The route for the 2011 Giro Donne was unveiled in Monza on Saturday, with a scenic start in Rome and a first ever crossing by the women of the fearsome Mortirolo as the highlights of a testing route.
The ten-day race gets under way in Rome on July 1, and will cover 962.1km on the road north to San Francesco al Campo, just outside Turin. In travelling between the nation’s current and first capital cities, the race seeks to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
“It’s a women’s Giro d’Italia that will carry the values of cycling in terms of its challenge, tenacity and the sense of belonging to the larger family of women’s racing,” said Giro Donne director general Giuseppe Rivolta. “In this way, it also pays homage to the anniversary of Italian unification.”
After leaving Rome, the race heads through Castel Gandolfo, site of the Papal summer residence, en route to Velletri. Stage two in Abruzzo could see the race break up on testing terrain around Pescocostanzo, before the race pays tribute to its ambassador Marina Romoli with a stage on her home roads in the Marche.
A few days for the sprinters follow, with finishes in Forlì, Verona and Piacenza, where world champion Giorgia Bronzini will be looking to win in front of her home fans.
The following day, however, comes the tappone, the queen stage of the Giro. With 122km and the climb of the Mortirolo facing the riders on the road to Grosotto, this could well be the race’s decisive moment. “It’s the battle of battles,” Rivolta said. “An extraordinary stage that recalls a different era of cycling.”
The climbing continues on stage 8, with a summit finish at Valdidentro sure to break up the classification still further. The penultimate day to Ceresola Reale includes the race’s final climb in the Gran Paradiso national park, with slopes of 14% facing the riders, before the successor to Mara Abbott is crowned after the 16km time trial on the final day.
Marina Romoli was also on hand at the Giro Donne presentation. The Italian suffered severe injuries last summer when she was struck by a car while training and has since been confined to a wheelchair. The popular Romoli has been named as the race’s madrina, or godmother, for this year.
Giro Donne, July 1-10:
Stage 1: Rome-Velletri, 86km
Stage 2: Pescoconstanzo- Pescoconstanzo, 91km
Stage 3: Potenza Picena-Fermo, 104.3km
Stage 4: Forlimpopoli-Forlì, 101km
Stage 5: Altedo-Verona, 129km
Stage 6: Fontanellato-Piacenza, 128km
Stage 7: Rovato-Grosotto, 122km
Stage 8: Teglio-Valdidentro, 70km
Stage 9: Agliè-Ceresole Reale, 114.8km
Stage 10: San Francesco al Campo TT, 16km