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Giro d’Italia Donne 2021 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile

The Giro d’Italia Donne is back in 2021 with a new name and some live TV coverage for the first time! The Giro d’Italia Femminile or Giro Rosa has new organisers in PMG Sport and they’ve rebranded the race. After 2020’s race, the Giro d’Italia Donne was demoted from the Women’s WorldTour for failing to uphold the minimum requirements. Despite promises of live TV last year, ultimately we only got post-race highlights. This broke one of the rules for Women’s WorldTour races to show a minimum of 45 minutes live on TV. The new organisers appear so far, to be doing a better job – although we will only see the last 15km of each stage live.

Last year’s race looked to be in the bag for Annemiek van Vleuten. She’d earned a big time gap on the gravel roads stage early on and was successfully managing the gap. That was turned on its head during Stage 7 when an unfortunate crash saw Van Vleuten breaking her left wrist. Anna van der Breggen took over the leader’s jersey and held it until the end of the race for her 3rd victory at the Giro d’Italia Donne. Marianne Vos increased her stage wins record by taking 3 more victories. That took her tally to 28 stage wins, alongside her 3 Overall victories. We also saw lots of young talent begin to push through. Mikayla Harvey finished 5th overall and won the youth jersey. Evita Muzic, Liane Lippert and Marta Cavalli weren’t far behind. Maria Novolodskaya could have won a stage but for an unlucky crash.

Recent Winners

2020 Anna van der Breggen
2019 Annemiek van Vleuten
Annemiek van Vleuten
Anna van der Breggen
2016 – Megan Guarnier

TV Coverage

Friday 2nd July 2021 – Sunday 11th July 2021

The Giro d’Italia Donne will be shown live on Eurosport Player & GCN

All times are BST

Stage 1: 14:15 – 15:15
Stage 2: 13:30 – 14:30
Stage 3: 14:15 – 15:15
Stage 4: 13:30 – 14:30
Stage 5: 13:15 – 14:15
Stage 6: 14:15 – 15:15
Stage 7: 14:15 – 15:15
Stage 8: 13:30 – 14:30
Stage 9: TBC
Stage 10: TBC

Twitter Hashtag: #GiroDonne

Giro d’Italia Donne 2021 Profiles

Stage 1 (TTT)

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4 (TT)

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7

Stage 8

Stage 9

Stage 10

Race Jerseys

Participating Teams

Giro d’Italia Donne 2021 GC Favourites

Anna van der Breggen is the runaway favourite here. She’s won the race 3 times already and her major rival Annemiek van Vleuten isn’t racing. The two mountain stages will allow her to earn a huge bank of time and the strength of the SD Worx team could see her take pink on the first day. She may be generous and allow another rider to cross the line first. Her teammate Demi Vollering will both support and push van der Breggen. Vollering is in great form after winning La Course last weekend. She may be distanced on the genuine climbs but might also be able to win some of the lumpy days, provided she doesn’t have other duties.

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio‘s own ambitions may have to take a back seat to others on SD Worx. The strength in depth of the team shows when Moolman could be a leader on almost any other team at the Giro d’Italia Donne. She’s been in the top-10 the last 4 editions she’s raced here. I hope she’s able to grab a stage at least for her efforts. Finally for SD Worx, Niamh Fisher-Black is a great shout for the youth jersey. She won that competition at the Vuelta a Burgos recently. But she’ll have work to do for the team that might get in the way compared to others like Harvey.

Mikayla Harvey
Credit: Thomas Maheux

With Kasia Niewiadoma not racing this year, Mikayla Harvey has become the undisputed GC leader for Canyon SRAM at this year’s race. She really pushed on at last year’s Giro Rosa, finishing 5th overall as she made the world of women’s cycling take note. Harvey has clearly been targeting this race in 2021, with a quiet start to the year. She’s found her form recently to finish 5th at the Tour de Suisse and similar results in the Spanish climbing races in May.

The AR Monex pair of Eider Merino and Maria Novolodskaya present interesting options. Merino is a natural climber and will feel at home on the major mountain finishes. She’s not quite on the Van der Breggen tier but will be knocking around the top-10 on those days. Her best result of the season is 8th at the GP Eibar. Maria Novolodksaya came so close to winning a stage here last season but had an unfortunate crash late on. Her best results have come in the early Turkish races with a pair of 3rd places. She was useful in the Ardennes too, finishing top-15 at Amstel Gold and Liege Bastogne Liege. She hasn’t raced since then though.

Movistar’s Leah Thomas will be able to race for herself with no Van Vleuten here. She’s in good form after finishing 11th at La Course and 3rd in her national TTs. She’s been a consistent lieutenant all season with numerous top-20 results but only a 4th at Brabantse Pijl seeing her finish in the top-10. Freed from the shackles she’s got a chance of the top-5 as an all-round GC contender. She’ll have some competition from her own team though in Katrine Aalerud. She will be circling the stages with short uphill finishes like Stage 7 as ones she can win outright. However, she also adds more TT power to the team as the Norwegian champ. She was 16th in GC last season and after finishing 5th in GC at Vuelta a Burgos is also in great form.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt feels the natural choice for Team BikeExchange here but it doesn’t appear all that clear-cut anymore. Grace Brown finished just ahead of Spratt on the mountain stage finish at Vuelta a Burgos and also finished higher up in GC – 7th vs 14th. Brown’s clearly in great form after finishing 5th at La Course, whereas Spratt was further behind. Spratt may have been holding back on us recently but it looks like BikeExchange have a genuine double threat.

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig has been going really well recently, especially after finally taking her first worldtour win at the Vuelta a Burgos. Her consistency has seen her score 12 top-10 results so far in 2021, including 2nd place at La Course last weekend. She’s one of the few riders who may be able to stay somewhere near Van der Breggen on the major climbs. Uttrup Ludwig will want to go one step further than her 4th place here last year and reach the podium.

Ale BTC’s Mavi Garcia seemed to run out of gas a bit in last year’s race, following immediately after the Tour de l’Ardèche. The two major mountain stages will suit her more than most and as the Spanish national TT champion, the uphill time trial is right up her street. She was the only rider other than Annemiek van Vleuten to climb ahead of the peloton at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, which saw her finish 2nd in GC. There’s a chance she ends up on the podium here.

Team DSM have the young pair of Juliette Labous and Liane Lippert. Labous took some good results in the Ardennes this season, finishing 6th at Brabantse Pijl and Fleche Wallonne. She had a good French nationals, finishing 2nd in the TT and 4th in the road race. I don’t expect her to be fighting for the win but she can make the top-10. Liane Lippert found form at the Thuringen Ladies Tour, finishing 4th in GC after being consistent all week. She also just missed out reclaiming the Germany national jersey by finishing 2nd in the road race. Then at La Course she had her highest profile result of 2021 with 8th place. She was 13th in GC here last season and could be in the hunt for stages too.

Elisa Longo Borghini
Credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

Elisa Longo Borghini will be the best hope for Trek Segafredo. She’s been in the Giro d’Italia Donne top-10 on 7 occasions, and the podium twice. She took her first wins since Trofeo Alfredo Binda at the Italian national champs, winning both the road race and time trial. She had great spring form and will be a genuine contender to Van der Breggen if she’s got her next form peak right. Lucinda Brand has been going well and has a good history here too. She’s been in the top-10 in her last 3 editions, not taking part in 2020, but between 2017 and 2019. She dominated the Thuringen Ladies Tour, winning GC and 2 stages. Expect her to lose time on the mountains but be a real contender on the lumpy days.

Rally Cycling’s Clara Koppenburg is a great natural climber. She was 4th in GC at the Vuelta a Burgos after an impressive turn at the front heading up to the Lagunas de Neila. The rolling stages can sometimes see her distanced so she will have to try and keep avoidable time losses down to a minimum. The uphill time trial will definitely suit her and it’d be nice to see her take her first win since 2019 at this race.

Giro d’Italia Donne 2021 GC Outsiders

Kristen Faulkner feels like the TIBCO rider with the best chance of a high placing on GC. A solid all-rounder, the tough mountain stages will see her lose time though. She’ll be a contender for the victory on days like Stage 3 and 6 but will do well to make the top-10 overall. BePink’s Camilia Alessio is a future GC talent but is only 19 years old so still has time to develop. She was up with the right sorts of top talent at the Italian national champs, finishing 5th in the road race. I can definitely see her taking the youth jersey but it might not be this year.

Kristen Faulkner
Credit: Arne Mill

The young pair at Top Girls Fassa Bortolo will be in the hunt for the youth jersey as well. Deborah Silvestri was 4th in GC at the Setmana Ciclist Valenciana in May. That race has plenty of rolling climbs and the odd major one for good measure. Greta Marturano was 8th herself on GC in the same race. Performing well on that sort of parcours bodes well for this race. Question marks exist over the team’s ability to not lose time in the team time trial on Stage 1 and also what this pair can do in the individual time trial.

Evita Muzic is a climber who has been turning heads at a young age. She made the top-10 in last year’s Giro Rosa, winning the last stage in the process. As the newly crowned French champion, she won a tough sprint against the likes of Cordon-Ragot and Juliette Labous. She will have to work for Uttrup Ludwig but in the process could remain high in the GC fight and maybe take the white jersey.

Erica Magnaldi has always climbed well, so it’s the other stages that will cause her trouble. The individual time trial may suit her for once though as it’s effectively a hill climb. She was 9th in GC at the recent Tour de Suisse and did well with top-10 results at Emakumeen Saria and GP Eibar in May. She start last year’s race well before slowly falling backwards in GC as the race went on, ultimately finishing 19th. She could break into the top-10 this season.

Giro d’Italia Donne 2021 Stage Favourites

Marianne Vos hold the record for most stage wins in the Giro d’Italia Donne with 28 victories. She once again just missed out on taking victory at La Course last weekend but has had a good 2021 already. She’s almost exclusively only ridden Women’s WorldTour races and took the win at Amstel Gold and Gent Wevelgem. Vos also been good in Italy too, finishing 2nd at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and 7th at Strade Bianche. She’s always a theat.

Lorena Wiebes will be at ther first Giro d’Italia Donne this year. She’s the best sprinter in the world at the moment and so will be the obvious favourite on the rare flat days. Her form is great, finishing 3rd in GC at Lotto Belgium Tour with a stage win, Flanders Diamond Tour and Dwars door de Westhoek wins, plus 2 stages at the Thuringen Ladies Tour. Wiebes knows how to win.

Emma Norsgaard

The Movistar rider Emma Norsgaard has had a breakout year and is the only real major sprinting competition for Wiebes. Norsgaard has not finished her previous two Giro Rosa races but she has a very different role now. She’s taken victories at Festival Elsy Jacobs, the Thuringen Ladies Tour and in the Danish national TT champs. She can be a contender on almost every stage bar the summit finishes.

Arlenis Sierra has a top-10 in the Giro Rosa, back in 2017, but that doesn’t look achievable with the current parcours. She’ll be after the sprint and rolling terrain type stages in 2021. Sierra has tasted victory in 2021, winning the Navarra Classic in May. That sparked a good run of form that saw her finish 6th at Durango Durango and twice placed 4th at the Vuelta a Burgos. She’ll be out-powered by Wiebes on the flat but is always in with a chance for a strong result.

Ale BTC Ljubljana’s Marta Bastianelli will always be a contender on her home roads. After a quiet end to her spring, she took a stage win at the Tour de Suisse in June to return to form. That was her first win of the 2021 season after top 10s at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Gent Wevelgem. Bastianelli only has 1 Giro d’Italia Donne stage win in her long career and she’d love to add to that.

The Canyon SRAM pair of Hannah Barnes and Alena Amialiusik will be after some stages. Barnes will probably get the nod in the pure sprint stages and may finish in the top-3 with a bit of luck. Her form is alright at the moment, with a best recent result of 3rd at the Tour de Suisse. I’m expecting more of the consistent top-10 sort of finishes from her. Alena Amialiusik will be there on the tougher days and the Lotto Belgium Tour was good preparation for her. She finished 5th in GC after winning the second stage. I’m not sure she can win a stage here but she can certainly animate things.

Lauren Stephens

Sarah Roy gives Team BikeExchange an option on the sprint stages. Since becoming Australian nation champion back in February, she’s scored 3 top-10 in sprinter type races. 10th in GP Oetingen, 8th at Gent Wevelgem and 7th at Scheldeprijs. She’ll have an eye out on the two flattest stages which look set for a nailed on sprint. The new USA national champion Lauren Stephens first did the Giro Rosa way back in 2013. She returns this time as a stronger rider who turned heads at the end of the 2020 season. She’s been a useful foil to teammate Faulkner in 2021, with a best finish of 10th at Gent Wevelgem. She’s the sort of rider who can sprint on tough days, but will get outgunned by the pure sprinters on a flat finish.

With no Elisa Balsamo on the startlist, as she’s already on her way to Tokyo, Valcar’s sprinting duties should be passed onto Chiara Consonni. She’s taken two victories in 2021 so far, at the Ronde de Mouscron and Vuelta CV Feminas. Those races came within 2 weeks of each other back in April. She’s shown that she’s ready when Balsamo isn’t around though with 2nd at the Flanders Diamond Tour a couple of weeks ago.

Trek Segafredo have a lot of strength in depth when it comes to going for stages, even if they have no real sprinter on the team. Brand might defer any GC hopes for a stage. There’s also Lizzie Deignan who will want to put a slightly disappointing La Course behind her. She was still 9th but didn’t feel good on the day and had hoped for more. She comes off a Tour de Suisse GC win and will be a threat on any semi-difficult stages. You can’t discount someone like Ellen van Dijk for a rolling stage and she will help power the team on the team time trial opener. Ruth Winder has done well when given opportunities this season. She won Brabantse Pijl in that famous close photo finish with Demi Vollering. Since then she’s been 7th in GC at Festival Elsy Jacobs and 2nd at the Navarra Classic. No longer in the USA stars and stripes jersey, she might be able to slip away from the peloton.

Marta Cavalli

Marta Cavalli is a decent option in the sprints for FDJ. She’s taken some strong results so far in 2021, finishing in the top-10 at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders. She can climb so she stands her best chance for a stage win on days like Stages 6 & 10 where some of the pure sprinters may get dropped. Racing at home can only be a motivator for her

Maria Giulia Confalonieri has been sprinting well in 2021. She came close to victory at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, taking a pair of 2nd places on her way to 3rd in GC. She’s also taken top-10 results at GP Oetingen, Nokere Koerse and the Flanders Diamond Tour. She’s still looking for a first pro win and it’d be great for her to finally manage it on home soil here. You can never write off her teammate Lisa Brennauer either. She’s a great sprinter for days where there’s plenty of climbing involved. She took both the German national championships this season as her first wins in 2021. She’d come close in the spring, finishing 2nd at the Tour of Flanders and 3rd at Gent Wevelgem. The pure climbs should hamper any GC ambitions this year but a stage win is definitely possible.

Lisa Brennauer

Giro d’Italia Donne 2021 Stage Outsiders

Lucie Jounier is a young sprinter for Arkea Pro Cycling who could be in with a shout on the flatter stages. She’s taken a few top-10s in 1.1 and 1.2 type races so far in 2021. Peaking with 4th places at both Ronde de Mouscron and GP Eco-Struct. A top-10 result on a stage would be great here with the potential for more too.

Silvia Zanardi is another young star on the BePink team. She finished 13th in the sprint at Scheldeprijs this season and has been knocking on the door since the return to racing last season. She took a pair of top-10s at the end of year Ceratizit Challenge against Women’s WorldTour opposition. Given a flat day, she’s got a chance to repeat those results here as there’s not huge amounts of sprint depth here this season.

Movistar’s Sheyla Gutierrez can often be quiet but then pop up with a great result or two throughout the year. She came so close to winning a stage at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana back in May, twice finishing 2nd and also 3rd on Stage 4. She won La Périgord Ladies last season so is a winner, but she’ll have to navigate racing for Norsgaard in sprints and working for leaders Thomas and Aalerud. She may get crowded out.

Aromitalia’s young Italian Letizia Borghesi was consistent at the Tour de Suisse and almost took the white jersey there. Results of 10th and 14th left her 7th in GC. Combined with 9th in GC at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana where she finished 4th on the tough first day. Borghesi is developing into a rider who can climb over some of the tough climbs and still be able to sprint at the end. That’s a great combination to have in women’s cycling.

Race Prediction

Anna van der Breggen
Elisa Longo Borghini
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig