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Giro d’Italia Donne 2022 Race Preview

Table of Contents

Giro d'Italia Donne Race History

The long-running Giro Donne has undergone a number of updates in recent years. Gone are the bad hotels, lack of food, late route changes and no TV with the race finally modernising to up-to-date standards. The race’s status at the undisputed major grand tour is under threat by the Tour de France Femmes and has been a strong motivator for the improvements. Along with wrists suitably slapped after the race’s demotion from the WorldTour in 2021, the Giro Donne returns to the Women’s WorldTour in 2022. 

The Giro Donne’s status has seen the GC riders of recent generations all spar off to take the victory in Italy. So in recent years, honours have been shared between Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten, with Megan Guarnier the last other rider to win in 2016. Multiple wins are a regular occurrence, with Vos taking 3 wins in the early 2010s, Fabiana Luperini took her 5th and final edition in 2008 after dominating in the 1990s. Edita Pucinskaite, Mara Abbott, Nicole Brändli and Joane Somarriba are the other multiple winners since the turn of the century. Due to Anna van der Breggen’s retirement, we’re guaranteed a first new winner since Van Vleuten’s win in 2019.

Along with the GC winners, Marianne Vos is almost synonymous with the Giro Donne in modern times. The Dutch star recorded her 30th stage victory during last year’s race. Vos took her first stage win back in 2007 and despite a 4-year gap between 2014 and 2018, has continued to win at least one stage in almost every edition that she’s raced in. 4 wins in 2019, 3 wins in 2020 and 2 wins in 2021 shows that Vos has no sign of slowing down.

Previous Winners

Race Profile

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7

Stage 8

Stage 9

Stage 10

TV Coverage

Thursday 30th June – Sunday 10th July  2022

Live on Eurosport/GCN
Stage 1: 13:00-15:00
Stage 2: 12:45-14:45
Stage 3: 11:45-13:45
Stage 4: 13:00-15:00
Stage 5: 11:45-13:45
Stage 6: 11:45-13:45
Stage 7 11:45-13:45
Stage 8: 11:45-13:45
Stage 9: 11:45-13:45
Stage 10: 11:45-13:45

Twitter:#GiroDonne or #GiroDonne22

Startlist: CyclingFever

Giro d'Italia Donne 2022 GC Contenders

More riders will be added as the start list develops

Marta Cavalli feels like the form choice for a rider to beat Annemiek van Vleuten at the moment. She was properly broke through this Spring with wins at Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne. Way back in February she was 3rd behind Van Vleuten and Uttrup Ludwig at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, on the queen stage and in GC. 4 months later and Cavalli beat a not massively strong field on Mont Ventoux and looks like she will be taking the fight to the Dutch favourite. She will have able support from Evita Muzic who has been looking stronger and stronger in 2022. A win at Alpes Gresivaudan will increase her confidence and she was on the podium at Mont Ventoux too. 2nd in GC at Vuelta a Burgos shows that Muzic is certainly in that elite tier of climbers and will be a great lieutenant for Cavalli.
The team are also bringing the new Danish champion in Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. She has done well at the Giro Donne before, finishing 4th and 6th in GC previously. Aside from breaking the duck to win her first Danish champs, she was 5th at the Vuelta a Burgos and is certainly climbing well at the moment. However, I believe that the team’s leader here is Marta Cavalli, with Cecilie due to be the Tour de France Femmes leader. 

The only former Giro Donne winner to be taking part in 2022 is Annemiek van Vleuten. She’s had a good 2022 so far with wins at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Add on top the 2nd places from Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders and Flèche Wallonne for good measure. Despite that, there was talk that Van Vleuten would be a little disappointed with her Spring campaign, although I personally couldn’t see why. Van Vleuten has always suited the Giro Donne, winning twice and would have had a third if she hadn’t go caught up in the crash that saw her breaking her wrist in 2020. She will be the top-notch favourite as usual.

A rider who did have a quiet Spring was Elisa Longo Borghini. Until she won Paris Roubaix Femmes, the only race Longo Borghini had scored at top-10 in was Strade Bianche with 8th. So the form she showed during the Ardennes was certainly an uptick in fortunes and it has continued since. Winning at the summit of Black Mountain and sneaking 3rd on the final day saw the Italian win the Women’s Tour by just 1 second. Trek can put pressure on Van Vleuten but I can’t see Elisa finishing ahead of Annemiek.

Juliette Labous Photo Credit: Cor Vos

Team DSM’s Juliette Labous had a solid spring but really moved things up a gear during Spain month. 5th at Itzulia was followed by a maiden WWT GC win at Vuelta a Burgos. She is a strong time triallist so may gain some time on the prologue over many of her rivals. That will put her in a strong position going into the major climbing stages. Only Demi Vollering climbed Lagunas de Neila quicker than Labous and she beat many riders at this year’s Giro Donne. That will certainly help the confidence.

We’ve seen some good stuff from Mavi Garcia during the Spanish races in May. 2nd in GC at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol and also on the podium at GP de Eibar. Garcia finally took her first Women’s WorldTour victory at the Vuelta Burgos on Stage 3, even if the effort needed to win that stage hampered her the next day on the summit finish at Lagunas de Neila. I struggle to see Garcia making the podium but after breaking her WWT duck, a stage win and respectable placing are on the cards.

We’ve seen Krista Doebel-Hickok do well on the climbs this year. She’s possibly more of a potential stage winner than an overall threat at the Giro Donne this year but 4th Overall at the Vuelta a Burgos was a great result. With teammate Veronica Ewers also on fire during the same period her results don’t necessarily show the effort and work she put in. 

Amanda Spratt has come back well after her iliac artery surgery and we’ve been getting closer and closer to seeing the Aussie back to her best. 10th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes rounded off the spring classics nicely after we’d seen her on the attack regularly. Those efforts are hidden by the results sheet for most of the races. She was solid in Spain during May too, including 7th in the first stage at Itzulia Women. I’d be surprised if we saw her make the podium again at the Giro Donne this year but she will always a be a threat and a stage win is possible.

Clara Koppenburg has been looking strong recently. She was 2nd on Mont Ventoux behind Marta Cavalli and then 7th in GC at the Tour de Suisse. She might’ve been higher there if not for the time trial stage. It will probably be a similar story here where she will lose time on the opening prologue, probably lose some more on the flat stages with a mishap and then have to pull out a super climbing performance or two. The pure climber has the potential to win stages 7 and 8.

Giro d'Italia Donne 2022 Sprinters

Emma Norsgaard will lead the charge for Movistar and with no Lorena Wiebes here has a chance for stage wins. She won Le Samyn des Dames way back in March and took her first win since at the Danish national champs time trial this week. She’s a rider you can see sneaking into the pink jersey before the major climb on Stage 7. She should do well in the early time trial and then be knocking on the door all the way to Stage 6.

The newly crowned Pan-American champion Arlenis Sierra probably won’t be wearing a special jersey as traditionally she prefers to wear her Cuban champ jersey instead. She was impressive on rolling terrain at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Del Sol, taking the GC after winning 2 of the 3 stages. It’s surprising in many ways that Sierra’s best stage finish at the Giro Donne is only 4th back in 2017. Some of the rolling terrain sprinty stages here will be right up her street.

It’s always going to be tough to ignore the 30-time stage winner Marianne Vos. It’s been a bit of a strange year for the Dutch star. She didn’t have too many race days planned anyway but then got struck down with Covid just as she was about to kick on her season at Paris Roubaix. She raced Veenendaal-Veenendaal and was 5th at the end of May but really, we have almost no idea what Vos’ form is like and how she will do. If it’s anything like normal, she will be winning another stage or two this year.

After winning 3 races in a row earlier in the Spring, Elisa Balsamo has strangely not won a race on the road since. She wasn’t able to get past Lorena Wiebes at RideLondon Classique with a pair of 2nd places and 2nd overall. Slightly oddly, Balsamo has never raced a Giro Donne before so this will be new ground but a great chance to bask in wearing the World Champion rainbow around Italy for 10 stages. She’s just won the Italian national championship for good measure. With no Wiebes, Balsamo is the best sprinter on paper here.

It feels like Lotte Kopecky will be going toe to toe with the likes of Vos and Balsamo in particular. The way she took that win at Strade Bianche showed she will do well on the uphill finishes that the Giro Donne is infamous for. Winning the Tour of Flanders in the Belgian jersey was a big bucket list victory ticked off this season. Then at a flat stage at Vuelta a Burgos, Kopecky showed she can still win a pure sprint too. Kopecky already has a Giro Donne stage win back in 2020, winning at the end of a hilly stage into Maddaloni.

It’s a bit of a surprise that despite a long successful career, Marta Bastianelli only has 1 victory at the Giro Donne back in 2017. She’s got a decent chance this year with 6 victories already in 2022 but it’s with the caveat that none of them were at WWT level.  I struggle to see her outsprinting Balsamo and Kopecky in a pure sprint and then she’ll be up against Vos in an uphill one that suits her. One note of caution as well is that she was DNF at the Tour de Suisse last week.

Chiara Consonni
Chiara Consonni

No Lorena Wiebes means that Team DSM will be sprinting with Charlotte Kool. She’s had a huge role in many of Wiebes’ wins this season, acting as the final leadout rider. As such, it’s hard to pull out too many top results this season due to the reduced opportunities. Kool did win the GP Eco-Struct though and beat Elisa Balsamo in both of her wins last season. It’s going to be an interesting chance for the Dutch rider to prove she’s also in that top tier of sprinters.

Valcar’s Chiara Consonni would love a stage win in her home tour. She’s done well in 2022 with 3 wins, although none have been at WWT level so far. The infamous Valcar lead-out train will deliver her to strong positions and she will be with many others in hoping that no Wiebes means more chances to win.

Clara Copponi will be sprinting for FDJ at this year’s Giro Donne. She scored her first Women’s WorldTour victory on day 1 at the Women’s Tour in that messy sprint that saw riders like Wiebes crash on the penultimate corner. She had been knocking on the door repeatedly before then and had a strong set of spring classics results too. Against this strong field, it will be tough for her to get another WWT victory but she will certainly be in the mix.

Liv Racing Xstra’s Rachele Barbieri has been one of the signings of the season. She was largely track focused during the latter stages of the Olympic cycle, which affected her road racing in 2020 and 2021. Now back in her first full road season since 2019, Barbieri is showing us what we’ve been missing. She was just 2nd at the Italian nationals behind Elisa Balsamo so is clearly in good form.

Giro d'Italia Donne 2022 Stage & GC Outsiders

The Canyon SRAM pairing of Soraya Paladin and Elise Chabbey both have the potential to win stages here. Paladin has a number of podiums already this year, including at the WWT Trofeo Alfredo Binda. She’s the sort of rider who can finish off a stage sprinting well against a reduced group. Chabbey is a tough rider to distance and could find herself in pink here after Stage 4 through consistency. 6th on Mont Ventoux shows she’s not a bad climber at all, although not in the same tier as Van Vleuten. Stages 4, 6 and 9 look like good stages for Elise to launch a late attack and see what sticks.

American Kristen Faulkner is on a great run of form at the moment. She was 2nd at the Tour de Suisse after coming so close to the victory. Brand might still have outsprinted her but it was a shame to see her efforts go with a final corner crash in the wet. She won the time trial in Suisse and there’s always a chance she wins the prologue here. Her consistency was shown at the Women’s Tour with 7th in GC there and a highly impressive 3rd at Itzulia Women before that. She’s a wildcard for the overall but looks in good enough form for a top-10 in GC.

Lucinda Brand is in the process of dominating the Tour de Suisse and will be in a similar boat to Elise Chabbey here. She may end up on protection duty for Elisa Balsamo on sprint stages but you can’t bring Brand to a race and not let her loose at least once. The Dutch rider is clearly in great form heading into this year’s Giro Donne.

It’s been a while but Thalita de Jong is a Giro Donne stage winner already from back in 2016. That day she was the lone rider over the line with the peloton just over a minute behind. She’s been dominating the lower-level races so far in 2022 and found things a little tougher at the Thüringen Ladies Tour and Women’s Tour. It would be a nice moment if De Jong won another Giro stage this year, creating a full career circle after the years of repeated injuries.

BePink’s Silvia Zanardi is a great puncheur sprinter type. She won’t be in the mix as often in a pure sprint but will be up against someone like Arlenis Sierra. 4th overall at the recent Thüringen Ladies Tour pretty much proves her ‘hilly sprinter’ credentials. Just 22, Zanardi is surely on the radar for some WWT teams.

Top 3 Prediction