We’ll just refer to it by its more familiar moniker, the Giro Rosa, if you don’t mind. The fact that this race always clashes with the Tour de France does it no favours whatsoever publicity-wise. The Tour got moved to September. And the Giro Rosa? Exactly the same... Don’t get us started.
No matter. We have assembled a top panel to assess all nine stages and offer their thoughts on the likely winners.
Our Andy and Ben are joined by two experts in the field: Rouleur contributor Olivia Kaferly in Switzerland, and commentator and Ceratizit-WNT press officer Hannah Walker, who has the advantage of being on the ground in Italy.
We have a juicy team time trial to kick off proceedings. Who’s got the legs for it?
Stage 1 Grosseto – Grosseto (16km TTT)
Équipe Paule Ka Women’s teams unfortunately do not get that many opportunities to take part in TTTs, so the winner of this first stage seems far from guaranteed. Many teams are sprinkled with very strong time trialists, but no one seems dominant in the discipline these days. So I’m going with Équipe Paule Ka. With riders like Marlen Reusser, Leah Thomas, Emma Cecilie Norsgaard and Lizzy Banks to power them on the flat Grosseto course, I think they have at least as good a chance as any team on the startline.
Canyon-SRAM The team come to the Giro Rosa with a very strong line-up. Four of the six riders are former team time trial world champions from 2018; Hannah Barnes, Lisa Klein, Elena Cecchini and Alena Amialiusik. They’ve also got aero gains aficionado Dan Bigham here, which shows to me that they mean business. They’ll be aiming to repeat last year’s success, taking the maglia Rosa on day one in a TTT.
Boels-Dolmans The days of their dominance of the sport may be gone, but this line-up has some heavy TT hitters in it and they've largely ridden together for a long time, so I'm going for the soon to be renamed team to go out in a blaze of TTT glory, narrowly pipping Sunweb.
Boels-Dolmans With not even a bridge to climb, this is one for the powerhouses. I think Boels-Dolmans will just shade it with Van der Breggen, Van den Broek-Blaak, D'Hoore and Pieters in the engine room.