crossing the line, becoming the first Italian woman to wear the pink jersey since Fabiana Luperini in 2008.
UCI World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) won the Strade Bianche on the 1st of August and was the top favourite for the Giro Rosa’s second stage, which offered several dirt road sectors that recall the challenge of “Europe’s most southern northern Classic”. The Dutch champion, who won the 2019 Giro Rosa, went solo on the gravel climb to Seggiano and – despite a mechanical – crossed the line at Arcidosso 1’16’’ ahead of Anna van der Breggen, Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope). Van Vleuten became the new leader of the general classification (GC).
Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) dominated the third stage at Assisi that finished with a short but very steep climb on 15% slopes, anticipating Uttrup Ludwig and Longo Borghini, while Van Vleuten held her GC advantage, finishing fifth.
After her second place in Grand-prix de Plouay, Lizzy Banks (Equipe Paule Ka) won Stage 4 on a cobbled uphill in Tivoli anticipating Eugenia Bujak (Ale BTC Ljubljana) who broke away with her. Lizzy’s victory at last year’s eighth stage was her first as a professional. Pink jersey wearer Van Vleuten took third place, increasing her lead over the direct competitors.
Vos triple and Van Vleuten crash
Stages 5 and 6 saw perfect strategy by CCC-Liv, pushing hard on the climbs to eliminate the less mountain-savvy sprinters and keep a high pace in the final that allowed Marianne Vos to show her full speed in the last hundreds metres. The Dutch champion took both stages at Terracina and Nola, firstly beating Lotte Kopecky (Lotto Soudal Ladies) and Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) and then Hannah Barnes (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and Kopecky again. The 2006, 2012 and 2013 UCI World Champion has now reached 28 Giro Rosa stages wins.
Maglia Rosa Van Vleuten was forced to abandon the race due to a fracture in her left wrist sustained in a terrible crash in the finale of stage 7 along with her team-mate Amanda Spratt (shoulder injury and concussion). Vos was also involved and suffered abrasions, but was able to stay in the race. Stage victory went to Kopecky ahead of Deignan and Niewiadoma, who became the new leader. “I’m super sad it’s not possible to defend the maglia rosa, but even more, no World Champs on a course that suits me. I’m disappointed that I cannot defend my World Champion's jersey,” said Van Vleuten.
Van der Breggen collects the fallen rose
After nine participations in the Giro Rosa, Longo Borghini finally won her first stage on the penultimate day of the race, beating the new pink jersey Van der Breggen in a close sprint at San Marco La Catola, after the duo had attacked on the toughest part of the final climb. The General Classification would be decided on the last stage with Van der Breggen able to manage an advantage of 1'10'' on Niewiadoma and 2'23'' on Longo Borghini.
Evita Muzic (Futuroscope FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine) from France won the last stage in front of New Zealand National Champion Niamh Fisher-Black (Equipe Paule Ka) and her French compatriot Juliette Labous (Team Sunweb) in the breakaway group sprint. Despite the demanding final circuit at Motta Montecorvino, in Puglia, there were no changes in the general classification on the final day.