Giro d’Italia Donne releases 2023 route details, finally
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After weeks of silence, the organizers of the Giro d’Italia Donne have finally announced the route for this year’s race, which starts next month.
Usually a 10-day event, this year’s event will feature just nine days of racing with one rest day between stages 7 and 8 to allow the peloton to travel to Sardinia for the last two days. Despite being a day shorter for 2023, it remains the longest event on the women’s calendar as well as being one of the oldest.
This year is the final edition to be run by the Starlight organization with RCS — the organizer of the men’s Giro d’Italia — set to take over from next year. Elements of RCS involvement can already be seen in the route maps published for the 2023 event.
While there are no iconic climbs featured in this year’s event, there is plenty of rolling road and a few tough climbs to decide the overall classification. However, there is nothing like last year’s summit finish on the Passo Maniva with the 1,500m-high Passo del Lupo on stage 5 the Cima Coppi of the race and the only climb that goes over 1,000m.
Annemiek van Vleuten won last year’s race by 1:52 over Marta Cavalli after winning two stages. She is set to return this year and will be looking to join Anna van der Breggen in the list of four-time winners.
Nine days of racing will begin on June 30 with a pan-flat 4.4km individual time trial around Chianciano Terme, in the Tuscany region.
Stage 2 is 102km and brings the riders north from Bagno a Ripoli to Marradi. It is one that could go several different ways with the second category Passo della Colla situated in the final quarter of the stage. There are some sprinters that could survive a climb like that but it could equally see a small break go clear.
The journey north continues on stage 3 with a 118.2km ride from Formigine to Modena. There is a small third category climb midway through the stage, but it should end in a bunch sprint.
Stage 4’s ride from Fidenza to Borgo Val di Taro will be another chance for the sprinters with no classified climbs to contend with, though there are some seriously rolling roads that will provide a challenge. At 134km, it is the longest stage of the nine-day event.
With women’s races pushing further out for longer distances, the average daily distance of 103km for this year’s Giro d’Italia Donne stands out as fairly short. Indeed, this year’s eight-day Tour de France Femmes is nearly 30km longer, while the Vuelta Femenina had a 105km daily average and a maximum distance of 158km.
With the Cima Coppi along its route, the 103.3km stage 5 from Salassa to Ceres is undoubtedly the queen stage of the race. The Passo del Lupo comes fairly early in the stage, though, and it remains to be seen just how much damage it can do.
The category 1 climb starts around 10km into the stage and peaks before the 30km mark. The remainder of the day is relatively rolling with two third-category ascents coming in the final 30km of the day.
Stage 6 is a 104.4km loop out and back to Canelli, featuring a series of small climbs that should thin the bunch out. The last of the three third category climbs in the back end of the stage, the final one comes just before the finish and it could be an opportunity to gain time if the GC remains relatively close at this point.
Stage 7 is the last one on the Italian mainland with the final two days on Sardinia. The 109.1km route takes the riders from Albenga along the seafront before looping around into the nearby mountains on the road to Alassio.
With two second-category ascents in the latter part of the day and a steep third-category ascent to the finish line, this one could prove to be another important day for the overall classification.
After a rest day, the riders hit the Sardinian roads for the last two days. Like most of the race, the last two stages feature very rolling roads that could do some damage to the bunch, especially if the day is raced aggressively.
Giro d’Italia Donne 2023 route
Stage 1 — Friday, June 30: Chianciano (ITT) 4,4km
Stage 2 — Saturday, July 1: Bagno a Ripoli to Marradi 102.1km
Stage 3 — Sunday, July 2: Formigine to Modena 118.2km
Stage 4 — Monday, July 3: Fidenza to Borgo Val di Taro 134km
Stage 5 — Tuesday, July 4: Salassa to Ceres 103.3km
Stage 6 — Wednesday, July 5: Canelli to Canelli 104.4km
Stage 7 —Thursday, July 6: Albenga to Alassio 109.1km
Stage 8 — Saturday, July 8: Nuoro to Sassari 125.7km
Stage 9 —Sunday, July 9: Sassari to Olbia 126.85km