Gaia Realini 🇮🇹

Gaia Realini 🇮🇹
Gaia Realini winning Stage 6 of La Vuelta Femenina 2023

Rider Type: Climber - Age: 21 - Weight/Height: 26.66 kg/m

Gaia's current Palmares

Gaia Realini, also known as the "pocket rocket", is an incredibly slender climbing machine that has broken onto the women's world tour cycling scene with panache. Recently she's shown her dramatic climbing ability by clutching third in the general classification (GC) after two massive final stages in the inaugural La Vuelta Femenina.

At only 21, we're incredibly excited to see her potential develop in the coming years. We break down some of her recent results and her future potential.

Oh Cyclocross.


La Vuelta Femenina

Realini skill was illustrated best on the final two days. Realini came into them covered in bandages from a fall earlier, and just adds to the impressiveness of the performances.

The penultimate stage of La Vuelta Femenina saw Realini cover the gap to Annemiek van Vleuten (AVV) after AVV broke away from the break after an intermediate sprint. This move in itself highlights that Realini isn't just a pure sprinter. Realini has some sheer power and spunk when necessary.

In the final 500 meters of the stage, Realini and AVV went head to head in the sprint and she managed to snag the victory by a few centimetres in the bike throw. And while she may have been drafting off AVV for the last thirty kilometers, it goes to show that she may be able to blossom into an incredible GC contender in the coming years if she can pick up time bonuses over her rivals in sprints for stage wins. Women's cycling, with shorter stage races, and generally less climbs (to be fair - more and more climbs are being integrated) the stage bonuses seconds are disproportionally important.

In stage the next day, the final, in a group of three with Vollering and AVV, Realini was the one to initiate the gap from AVV (and Vollering followed because she needed to gain 1:11' on AVV) on the final twelve kilometre climb. This ability to cause the gap is a strong indication that she's a better climber than AVV, and potentially on a good day, better than Vollering. But that's still up for debate.

Gaia Realini finishing second on Stage 7 of La Vuelta Femenina 2023

Best of all though was that Realini's chain dropped (we don't even think she was changing gears) at around five kilometres to go. Realini calmly replaced it and easily caught back up to Vollering and AVV after having to restart on a 15% gradient. We don't know about you, but attempting to restart and catch back up to two of the potentially faster women in the peloton terrifies us. Not for Realini apparently.

La Flèche Wallonne

Realini grabbed third on the one day Flemish classic known best as the race that all comes down to the final climb on the Mur de Huy. Some pundits think riders should just ride the Mur de Huy and skip the rest of the race 🙃

While we knew how strong a climber Realini was from the UAE tour, the third place illustrated confidence and drastic power she can apply in a relatively short time span. The startlist for La Flèche was supremely stacked, and the climb itself not incredibly long (where you'd expect Realini's lighter weight to excel).

We personally believe Realini's cyclocross background helped her here and that her punchiness should not be underrated.

Jabel Hafeet - UAE Tour

Jebel Hafeet is a supremely well known climb of the UAE Tour, with gradients 10% for a toal of 10.8km - 6.7%. Realini managed to snag second place easily and illustrated to the world that she was somebody to be reckoned with when it came to climbing.

Not only that, but the gaps she formed on the climb with teammate Elisa Longo Borghini were enough to rocket her into second in the GC battle, which she held onto until the end.

Realini and Longo Borghini take Stage 3 of the UAE Tour


Currently Realini is with Trek Segafredo, with the main leader in the team being Amanda Spratt. The reason why Realini was so far back in GC of La Vuelta Femenina before stages six and seven was because the team waited for Spratt after Spratt had a mechanical and the team worked to bring her back.

After her recent performance in La Vuelta, expect her to be given more free reign, and potentially be the main GC leader for tours that contain a large amount of climbing instead of Spratt.

We're also thinking that she'll get scooped up by another team that will build a team around her. UAE has a large budget and we wouldn't be surprised if she signed with them in the coming years


Realini has shown she can perform remarkably on any difficult climb. Realini's slender frame allows her to perform better on the steeper gradients, and climbs of longer distances. But don't discount her from shorter punchy climbs given her cyclocross background.

And after outsprinting AVV, we're sure she's going to build into a fantastic general classfication contender.


Realini greatest strength is also her greatest weakness. Her slender build. Days that have heavy crosswinds (there was a recent day in La Vuelta) where she doesn't have a team to protect her can see her get blown around easily, causing her to work harder than some of her other competitors.

It's also the case, that since the majority of women's tour races and rouleur races and have a large number of flat kilometers she needs to be able to output a decent amount of base initial power, which is always a challenge for lighter riders. This is also the case why the best male GC riders aren't extremly light, because it's too inefficient for them to perform well on the flat.


As women's tour races begin to develop from being basic rouleur type up and downs, to feature more climbs and esoteric map features we expect Realini to continue to do better and better. Not only will Realini develop (she's only 21!) but the stages should begin to more suit her climbing prowess.

Keep your eyes on her.