This year, the scenic San Luca climb in Bologna sets the backdrop for the much-anticipated Giro dell’Emilia Donne. With a bevvy of well-seasoned professionals and up-and-coming talents gearing up for a captivating race, the stage is set for a memorable showdown. The Giro dell’Emilia Donne offers an exciting blend of climbs and rolling terrains, making it an irresistible challenge for both climbers and all-rounders. For the first time, the women’s race will see two ascents of the San Luca climb. Previously, the race would meander along on the flat until a final uphill sprint. This year’s additional climb will change up the tactics for the finish of the race.
Household Names: Mavi Garcia, Soraya Paladin, Juliette Labous, Liane Lippert, Marta Cavalli
Among the stars in the peloton that are racing the Giro dell’Emilia Donne are Mavi Garcia, Soraya Paladin, Juliette Labous, Liane Lippert, and Marta Cavalli. Garcia and Paladin have been stalwarts and bring a slightly different set of strengths – Garcia excels in truly hilly terrains and Paladin is an Italian native with a fast finish in hilly one-day classics. Both have podium finishes under their belts and are hungry for more. Juliette Labous will bring her climbing skillset to prove her ability on the San Luca climb. Her tactical skills have grown impressively over the past few seasons. Liane Lippert and Marta Cavalli offer balanced capabilities, Lippert with her all-around skills and Cavalli’s uphill sprint prowess, making them both formidable competitors in any race. Lippert is in some really good format at the moment with a stage win at the Tour de Romandie. Cavalli’s uphill sprinting is especially crucial in a one-day race like the Giro dell’Emilia Donne, we’ve seen that at her best the Italian has won Fleche Wallonne.
Climbing Specialists: Clara Koppenburg, Ane Santesteban, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Pauliena Rooijakkers, Claire Steels
As the road steepens eyes inevitably turn to the climbing specialists. Clara Koppenburg, Ane Santesteban, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Pauliena Rooijakkers, and Claire Steels are the names to remember at this year’s Giro dell’Emilia. All have shown exceptional form in recent races, some on the road and some on gravel too. Pauliena Rooijakkers, representing the Netherlands, is a great rider in an uphill finish but might get distanced on the descent before the final ascent. Clara Koppenburg came close to a win at the AG Tour de la Semois finishing 5th and 2nd on the pair of stages. Ane Santesteban finished 6th on the Norefjell stage of the Tour of Scandinavia and also had a solid Tour de Romandie too. Adding intrigue to this group is Claire Steels, a solid climber with an ability to sustain her pace over steep, grinding stretches. Steels, in particular, might be the wildcard here; don’t be surprised if she makes a break in the latter parts of the race. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is a former winner here, taking the victory back in 2020. If her Tour de Scandinavia form continues here then a repeat might be possible.
Podium Contenders: Erica Magnaldi, Elise Chabbey, Arlenis Sierra, Silvia Persico, Christina Schweinberger
Erica Magnaldi, Elise Chabbey, Arlenis Sierra, and the newly added Silvia Persico are all athletes capable of podium finishes. Magnaldi has a track record of excelling on home soil, while Chabbey’s well-rounded set of skills makes her a threat in any scenario. Both have the ability to shine either as breakaway artists or as tacticians in a group setting. Arlenis Sierra possesses a knack for seizing opportunities, whether in a bunch sprint or in a breakaway and has a great record here. The Cuban has twice finished 2nd and was 4th last year too. Silvia Persico, meanwhile, joins this section as a podium contender; her tactical acumen and climbing skills could very well catapult her onto the podium in what promises to be an open and fiercely contested race. She comes off a strong season and her team will undoubtedly back her as one of the leaders. Christina Schweinberger has barely finished outside of the top-10 in the second half of the 2023 season. She might struggle to make the podium on the uphill finish here but her form is so good that any race feels possible for a good result at the moment.