The eight stages of the new and possibly improved Giro d’Italia Women were announced on Tuesday, and already we’re off to a cracking start; usually, the route announcement comes out mere weeks before the first stage rollout. It will be the first year the women’s Giro is organized by RCS, the promoter behind the men’s Giro, so this is likely not the first change we see.
With the first stage scheduled for July 7th, the Giro this year is kicking off a week later than usual. The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is also later in the calendar due to the Olympic Games in Paris that will take place between the two tours.
The peloton will race from Brescia in Northern Italy south to L’Aquila: 858.6 km in total with one time trial, one guaranteed (ish) sprint stage, four up-in-the-air stages, and two mountain stages will determine the first pink jersey post-Annemiek van Vleuten.
The time trial that starts the race is no prologue, but instead a 14.6 km race around the Grande Partenza in Brescia. It’s a little something for the strongest women. The second stage includes a finishing circuit and looks like a great day for the sprinters barring anything crazy. Stages 3 through 6 are all a little different, with the third stage ending on a little kicker and the fourth, fifth and sixth stages including some climbing but nothing major. These are four stages that will leave the race a little more open before the final two days in the mountains.
Of the four stages, stage 6 is maybe the hardest, covering 155 km from San Benedetto del Tronto to Chieti. With 10 climbs along the route, it’s a day that never really lets up.
For the final two stages, the women will have to put on their serious climbing legs. Stage 7, the queen stage, covers 123 km from Lanciano to the top of Blockhaus and includes the Passo Larciano. The Blockhaus climb was first featured in the men’s Giro in 1967 and was most recently conquered by Jai Hindley on his way to winning the Giro in 2022. The Australian won the stage ahead of Romain Bardet but only claimed the pink jersey 11 stages later.
The eighth and final stage starts with climbing and ends after a long descent into L’Aquila after 109 km of racing.
At eight stages the race is the shortest in 11 years. Typically, the women’s Giro runs nine to 10 days, sometimes with a transfer thrown in like in the last two years when the route included Sardinia.
For 14 years the race has been dominated by Dutch and American riders, with Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen both claiming overall victory four times. Van Vleuten won the last two editions, with an Italian finishing on the podium both times. In 2022 it was Marta Cavalli in second and this year Gaia Realini finished third overall behind Juliette Labous.
With the inclusion of the Tour de France Femmes on the calendar the Giro has taken a bit of a hit in terms of the field, however, with the schedule thrown around a bit due to the Olympics and the RCS’s bid to elevate the race, it’s likely the Giro in 2024 will feature a lot of the top riders in the sport. It will serve as a terrific block before the Olympic road race on July 27th, especially as the course offers something for every type of rider.
The seventh stage and Blockhaus in particular will be the defining moment of the race, but the stages before and the final day promise to challenge those hoping to walk away with pink. The question on everyone’s mind will be: can Demi Vollering continue the Dutch winning streak or is it finally Italy’s turn to take the crown?
What did you think of this story?