Closes at
See all

Let the battle begin: Kopecky takes on Labous, Longo Borghini and Realini


From 2017 to the present, the Giro d’Italia Women has consistently been won by either Anna van der Breggen or Annemiek Van Vleuten. For the first time, in 2024, neither one of them will compete in the race, as both have hung up their bikes (although van der Breggen is rumored to be considering a resounding comeback next year), which means the throne is vacant and no athlete at the start has won this race before.

She has not won a major stage race yet, but Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) has conquered pretty much everything she could win in her career and is a serious candidate to be the top GC favourite for this first edition of the RCS Sport-branded Giro d’Italia Women. Over the past two years she has improved dramatically on the climbs, as evidenced by her 2nd place in last season’s Tour de France Femmes, something very few saw coming. Considering the racecourse of this year’s Giro, she can aim to do well in every stage except the totally flat ones. What’s more, the Belgian star will have a really strong team supporting her, with New Zealand’s Niamh Fisher-Black, already 3 times in the Top 10 at the Giro d’Italia and the team’s best climber, and the experienced Elena Cecchini and Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak, who have raced dozens of stage races.

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL will be firmly behind Juliette Labous for the GC, a very solid and consistent athlete who only lacks that big win to join the absolute elite of this sport. Last year she closed second overall, this season, without Van Vleuten, she can be a real frontrunner.

One of the best-equipped teams seems to be Lidl-Trek, with Italian national champion Elisa Longo Borghini, twice on the final podium, and Gaia Realini, third in 2023, dreaming of bringing an Italian back to the top step of the podium 16 years after Fabiana Luperini’s victory in 2008. The American lineup exudes experience from all pores, with Lizzie Deignan and Lucinda Brand, two girls with 71 career wins combined, ready to work hard for their teammates. Speaking of teams with major ambitions, also watch out for Canyon/SRAM Racing, which will count on young Australian Neve Bradbury, one of the most improved athletes this year, and the always solid Elise Chabbey and Soraya Paladin.

She hasn’t had a lucky start to the season due to some physical troubles, but Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ), who hasn’t missed a Giro since 2017 and has four Top 10 finishes, has shown some encouraging signs recently, even if she is not yet the WWT star she is used to being. In the French lineup, also watch out for Grace Brown and Vittoria Guazzini, both a potential GC threat.

Among the Italians, Erica Magnaldi and Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) are also looking to be protagonists, while among the Spaniards, 40-year-old Mavi Garcia (Liv AlUla Jayco) – who won’t be in the Spanish jersey for the first time since 2020 – is eager to prove that age is just a number. Also watch out for Ane Santesteban and Usoa Ostolaza (Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi). In terms of final GC, then, Kim Cadzow (EF Education-Cannondale), Liane Lippert (Movistar), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Fenix-Deceuninck), Ella Wyllie (Liv AlUla Jayco), and the outstanding cyclocross rider Fem Van Empel (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) should definitely be kept an eye on.

In the sprints, on the other hand, a battle is expected between fellow national teammates and friends Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) and Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ), who count two stage wins each at the Corsa Rosa, with Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) definitely trying to join the tussle.

Discover the Stage 1 (Brescia-Brescia TUDOR ITT) start order

Click here to discover the start order of Stage 1.

Follow us
on social media
top sponsor
official partners
official suppliers
official licensees