3 months ago by Oskar Scarsbrook

Human Powered Health lines up for the Giro d’Italia Donne

Barbara Malcotti previews her home tour

Human Powered Health is in Italy for the longest stage race on the Women’s WorldTour, the Giro d’Italia Donne from June 30 to July 9. Prior to the launch of the Tour de France Femmes, the Giro was the premiere and most prestigious tour on the calendar. With the 2023 route, ‘Donne’ seeks to reclaim this mantle with stage profiles that encourage plenty of frenetic and attacking racing. 

Starting in Tuscany, the route curves upward through the northwest of Italy via Emilia Romagna, Piemonte and Liguria before a rest day. This is followed by two long closing stages on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. 


The team returns to the race for the first time since 2021 and this time will be led by a local, Italian climber Barbara Malcotti.  

“I’m feeling great,” the 23-year-old said ahead of her third participation in the race. “It’s time to show up at my home race with this team and thank them for all the opportunities they have given to do different types of races.” 

Malcotti recently had a very impressive national championship, finishing fifth and competing throughout in a small breakaway with winner Elisa Longo Borghini, Gaia Realini (both Lidl-Trek), Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) and Marta Cavalli (FDJ – SUEZ).

Eyes on the Giro.

“Nationals unlocked my brain after a few bad periods,” she says. “I’m more confident about my capacity and it’s easier to believe in myself now.”

Malcotti enters the race in good climbing form having finished tenth in the Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia and then eleventh in the curtailed CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées. In the build-up to the Giro, she has been focusing holistically on herself by putting equal effort into training her mind and body. She’s also prioritizing nutrition and recovery ahead of a week and a half on the road.  

“I did two altitude training camps in Livigno,” she says of her preparation. “Nutrition in this period is essential and I have planned everything with my nutritionist. In January, she fixed some goals with me and made a plan that put me in the best condition every day to train hard for a few days without the risk of injury.” 

She supplements this nutritional plan with Thorne, most notably
Magnesium Bisglycinate, Amino Complex, Beta Alanine-SR and Multi-Vitamin Elite, three products she likes to take in the morning. 

Thorne are helping us with lots of products to be sure that we don’t get sick, and can recover well on the road during these races where there’s a lot of moving around to hotels before and after stages,” she explained. “In the end, mental preparation is the most important thing. I train my mind to survive through hard efforts with some visualization and self-talk.” 

The climber forged by the Dolomite range is also happy to count on the experience of Audrey Cordon-Ragot – who races her eighth Giro – and says that this gives her another confidence boost.  

Malcotti listens to Cordon-Ragot.

As well as Cordon-Ragot, Malcotti is joined by stage hunter
Nina Buijsman, sprinter Daria Pikulik all-rounders Marit Raaijmakers and Lily Williams, and fellow mountain goat Eri Yonamine. An eclectic lineup of skills that reflects the aggressive nature of the parcours.

“There are lots of different thoughts about the route,” Malcotti explains. “Some people say it’s not super hard but others are saying that it will be. I agree with the ones that say that it will be hard, but I really like the route, particularly stages 2 and 7, with their amazing start and finish locations.” 

Dive deeper into the route.


Giro d’Italia Donne stage by stage

6/30 Stage 1 | Chianciano – Chianciano (4.4km) ITT
The Giro kicks off with a time trial around the streets of Chianciano. Short and technical, the route is the ideal length for our track riders and team pursuit experts Marit Raaijmakers and Lily Williams. 

7/1 Stage 2 | Bagno a Ripoli – Marradi (102.1km) Rolling

While the time trial will show us who is ready to race, stage 2 immediately brings the contenders to the fore. The 9.9km at 5.8% closing climb tops out with just under 20 kilometers to race, so expect a reduced group of favorites battling for victory. 

7/2 Stage 3 | Formigine – Modena (118.2km) Flat

The first chance for our sprinter Daria Pikulik to get among the results, the Polish speedster will feel at home with the finish on the Parco di Piazza d’Arni outdoor velodrome in Modena.

7/3 Stage 4 | Fidenza – Borgo Val di Toro (134km) Rolling

Back into the hills on stage 4, if the favorites really want to turn up the pace, they can, but equally, if used as a more transitional stage, we could end in a group finish in one of Italy’s wine-producing centers.

7/4 Stage 5 | Salassa – Ceres (105.6km) Mountains

With 2,629 meters of vertical gain, it’s safe to say that stage 5 is this year’s ‘Queen stage’. Much of that climbing comes right at the start of the day in the form of the category one Passo del Lupo, before the hilly road on the way to Ceres. You probably can’t win the race here, but you can certainly lose it. 

7/5 Stage 6 | Canelli – Canelli (104.4km) Uphill finish

In general, stage 6 is a calmer day after the mountains, but the uphill finish to Canelli will favor puncheur-style riders over sprinters and pure climbers. 

7/6 Stage 7 | Albenga – Alassio (109.1km) Rolling + uphill finish

Finishing on the coast, up at the stunning Santuario della Guardia, if stage 5 was the Queen stage, stage 7 is the race maker, with riders no doubt emptying the reserves before the Friday rest day.  

7/7 Rest day

7/8 Stage 8 | Nuoro – Sassari (125.7km) Rolling + uphill finish
After using the rest day to travel to Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, full of history and stunning roads to race on, the peloton should be relatively fresh (or at least fresher) and ready to tackle a rolling route before an uphill drag to Sassari. 

7/9 Stage 9 | Sassari – Olbia (126.9km) Rolling

The 2023 Giro d’Italia ends in Olbia, on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, the premiere tourist destination, and where the fight for pink will come to a close via a rolling route that is the longest of the race at 127km. 

Giro d’Italia Donne roster
Nina Buijsman – 2nd participation
Audrey Cordon-Ragot – 8th participation
Barbara Malcotti – 3rd participation
Daria Pikulik – Debut
Marit Raaijmakers – 2nd participation
Lily Williams – Debut
Eri Yonamine – 5th participation

Photo: GettySport


How to watch


Catch all the action from Italy on Eurosport/GCN+ with broadcasts starting each day from around 7 am CST / 14:00 CET.