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Annemiek van Vleuten undecided on racing Giro d'Italia Donne

Annemiek van Vleuten in the overall race lead at the 2020 Giro Rosa
Annemiek van Vleuten in the overall race lead at the 2020 Giro Rosa (Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) has told Cyclingnews that she is undecided on whether to compete in this year’s Giro d’Italia Donne held from July 2-11 across northern, Italy. The former two-time winner praised the new organisers, Pulse Media Group (PMG Sport), for their efforts in a much-needed revamp of the event and it's aim to return to the Women's WorldTour in 2022.

"I’m undecided, and this news also makes it more interesting for me, but I’m still undecided," Van Vleuten told Cyclingnews at the time PMG Sports launched the event’s new website and marketing details in May.

PMG Sports have indicated that it intends to commit to 30 minutes of live television broadcast at this year’s 10-day race, on its website. The event was downgraded to the 2.Pro Series for not providing required live television last year, a requirement to be a top-tier event, and other organisational concerns.

The company displayed additional details about this year's event on a newly launched event website last month. It included preliminary stage details, 24 competing teams, better event security, administration, televised production, strategic management and operating teams, and enhanced marketing and communications.

The Giro d'Italia Donne is listed as part of the 2022 Women's WorldTour. 

Cyclingnews understands that as a ProSeries race this year organisers are not required to guarantee live broadcast, however, to officially get back into the UCI Women’s WorldTour next year, they will have to meet the TV requirements of the series of a minimum of 45 min.

"I think that a lot of organisations are moving forward over the last few years and stepping up to offer live television, better hotels, and really improving and getting more professional," Van Vleuten told Cyclingnews.

"All the riders in the peloton were disappointed that the Giro Rosa was either not on board or not able to [provide live TV]. It’s our biggest race and if you compare it to some other smaller races in Belgium, for example, that do provide live coverage. 

"It makes be happy if they bring fresh energy and new marketing, which is also good, because we should also sell ourselves. It’s part of running a business and being on television helps the business to grow. To improve, the Giro Rosa needed a new organisation, and it gives me more confidence that things will change."

Van Vleuten is a two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia Donne in 2018 and 2019, and crashed out of the race while in the overall lead during the 2020 edition.

Olympic Games

Van Vleuten was also named as a four-rider member of the Dutch National Team for the women's events at the Tokyo Olympic Games - along with Anna van der Breggen, Demi Vollering and Marianne Vos - that will take priority.

"I’m happy to be part of this well-balanced and experienced talent, and everyone has shown that they are on great form," Van Vleuten said.

The elite women's 137km road race will be held on July 25, just 14 days after the conclusion of the Giro d'Italia Donne. The women's race will start from Musashinonomori Park and ending at the Fuji International Speedway. The women's course will not go over Mt. Fuji like the men's but will include climbs over Donushi Road and Kagosaka Pass, and total 2,692 metres of climbing. 

Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten will also race in the elite women's 22.1km individual time trial, to be held on July 28.

"The biggest challenge will be to prepare for the climate in Tokyo because it’s very humid and hot, and that is the biggest challenge that I have in my control. Ideally, we would go there 10 days before but that is not in my control, and if it is not in my control then I don’t deal with it. I’m flexible and I have my personal protocol prepared with all the things I am going to do to get used to it, and that’s all I can do."

Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen have previewed the routes back in 2019 during a national team recon event.

"Anna and I have seen the course and we know what to expect in Tokyo," Van Vleuten said. "We were there two years ago and we know what to expect with the climate and we previewed the courses for the road race and the time trial, so that’s all done. It’s good that I know how to train for that specific course, it’s all in my head."

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.