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Niewiadoma: I’m aiming for the greatest Giro Rosa of my career

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) leads the 2019 Giro Rosa
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) leads the 2019 Giro Rosa (Image credit: Getty Images)

Kasia Niewiadoma is always a top contender for the maglia rosa during the Giro Rosa, which is set to kick off this year on September 11 as part of the revised Women's WorldTour calendar. 

The Polish all-rounder spent five days in the coveted leader's jersey off the back of Canyon-SRAM winning the opening team time trial last year, and she aims to top that performance during this year's nine-day race.

“I would love to see a pink jersey with the Canyon-SRAM logo on it,” Niewiadoma said. “Personally, I’m aiming for the greatest Giro Rosa of my career! I want to do my best, finish it with no regrets, and no energy left in my body.”

Niewiadoma has placed inside the top 10 in each of the previous five editions of the Giro Rosa. She was 5th in 2019, 7th in 2018, 6th in 2017, 7th in 2016, and 5th in 2015, while she was also 11th in 2014 in her first full season as a professional with the Rabo-Liv team.

Organisers revealed the full route details last month and it will include visits to regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Campania and Puglia. The race will include four hilltop finishes, with the first two on stage 3 in Assisi and on stage 4's 170.3km race to Tivoli, and the final pair on stage 8 at San Marco La Catola and on the finale stage 9 at Motta Montecorvino. 

Racing will begin with a team time trial, which could put Niewiadoma in a good position to take the early lead again, while the team's directeur Rolf Aldag predicted that the overall punchy parcours will invite a more tactical GC battle. 

"The final three stages of the tour get harder and harder," Aldag said. "They're for the climbers and it creates a nice battle for the GC as it won’t be all over and done by stage 6. No, it still can play out on the final days.  [It will come down to] who has the strongest team standing, who has recovered the best day to day, and who still has the best legs.”

Niewiadoma also looked to stage 2's 124km route between Paganico and Arcidosso as a place that could be decisive for the overall contenders. Event organisers introduced a new Strade Bianche-style route that will include two sections along the white gravel roads of Tuscany.

Niewiadoma is a strong contender during the annual Strade Bianche race, which was won by Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) this year. Niewiadoma didn't finish the one-day race this year but she has placed on the podium in four previous editions. She predicts that a strong climber will win stage 2 this year.

“Definitely a climber," Niewiadoma predicted. "It can be the hardest stage of the entire Giro as it’s a great opportunity for many climbers to show their strength. It’s at the start, everyone will be fresh and will try their chances. There are a lot of opportunities for breakaways on that course too. It’s hard to predict now, so we need to, and will be, prepared for every scenario."

Niewiadoma will be supported by a powerful team that includes Alena Amialiusik, Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein and Omer Shapira.

Klein, a time trial specialist, is returning to the Giro Rosa after a two-year hiatus from the event. She will play a key role in the opening team time trial.

“In 2017, I was very motivated to race my first Giro Rosa. That year, the tour had a mix of hard stages and some easier stages for the sprinters. I was there as a lead-out rider and domestique, and overall it was a tough but good experience,” Klein said

“I am happy to have been selected to race and it is an honour to support the team this year. I will be the best domestique I can be for our climbers Kasia, Alena and Omer. This year's Giro Rosa on paper looks very hard with a lot of climbing. My plan is to go day by day and not think about how hard every stage is. I have full respect for this long stage race and I’m ready for the challenge. 

"Especially, I am super motivated for this beautiful, short team time trial on stage 1. It is going to be painful, but we will rock it."

Visit Cyclingnews' dedicated women's page for full reports, results, news, features and galleries from the 2020 Giro Rosa.

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.