The Giro d’Italia Women 2024, starting on Sunday, 7 July, marks the 2nd of the ‘grand tours’ on the women’s WorldTour calendar. As the longest-running of the three major stage races for the women’s peloton, dating back to 1988, this year’s edition is set to be a historic one. For the first time, the race comes under the control of RCS, the organisers of the men’s Giro, promising an ambitious and challenging eight days of racing. The journey will span several Italian regions, starting with a time trial in Brescia and culminating with formidable mountain stages, including the iconic Blockhaus.

2024 Giro d’Italia Women Stage by Stage Analysis

Stage 1: Brescia Time Trial (14.6 km)

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This year’s Giro d’Italia Women opens with a 14.6 km individual time trial around Brescia. This stage is almost pan-flat except for a small rise in the final 5 km, making it an opportunity for time trial specialists to shine. The route runs along the river Mella and features urban roads, including a short climb to the Castle before descending towards the historic centre and finishing in Piazza della Loggia. The technical downhill section with hairpins and cobbles will test riders’ handling skills on their TT bikes, effectively setting an early but non-decisive hierarchy for the GC. Thankfully, the forecast currently doesn’t predict that it will be a wet ride.

Stage 2: Sirmione to Volta Mantovana (102 km)

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Stage 2 offers one of only two nailed-on sprint stages, starting on the shores of Lake Garda and featuring a flat profile. The route follows the waterside through Desenzano and enters the Brescia plain, touching several towns before reaching a 20-km finishing circuit in Volta Mantovana. Minor undulations in Cavriana could disrupt the peloton slightly, but the final sprint in Volta Mantovana is expected to be a dramatic finish to a relatively easy day.

Stage 3: Sabbioneta to Toano (111 km)

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The first uphill finish of the race, Stage 3, is divided into two parts. The initial section is a gentle ascent across the Po Valley, leading to the final 12 km climb to Toano. This category-2 climb has an average gradient of 6%, easing off in the final 3 km. This stage will see the first significant GC battle and the awarding of the Maglia Azzurra for the first GPM of the race. It’s a chance for some riders who lost time in the TT to reclaim some seconds.

Stage 4: Imola to Urbino (133 km)

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Stage 4 is another stage split into two halves. The first half is completely flat, while the second half is very hilly, entering the Romagna Apennines and crossing the Republic of San Marino. The route includes a category-2 climb to San Marino, providing a launchpad for potential breakaways. The final climb to Urbino is a gentle 13 km ascent with a steep final 500 metres, making it a stage where breakaways could succeed or once again the GC could take over.

Stage 5: Frontone to Foligno (111 km)

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Stage 5 is the last quiet stage before the decisive final three stages. The route crosses the Umbro-Marchean Apennines and follows the Via Flaminia to Foligno. The rolling profile and continuous downhill undulations lead to a fast finish in Foligno, similar to previous editions of the Tirreno-Adriatico or the Giro d’Italia. This stage is another opportunity for sprinters, although breakaways may also have a chance if teams are looking ahead to the tougher tests.

Stage 6: San Benedetto del Tronto to Chieti (155 km)

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Stage 6 is the longest stage of the race, featuring ten tough climbs and just as many descents. The route moves from valley to valley with little flat terrain, building to double-digit gradients towards the finish in Chieti. This stage favours Ardennes classic-style riders and will test the peloton’s endurance before the final two mountainous stages. Again, maybe one for a breakaway if the GC isn’t threatened.

Stage 7: Lanciano to Blockhaus (123 km)

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The Queen Stage of the Giro, Stage 7, includes a total altitude gain of 3,600 metres. The stage starts with a series of short climbs leading to the double ascent of Passo Lanciano and the final climb to Blockhaus. The roads are demanding, with repeated ascents and descents. The final climb to Blockhaus (17.7 km at 7.8%) is gruelling and will likely decide the overall winner of this year’s Giro d’Italia Women. This stage is pure GC territory, with significant QOM points on offer to probably decide that jersey too.

Stage 8: Pescara to L’Aquila (109 km)

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The final stage is a tough mountain stage with most of the climbing in the first two-thirds of the route. The riders will ascend Forca di Penne and Castel del Monte before a long descent towards L’Aquila. The short climb of Acquasanta 5 km from the finish could tempt late attacks. The stage will test the endurance of the GC leader after a hard week and maybe rely on the strength of their team. There’s the chance of potentially seeing last-minute changes in the overall standings.

Overall

The 2024 Giro d’Italia Women offers a well-rounded route with a mix of time trials, flat stages, hilly terrains, and daunting mountain climbs. The Queen Stage on Blockhaus is likely to be the decisive factor for the GC, but other stages provide ample opportunities for sprinters and breakaway specialists. The points and QOM classifications will be closely contested, adding further excitement to this prestigious race. With a strong start list and diverse stages, the Giro d’Italia Women 2024 promises to be a fun edition.