Every year I write about the women’s professional race the Giro Rosa 2016, and I always lament the fact that it’s held at the same time as the very high profile Tour de France. As a consequence it passes by almost unnoticed to any sports fans. A few years ago it was considered the biggest stage race on the women’s calendar, but I’d argue that the much newer stage races – the Women’s Tour of Britain and the Women’s Tour of California – have now got a higher profile.
Nonetheless I’d like to play my part in promoting the race that’s officially called the rather wordy Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile. The 27th edition of the Giro Rosa is mainly a northern affair, starting in the northeast near Treviso on 1 July and ending in Verbania, close to Switzerland, north on Milan on 10 July.
The race begins with a prologue in the evening in Gaiarine, near Treviso. The first stage finishes in San Fior di Sotto, before heading to the Friuli region to remember the victims of the earthquake of 40 years ago in stage two. The sprinters will then fight for the win with the flat stage to Lendinara, but will be tested by the Colli Euganei hills before finishing close to the Po river.
The Central part of the race will take place in Lombardy, first with the Tour of the Iseo Lake – from Costa Volpino to Lovere, then via the high mountain stage from Grosio to Tirano with the terrible Mortirolo as Cima Coppi – the highest climb in the race.
A transfer to Liguria is rewarded with a final mountain stage and a tough uphill finish at the Sanctuary of Madonna della Guardia in Alassio and a hard 21.9km individual time trial to Varazze. The last opportunity for the sprinters is in Legnano on Saturday, July 9, on the same route of the men’s Coppa Bernocchi, before the final day to Verbania, where the overall winner and other jersey winners will be decided.
There are 23 teams participating in the race with the notable exceptions of Cervelo-Bigla and Australian team Orica-AIS. Both have cited the Olympic Games preparation as their reason for not fronting. This means that there aren’t many Aussie riders taking place, just four are lining up – Shara Gillow for Raboliv, Tiffany Cromwell for Canyon SRAM, Lauren Kitchen for Hitec and Carlee Taylor for Liv-Plantur.
2016 Giro d’Italia Femminile route:
Friday, July 1: Prologue: Gaiarine 2km
Saturday, July 2: Stage 1: Gaiarine – San Fior, 104km
Sunday, July 3: Stage 2: Tarcento – Montenars, 111.1km
Monday, July 4: Stage 3: Montagnana – Lendinara, 120km
Tuesday, July 5: Stage 4: Costa Volpino – Lovere, 98.5km
Wednesday, July 6: Stage 5: Grosio – Tirano, 77.5 km
Thursday, July 7: Stage 6: Andora – Alassio/Madonna della Guardia, 118.6km
Friday, July 8: Stage 7: Albisola Superiore – Varazze (individual TT), 21.9km
Saturday, July 9: Stage 8: Rescaldina – Legnano, 99.3km
Sunday, July 10: Stage 9: Verbania – Verbania, 104.8km