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Balsamo, Longo Borghini, Cavalli confirmed for Giro d’Italia Donne

World Champion Elisa Balsamo and Italian Champion Elisa Longo Borghini
World Champion Elisa Balsamo and Italian Champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Image credit: Getty Images)

Elisa Balsamo, Marta Cavalli and Elisa Longo Borghini, three of the biggest Italian stars in women’s cycling, will participate in this year’s Giro d’Italia Donne, race organisers confirmed.

This Italian contingent of the peloton have enjoyed an exceptional start to the season, winning two-thirds of the Women’s WorldTour races between them. World Champion Balsamo won Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem in a delirious week in March. Her Trek-Segafredo teammate and Italian chaampion Elisa Longo Borghini conquered the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) took victories in Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne.

It will be Balsamo’s first participation in the Giro Donne, while Cavalli and Longo Borghini will return to the site of previous success.

Last year, Cavalli won the maglia azzurra, the jersey worn by the best-placed Italian in the race. 

"I am happy and proud of what I achieved last year, a qualitative leap. I love racing at home, the support is incredible," said Cavalli.

Longo Borghini won stage 8 of the 2020 Giro Donne and the mountains classification in 2016. She has finished on the overall podium twice; second place in 2017 and third place in 2020, both overall titles won by now-retired Anna van der Breggen.

The 33rd edition of the Giro Donne will start on June 30 in Cagliari, Sardinia and remain on Sardinian soil for the opening three days. After a rest day, the peloton  heads across the mainland and to the overall finish in Padova on July 10. 

Over the course of 10 stages, the peloton will ride 1,002 kilometres, tackling the Alps and Dolomites with the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race, arriving at 1,291 metres on the Passo Daone. There will also be a mountain-top finish at Passo Maniva on stage 7.

This year, the Giro Donne returns to the Women’s WorldTour as race organisers have promised two hours of daily live broadcast coverage, as well as a €250,000 prize purse to match the amount offered by the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. The overall classification winner will receive €50,000. 

As well as the three Italian stars lining up in Cagliari, 13 out of the 14 Women’s WorldTeams, and 11 Continental women’s teams including Valcar-Travel & Service, Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team, Bizkaia-Durango and Cofidis Women Team, will feature in the race. 

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Issy Ronald has just graduated from the London School of Economics where she studied for an undergraduate and masters degree in History and International Relations. Since doing an internship at Procycling magazine, she has written reports for races like the Tour of Britain, Bretagne Classic and World Championships, as well as news items, recaps of the general classification at the Grand Tours and some features for Cyclingnews. Away from cycling, she enjoys reading, attempting to bake, going to the theatre and watching a probably unhealthy amount of live sport.