Giro Donne 2005
1st July - 10th July
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The 16th Giro Donne takes place from 1 July - 10 July. It is the premier stage race on the women's calendar and competition will be fierce. The 2005 race is based in the north of Italy. The format is a couple of days in an area, then a 'transfer stage' to another area, another couple of days and then moving on again.
There will be riders dreading stages 7 and 8 - these are mountainous stages. Stage 7 is an individual time trial in the Swiss Alps, whilst Stage 8 brings the riders back to Italy over mountain passes. The remainder of the race is relatively flat, although there are category 2 and 3 climbs included early on to kick-off the climber's jersey competition.
With 2004 defending Champion (Nicole Cooke) and her team withdrawn from the race, (see preview), the race is wide open for a new 'maglia rosa' to be crowned.
Stage start times are local - Central European, which is 1 hour ahead of UK, 9 - 11 hours ahead of USA and 8 hours behind Australia
Prologue - Friday 1 July - 20:00hrs
San Vendemiano - Individual time trial 1.7km
The riders will start outside of the Mayoral offices in San Vendemiano. The course is a rectangular shape, with 4 right-hand corners to negotiate. There is a slight rise on this otherwise flat course before the second corner.
Stage 1 - Saturday 2 July - 12:00hrs
San Vendemiano - Caerano Di San Marco 100.8km
The stage runs through flatlands for the first 30km, before touching on the false-flats of the Montello, on a small circuit of 7.5km, which is covered 4 times. Then comes a final tour of the area, 35km long, which includes the 3km climb of the Col Mostaccin - which is only 6km from the finish.
Stage 2 - Sunday 3 July - 12:00hrs
Caerano Di San Marco - Melara 122km
Listed by the organisers as a "transfer stage" the whole day is flat and heads Southwest to Melara, which is the race's home for the next 3 days.
Stage 3 - Monday 4 July - 11:30hrs
Bergantino - Chiogga 129.4km
This stage heads Northeast, again along the flat. The stage finish is at coastal Chiogga
Stage 4 - Tuesday 5 July - 12:00hrs
Castelmassa - Ceneselli 118.2km
A strange stage - the start ad finish are just 5km apart.... the stage distance is 118km - in a huge, flat loop along the banks of the river. Another flat stage, apart from a couple of small rises.
Stage 5 - Wednesday 6 July - 12:00hrs
Castiglione D/S - Castiglione D/S 111km
Three laps of a 37km course will introduce the riders to some small climbs in the l'Alto Mantovano region
Stage 6 - Thursday 7 July - 12:00hrs
Ciriť - San Francesco Al Campo 94.2km
There will be some nervous riders today - the race faces its first real climbs of any significance. On a small 16.7km circuit which is covered twice, there are 2 third category climbs, then the race covers a 30.4km circuit twice, which includes a third category climb and a second category climb.
Stage 7 - Friday 8 July - 13:30hrs
Naters - Blaten 7.6km Individual time trial (Switzerland)
A 7.6km climb against the clock. The riders will start at minute intervals, until the final 10, which will start at 2 minutes apart. Starting order will be reverse GC. The average gradient for the climb is 6%. This stage is held entirely in Switzerland.
Stage 8 - Saturday 9 July - 11:30hrs
Brig - Domodossola 69.6km
A return to Italy - over the roads which climb for 23km at an average of 9%. A first category climb is included on the stage. Domodossola lies at the end of a descent which is about 20km long.
Stage 9 - Sunday 10 July - 12:00hrs
Varese - Milano 103.8km
The finale - a flat ride from the popular lakeside town of Varese into Milan. Once they arrive in Milan, there are 6 laps of a 5.2km circuit before the final "arrivo" of the 2005 Giro Donne.
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