Winners and losers on the 2023 Giro Donne rest day

The 2023 Giro Donne had had 7 of its 9 stages so far and plenty has happened! For a race that appeared to be in the balance in the days leading into it, we’ve had favourites winning stages, a maiden WWT win and more! With 2 days to go, there is still a chance for the race to be turned on its head. Annemiek van Vleuten herself will remember the 2020 Giro Donne which was taken away from her with an innocuous crash 2 days from the end.

Winners at the 2023 Giro Donne

Annemiek van Vleuten

This week has been like a return to the imperious Van Vleuten of old. 3 stage wins and a GC lead of just under 4 minutes have seen the Dutch star make her final Giro Donne absolutely hers. Provided she stays out of trouble, she will win her 4th Giro Donne and rescue a final season that was just hanging in the balance before this race. A relatively disappointing Spring by her standards will not be forgotten about if she can finish 2023 with the Vuelta Femenina and Giro Donne safely secured. The Tour de France Femmes looked like it was going to be a cakewalk for SD Worx but they might have a battle on their hands.

Juliette Labous

Juliette Labous has had a strong Giro Donne so far sitting in 2nd place, 29″ ahead of Gaia Realini in 2nd place. We haven’t seen a stage win like last year just yet but that win largely happened because the French rider wasn’t a GC threat at that point and was given the freedom and a major mountain summit to play with. With a dominant Van Vleuten this year, Labous has finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in stages and being runner-up here would be a big confidence booster going into the Tour de Frances Femmes.

Antonia Niedermaier Giro Donne

Antonia Niedermaier

A maiden Women’s WorldTour win was secured in a fine way by the young German. She’s had a tough season so far with surgery taking her out of the early months of the season and then a somersault over the bars at the Thüringen Ladies Tour ended a promising performance there. So to deliver here with a big win should’ve propelled her to a strong GC position and a fun battle with Gaia Realini for the white youth jersey. It made it all the more a shame that she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get taken out of the race.

Erica Magnaldi

I think most of us expected Silvia Persico to be the clear GC leader here at the Giro Donne but Erica Magnaldi has quietly impressed to get herself up to 5th in GC at the rest day. The Italian has a best finish of 8th, which she’s managed twice, but has successfully avoided giving up big chunks of time to those around here. She’s only 2 seconds behind Ewers in 4th as well. 2 more days to go and she could solidify a great top-5 finish.

Fem van Empel

I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Fem van Empel coming into the Giro Donne. We hadn’t seen much of her on the road up until that point but there was the potential for some high stage finishes here for sure with the rolling terrain stages. So to see the cyclocross world champion sitting 11th in GC here ahead of 2 stages that should suit here is a great ride. She’s finished 9th 3 times in a row in this year’s race and there’s a small chance of sneaking into the top-10 overall if she can find 56″ on Ana Santesteban.

Losers at the 2023 Giro Donne

Shirin-van-Anrooij-Elisa-Longo-Borghini-2023-Giro-Donne-Stage-5-finish-crash

Elisa Longo Borghini

It kinda feels tough putting a stage winner in this section but there will be a strong ‘what might have been’ feeling for Longo Borghini here. The Italian national champion was looking like the only rider who could seriously challenge Van Vleuten, only to miss a corner at speed and have her race ended. With AVV just getting back onto the road at that point, if she had made it around the corner there was a chance to put some time back in and maybe catch Niedermaier in the process too. There will be plenty of optimism from her ride here but a pretty solid 2nd place with the potential for more was taken away.

Time triallists

The opening stage really didn’t work out for many riders here. The wet, heavy rain conditions that saw the stage cancelled really took away an opportunity for those specialist riders. For many, it also involved a crash as a large number of the first wave of riders came down on the course. Chloe Dygert suffered a badly bruised sacrum that has hindered her in this race. She still has a 3rd and a 6th but sits 34th in GC when more would’ve been hoped for coming into the Giro Donne. Letizia Paternoster also lost out as we’ll never know if her time would’ve survived. The Italian was leading at the moment the race was ended and with most of the major TT riders already back on the buses there was definitely a chance. Her crash after being taken out on the only pure sprint stage also compounded that.

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig Giro Donne

FDJ-Suez

The team has just been a little off this week. With what looked on paper like most of the potential Tour de France Femmes line-up here, it’s been pretty hard going. GC-wise, Uttrup Ludwig sits 6th but Marta Cavalli is now down in 15th after a crash saw her lose some time initially. The time gaps are the issue though as both riders would’ve been hoping for a podium here, especially with the likes of Longo Borghini and Niedermaier gone from strong positions. Compared to where they were a month ago at the Tour de Pyrénées, winning on Hautacam, it feels like a backwards step has been made with the timing of form here but maybe the team is all in on the Tour de France Femmes.
There has been the odd bright spot as well in fairness, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was 2nd on the opening day and 5th yesterday, but I still can’t help but feel like they’d be wanting more.

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