Giro d'Italia Women 2024 route revealed: Blockhaus headlines 8-day race

First RCS-organised edition of women's Grand Tour features a varied traverse through Italy, and new 'Cima Alfonsina Strada'

ClockUpdated 15:30, Tuesday 12th December 2023. Published 15:16, Tuesday 12th December 2023
The route for the 2024 Giro d'Italia Women

© RCS

The route for the 2024 Giro d'Italia Women

The route for the 2024 Giro d’Italia Women has been announced, with new organisers RCS unveiling a tough and varied eight-day race at a presentation in Milan on Tuesday. The race will take place between July 7 and 14 next summer.

Starting with a time trial in Brescia, the race travels south through Italy, with stage 7’s mountain-top finish at Blockhaus a clear GC highlight, before the race will be decided on a final, mountainous stage into L’Aquila.

It is here where the first new winner in eight years will be crowned, following Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen’s combined dominance over the race in recent editions.

Read more: Giro d’Italia 2024 route revealed

The race has previously been confined to just the northern half of Italy, but the 2024 route is much more expansive, travelling from Lombardy through Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo.

Organisers of the men’s Giro d’Italia, RCS, have taken over the women’s race from 2024 onwards, bringing the two races under the same umbrella for the first time in over 35 years. As a result of the backing of the experienced race organisers, the route appears bolder and bigger, taking in one of the most famed climbs of the men’s race.

Formerly 10 stages long, the race has shrunk down to eight stages for 2024, but this remains in line with the eight-stage Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and the seven-day Vuelta Femenina.

Read more: Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2024 route revealed

Northern ‘Grande Partenza’ and an early summit finish

The start in Brescia, which RCS is labelling a Grande Partenza, kicks off in traditional Giro d’Italia Women fashion with a 14.6km time trial around the city. This is longer than the time trials that have previously opened the Giro – which used to come in at prologue length – but is still largely flat and fast, bar a small rise in the final 5km.

On city roads, the tight turns also make it somewhat technical. It’s suited to the specialists, but the GC riders will have to ride well to try not to lose time early on, and it will set an early hierarchy in the overall standings.

The second stage, from Sirmione to Volta Mantovana, offers a chance for the sprinters, with a completely flat profile and a 20km finishing lap around Volta Mantovana to finish. A couple of sharp rises in the final 30km could tempt out some attacks, but in all likelihood, this stage won’t be hard enough for anything other than a bunch finish, especially with relatively few chances for the sprinters this year.

On stage 3, the race ramps up with a first summit finish, coming early on as it so often does in the Giro. Heading into Emilia-Romagna, the day starts flat and then gradually rises towards the climb up to Toano, a 12.2km effort up to 885m above sea level. It’s not exceedingly hard, and only a category-2 climb, but no doubt the climbers will take this opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Transitional stages won’t be straightforward

From Toano, the race has to fit in two transitional stages to transport the peloton from Emilia-Romagna down towards Abruzzo for the end of the race. However, these stages will be far from the straightforward, rolling transitional stages we sometimes expect in Grand Tours.

Stage 4 starts in Imola, host of the World Championships in 2020, and heads to Urbino, via a brief traverse through San Marino. After starting flat, the final 50km takes in a category-2 climb and two category-3 climbs in what could be an exciting finish, with an uphill finale. On paper, this looks like a day where a punchy rider could win from a breakaway, but if we know anything from previous Giri, it’s that the GC riders will often get involved wherever possible.

Read more: Analysis: Annemiek van Vleuten still a level above in final Giro d’Italia Donne

The next day, which moves the race from Frontone to Foligno, is easier but still rolling, and any sprinters hoping to take advantage of the flat finish will likely find themselves with some tired legs. With an early category-3 climb and a rolling profile, this could also be a day that suits a strong breakaway group.

The first day in Abruzzo comes on stage 6, which is the longest day of the race at 155km, and also a very tough stage with almost constant climbing or descending. This could be a Classics-style day, with the non-climbers looking to make their last mark before the weekend, and the flat finish after a short climb looks ready-made for a small group battle.

Blockhaus climax and climb-heavy final day

With six days of racing under their belt already, the peloton still has two very tough days of racing to contend with on the final weekend, with two days of climbing that will decide - and blow apart - the general classification.

Stage 7 will be the race’s Queen stage, finishing atop the Blockhaus. The run-up to the famed climb is just as tough, though, starting off with some uncategorised climbing, before the Passo Lanciano, which is a shortened version of the Blockhaus climb, before the full climb to finish. The Lanciano climb is just shy of 16km in length, rising up to 1,310m of altitude, which should already draw out the key contenders from the rest.

There’s then a long descent and it’s straight back up, taking in the Lanciano section, plus 5.3km more up to Blockhaus for 20km of climbing and pitches over 10% gradient, topping out at 1,680m above sea level. This is a day for the pure climbers, and whoever wins here will almost certainly also be on the podium come the end of the race.

As the highest point in this year’s race, the Blockhaus will also host the Cima Alfonsina Strada - the women’s version of the Cima Coppi - named after the late Italian cyclist who took part in the men’s Giro d’Italia in 1924.

Read more: Demi Vollering: I’ve always wanted to ride Alpe d’Huez

Just like in this year’s Tour de France Femmes, there’s no ‘easier’ final stage, and the race will be very on until the final day, which features plenty of climbing and an uphill kick to the line.

Starting in Pescara on the Adriatic coast, the route heads inland, taking in the Forca di Penne and Castel del Monte climbs to take the race up above 1,300m again, before a ‘sprint’ at the 1,320m-high point at Santo Stefano di Sessano. From the intermediate sprint - where few sprinters are likely to be in contention - it’s downhill towards L’Aquila where it’s a short kick to the line.

This could suit a slightly less pure climber, but equally, it’s the final day, and the race will be on with podium spots, if not the pink jersey, still very much up for grabs.

All in all, the Giro d’Italia Women route for 2024 has something for everyone, including some very serious climbing to decide the GC. In the absence of Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten, the corsa rosa will see its first new winner since 2016, and whichever name is added to the history books, it’s sure to be one of a strong climber and canny racer who will thrive through everything this route throws up.

Giro d’Italia Women 2024 full route:

  • Stage 1: Brescia - Brescia (14.6km) (ITT)
  • Stage 2: Sirmione - Volta Mantovana (102km)
  • Stage 3: Sabbioneta - Toano (111km)
  • Stage 4: Imola - Urbino (133km)
  • Stage 5: Frontone to Foligno (111km)
  • Stage 6: San Bendetto del Tronto - Chieti (155km)
  • Stage 7: Lanciano - Blockhaus (123km)
  • Stage 8: Pescara - L’Aquila (109km)

For more about the 2024 Giro d'Italia Women, including latest news, key information and race history, visit our dedicated race hub.

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