It’s the biggest stage race in women’s cycling, and on Friday night Georgia Williams and Linda Villumsen will be tackling it head on. The Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile or Giro Rosa as it’s more commonly known, will start in Aquileia, with Georgia Williams of Orica-SCOTT and Linda Villumsen of Team VeloCONCEPT both in attendance.
Georgia Williams and Linda Villumsen couldn’t have had much more different approaches in the run up to the Giro Rosa. Georgia Williams’ season with Orica-SCOTT has taken her from New Zealand to Australia, Belgium to Italy, Netherlands to China, to Spain and now back to Italy again in a very busy year so far. By contrast Linda Villumsen has not raced since the Rio Olympic Games, with her announcement that she was coming back to professional cycling only coming in the beginning of June.
Up ahead of them are 10 days of racing starting with an 11.5km team time trial from Aquileia to Grado. From there the first three road stages are all about the sprinters before the individual time trial in Sant’elpidio a Mare. The race of truth is just 12.73km in length, but features and uphill drag to the finish line. It will be interesting to see Villumsen – the former world time trial champion – as she goes up for her first individual race against the clock since Rio.
After another stage for the sprinters in stage 6, the roads become a little more trying on day 7 with the 142km of racing from Isernia to Baronissi. Although not a summit finish, the stage will be a trying one. It’s the same story on day eight, with the challenges between Baronissi and Centola all coming towards the second half of the race. A short, rise before the rush descent to the line could be the spark a breakaway rider needs.
Stage 9 is likely to go the sprinters’ way after the early trying kilometres, while the finale in Torre del Greco will probably be one last battle royale for the overall win if the time gaps are narrow enough. Although the stage doesn’t finish on a summit – indeed none of the stages are summit finishes – the stage does feature a tough climb that peaks just after the 110km mark of the 124km stage.