On Wednesday 12th August the organizers of the Giro Rosa announced the final route of the 2020 edition. At nine stages, it is the longest stage race on the women’s calendar, and in a year with so many races canceled, it is more important than ever.
It came as a relief when the route of the Giro Rosa was announced, fueling the hope that the most prestigious stage race on the calendar will go ahead. Of course, it’s no guarantee that the race will remain immune to the effects of Covid-19, but the route announcement is a positive sign with under a month remaining until the start date.
This year’s race will be fought out over punishing climbs around central-southern Italy. The first maglia rosa will be awarded after a customary team time trial on a flat route in Grossetto. The following stages feature a mixture of shorter, sharp climbs and longer mountains, along with a couple of potential sprint stages in the middle of the race.
Elisa Longo Borghini, who has placed in the top 10 on six occasions and was runner up in 2017, shared her thoughts on the challenging route:
The confirmation of the Giro Rosa is great news. Unfortunately, after a series of canceled races, it is practically the only stage race that remains on the calendar, apart from the Madrid Challenge in November. Obviously, it’s a goal that matters a lot to me and, as an Italian, has a dual value.
My preparation has been studied for the Giro Rosa, in order to be at the start in the best possible condition. Leaving a mark on the race, in this particular and complicated year, would be very important for me and for the team.
From a first analysis of the stages, it seems a much harder Giro than the one anticipated by the rumors. I think the warm temperatures, especially for the many stages in the south of Italy, will be a key factor. I see it as a very open race. There are chances and room for surprises.
It will be a very unpredictable Giro, to be built day after day. It will be difficult to have bad days, a perfect condition will be necessary, also because I expect a very fierce competition: the absence of races will concentrate the best of women’s cycling,”
Before lining up at the Giro, however, Longo Borghini will compete at the Giro dell’Emilia on Tuesday 18th August. Winner in 2015 and 2016, as well as second last year, the Italian has been preparing at altitude and is ready to fight for a third victory.
I’ll be at the start of the Giro dell’Emilia after an intense period of altitude training at Isola 2000, together with my teammates Ruth Winder, Tayler Wiles, and Lucinda Brand. We worked very well, but as usual, the altitude training brings some unknowns in terms of brilliance in the very first days after training.
Although the route of Giro dell’Emilia is easy to read, practically flat up to San Luca which serves as a springboard, you have to be in condition because the final climb does not forgive. As for the debut in the Basque Country and Strade Bianche, it’s good to keep in mind the hot weather as a key factor.
Giro dell’Emilia is a race I’ve always liked, with a finish that suits my characteristics. It’s no coincidence that I’ve managed to get nice satisfaction out of it. I still have some regrets about how it ended last year but it will serve as extra motivation to try and do better in Tuesday’s race. We have to be ambitious and look for the big target, not only on a personal level but above all as a team.