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Niewiadoma skips Giro d’Italia Donne to focus on gold medal at Olympic Games

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) has opted to skip the Giro d’Italia Donne in order to focus on the Olympic Games. The Polish all-rounder, who finished second overall last year, said she wouldn’t have time to recover from the demands of the mountainous 10-day stage race, held from July 2-11, ahead of the women’s Tokyo Olympic Games road race, held on July 25.

"I decided to not race Giro d'Italia Donne because from my previous experiences it would take me, always, quite a while to recover from this very long and brutal stage race," said Niewiadoma, who also indicated to Cyclingnews in an interview in March that she would not race the Giro d'Italia Donne.

The Giro d’Itaila Donne begins on Friday and new organisers, PMG Sport, revealed that this year’s race will travel through the mountainous northern regions of Italy that include Piemonte, Lombardia, Liguria, Veneto, and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The race will begin on July 2 with a team time trial in Fossano to Cuneo. It will then feature an uphill time trial on stage 4, and two mountaintop finishes on stage 2 at Prato Nevoso and stage 9 at Monte Matajur on the penultimate stage, before concluding in Cormons on July 11.

Anna van der Breggen (now SD Worx) won the overall title at last year’s Giro d’Italia Donne and Niewiadoma finished second, in what was her best performance at the marquee event. Previously, Niewiadoma had placed inside the top 10 in five editions of the Giro Rosa. She was fifth in 2019, seventh in 2018, sixth in 2017, seventh in 2016, and fifth in 2015, while she was also 11th in 2014 in her first full season as a professional with the Rabo-Liv team.

Niewiadoma will forego this year’s Giro d’Italia Donne and put all of her focus on competing for her Polish National Team at the Olympic Games.  She finished sixth in the road race and 18th in the time trial at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and this year she hopes to improve on that performance.

"There are so many factors that affect your body and I never feel like I come out of the [Giro] stronger," Niewiadoma told Cyclingnews. "Instead, I usually need really a lot of time to recover. With the Olympics coming, I chose to skip the Giro and put all my attention into this one race in Tokyo. If I want to prepare myself as best I can, I feel it's best to give up the chance to get a result at the Giro. My entire focus is the road race at the Olympics."

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 end 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 meters of climbing. The route is well suited to a rider like Niewiadomma, who does well in one-day races at the Ardennes Classics.

Niewiadoma will be training and competing at the Baloise Ladies Tour held from July 8-11 in Belgium before making the lengthy trip to Japan to compete in the Olympic Games.

"Instead of the Giro, I will race at Baloise Ladies Tour in Netherlands and Belgium next week," Niewiadoma said. "This race will help me get race speed, and being only four days long, the timing fits well. I'll race, go home, recover and then a few days later I fly to Tokyo. I believe it's the perfect preparation for me.”

Kirsten Frattini

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.