Women's Giro dell'Emilia History
The women’s Giro dell’Emilia is starting to get itself a solid list of winners in its relatively short lifetime. In the previous 8 editions, it has been won almost exclusively by the best puncheurs in the women’s peloton. The course is kinda like Fleche Wallonne in that it finishes at the top of a very steep, solid climb. But it also takes place in Italy at the start of the Autumn and has absolutely no proceeding climbs to worry about. That means it’s always down to one-off sprint on the San Luca climb in Bologna. If that climb sounds familiar, it’s because the Giro d’Italia used it for the opening time trial in 2019 and Zwift immortalised it in the online world.
We’ve seen riders badly misjudge the effort and indeed the turn at the bottom. In 2020 pretty much all of the Trek Segafredo riders were taken out in one go, leaving a gap for Kasia Niewiadoma to try and exploit. She went much much too early and blew up her effort. Whereas Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was able to go just a little bit more tempo and still have enough to come round near the top. Pauliena Rooijakkers was the remaining rider of the trio and almost suffered the same fate as Kasia but still took 3rd behind Rasa Leileyvte
Last year’s winner was Mavi Garcia, who took what was then her highest ranked victory before her first 2 WWT wins this year. It was a similar story for Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig the year before. Then the following year, the Dane won her own first Women’s WorldTour race. The year before, it was Demi Vollering’s turn. She didn’t quite have the same instant success the following year but did in 2021. It was still a moment that the young Dutch rider confirmed her breakout year.
With that in mind, this year’s winner will also potentially be one to look out for in the future, as an indicator of a good rider about to push on up another level.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
Giro dell'Emilia 2022 Stage Profile
Women's Giro dell'Emilia 2022 Contenders
FDJ-Suez’ Marta Cavalli has been confirmed as taking part in the Giro dell’Emilia this year. The Italian hasn’t taken part in a race since the infamous crash that took her out of the Tour de France Femmes back in July. It was an unfortunate end to what was potentially one of the few riders that might have challenge Van Vleuten in France. At times, Cavalli had pushed her close in the Giro Donne just a few weeks before. We will have to temper expectations of Cavalli here after such a long time away. Her teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig should be a major favourite instead – the uphill finish here is perfect for her and she’s already timed her attacks here well enough in the past to win. 5th at the Worlds and the Ceratizit Challenge after winning the Tour of Scandinavia, she’s surely got the form to win here again.
Last year’s winner Mavi Garcia will try and retain her title and she’s shown strong one-day racing instincts with her win at Classic Lorient Agglomération (or GP de Plouay) a month ago. There’s a quest about whether that was a form peak as she didn’t look quite as good at the Ceratizit Challenge amongst some hard racing. This race with flat and then one climb should leave her fairly fresh for the long uphill sprint. She certainly has a chance but I just slightly favour others like Uttrup Ludwig for the win.
This is a bit of a goodbye tour with BikeExchange-Jayco for Amanda Spratt and she leaves for Trek Segafredo next season. This sort of hilly finish was always one that she could do well in. 9th in the recent Simac Ladies Tour was largely thanks to a strong time trial. So the 11th at the Classic Lorient Agglomération is probably a better indicator, although it had a sprint finish. She may currently be behind say Uttrup Ludwig or Garcia but she should be a solid top-10 shot with upside here.
Elisa Balsamo will be here but the final climb should be too much for her against some true punchier riders. Especially after how the World Championships went for the Italian. So Trek’s leader is likely to be Elisa Longo Borghini instead. She’s a double winner here back in 2015 and 2016, finished 2nd in 2019 and then was part of the Trek Segafredo team crash at the bottom of the climb in 2020. If I’m honest, I’m not quite sure where to place her this year. I can see her winning or being anywhere in the top 10. She certainly has some form, finishing 2nd in the Ceratizit Challenge and being part of that front group of 5 at the World Champs but it’s been almost 4 months since she won an individual stage/one-day race. Longo Borghini will be up there though, of that there is no doubt.
Whilst Silvia Persico has had more attention, Roland Cogeas’ Tamara Dronova has had a very similar season from a similar style of riding. Without her, the team will have been particularly anonymous in 2022. She’s yet to win, or surprisingly podium but has been a regular top-10 finisher across a host of WWT races this year. Dronova is probably stronger on a flatter sprintier finish than on San Luca, so probably another top 10 is on the way.
Movistar’s Arlenis Sierra has twice come close to winning the Giro dell’Emilia. Back in 2018 she was 9 seconds behind the winner Rasa Leleivyte and a similar distance behind last year’s winner Mavi Garcia too. The Cuban has been in good recent form with a 5th on a tough stage of the Ceratizit Challenge and 6th at the World Championships too. She was positioned well heading into the final sprint but was one of the many riders caught out by Van Vleuten’s late attack.
The 2018 winner Rasa Leleivyte can never be ruled out on this sort of finish. She’s in good form too, finishing 6th overall at the Giro Toscana Int. Femminile recently, which included a 3rd place stage finish. There have been other top-10s in surprisingly flat finishes like the GP della Liberazione (4th) and the Baloise Ladies Tour Stage 1 (5th). Her best finishes traditionally have been these sorts of puncheur climbs however and she always targets the Giro dell’Emilia. Since 2016, she has never finished worse than 4th (3 times), been 2nd twice and has that win from 2018 too.
BePink’s Silvia Zanardi is great on this sort of finish as well. She had a very successful Tour de l’Ardeche, finishing 5th overall and taking a stage win. She faded a tough on the major climbing on the final day but she finished all 7 stages in the top-10 nonetheless. Her stage win in the CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées was particularly impressive as she shows herself to be an Arlenis Sierra type punchy rider with a sprint. She was 5th in last year’s Giro dell’Emilia and will be in the hunt once more.
Women's Giro dell'Emilia 2022 Outsiders
It’s not really been a race that Maria Giulia Confalonieri has done well in during previous years. Her best Giro dell’Emilia result is only 26th. However, it’s tough to overlook the form of someone who has finished in the top-10 of their last 4 races, which also includes a GC win at the AG Tour de la Semois only 2 weeks ago. A flatter finish would suit her more but the Italian is clearly in a good vein of form and Ceratizit need some UCI points to make sure of their promotion to the Women’s WorldTour next year.
St Michel-Auber 93’s Coralie Demay is in good form, another who did well at the Tour de l’Ardeche by taking a stage win, the QoM jersey and finishing 7th in GC too. It was a similar story at the CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées where she was 5th in GC too. I think a top-10 is possible for the French rider at the Giro dell’Emilia.
Plantur-Pura’s Yara Kastelijn has already raced off-road, taking part in Exact Cross Beringen last weekend. She’s always known as a strong climber and was 9th back in this year’s Fleche Wallonne. She takes good form into this race with 5th in GC at the AG Tour de la Semois and 3rd at Grisette Grand Prix de Wallonie, a race that also finished with a stiff climb. She only finds herself in this outsiders section because she’s never raced the Giro dell’Emilia and the San Luca climb before.