The Women’s WorldTour (WWT) returns to Italy for the third round of racing at Trofeo Alfredo Binda Sunday, March 19. Named after the famous Italian racer who won five editions of the Giro d’Italia and three world championships in the 1920s and ’30s, Alfredo Binda is the sole WWT event without an accompanying men’s race this spring. Wiggle-High5’s Elisa Longo Borghini remains in the WWT leader’s jersey after her fourth place at Ronde van Drenthe, while Boels-Dolmans now leads the team competition.
Trofeo Alfredo Binda could easily have the same type of small group breakaway finish that we’ve seen in both WWT events so far this year. The composition of that small group, however, is a bit less predictable. You can bet the top-four teams (Boels-Dolmans, Wiggle-High5, Team Sunweb, Orica-Scott) will be represented in the group, but crafty racers from smaller teams could mix things up at the front as well.
The race’s 42nd edition features the same route as last year with 131 kilometers of undulating terrain and four trips up the peloton-splitting Orino climb. The decisive hill is just three kilometers long but hits 10-percent gradients in places, enough to split the field by the fourth round.
Riders at the front of the race over final Orino ascent will have just over seven kilometers of mostly downhill and rolling terrain to battle for position into the finish. A powerful climber and time trialist like Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) could escape for a solo victory in this final stretch of racing. But if it comes down to a sprint — from a large or small lead group — look to racers who excel on tough finishes for the win, as the last 500 meters are slightly uphill.
Want to watch cycling’s top women battle it out in the third WWT event of the year? You’re in luck: Trofeo Alfredo Binda will broadcast the race live through its website here >>
Live coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. Eastern).
Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb)
Van Dijk split the field last week at Ronde van Drenthe after charging the final ascent up the VAMberg and escaped from the field on the descent. The world champion time trial specialist is no stranger to solo efforts, but an organized Boels-Dolmans and the long final 30-kilometer stretch proved too much for van Dijk to stay away. Alfredo Binda, however, has just seven kilometers of racing after the final Orino climb, and most of it is downhill. If she can push the pace over the top again, Team Sunweb could win its first WWT race of the season.
Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
Recovered from her early season sickness, van der Breggen had a strong race last week but was put on blocking duty with her teammate and eventual race winner Amalie Dideriksen up the road. The Olympic gold medalist thrives on the short, steep spring classics climbs like the Orino and will be hard to beat in the slightly uphill sprint.
Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM)
Cecchi proved she has the power to tackle sharp grades with the peloton’s best as she crested the VAMberg in the lead group last weekend. The Italian road champion has a quick sprint as well and will be dangerous if she’s anywhere near the front at Alfredo Binda. “I love racing in Cittiglio because it’s an Italian race, it’s a big race, and quite hard for this part of the season,” Cecchini said. “The profile reflects my kind of races: up, down and where you have to have a bit of everything.”
Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
Longo Borghini will be out to double-up on her WWT Italian wins after out-climbing the competition at Strade Bianche. She could shatter the field on the Orino climb, but can she stay clear to the finish? Alfredo Binda is just a few kilometers from her hometown, so the Italian racer will have some extra motivation to snag another podium. “It’s a nice race of course, and everybody knows I like it because it’s almost on my home soil,” Longo Borghini said. “This year I will have the Women’s WorldTour jersey, which is a plus for me, and it’s very important to be in Italy with the jersey that I actually conquered in Italy. So it will be extra motivation.”
Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling)
Vos doesn’t have the same snappy climbing legs of years past, at least not yet. She struggled to make the lead group over the VAMberg last week but looked ready to chase and bridge the final gap. Without much help from the chase group, she was left to race it for minor placings. If Vos can build on her form and make it over the top of the Orino close to the leaders, she’ll be deadly on the descent and the sprint finish.
WWT rankings update
Longo Borghini holds onto her lead in the WWT competition after a fourth-place finish at Ronde van Drenthe. She has a sizable 35-point lead over Sunweb’s Lucinda Brand and Borghini looks to increase that lead, as Brand will sit out Alfredo Binda.
1 . (1*) Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) – 190 points
2. (4) Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) – 155 points
3. (10) Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM) – 122 points
4. (not ranked) Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) – 120 points
5. (5) Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) – 120 points
The WWT team competition saw a shakeup after Boels-Dolmans returned to dominance, finishing with five riders in the top 15 at Ronde van Drenthe. Boels takes the lead with 281 points (moving up from fourth place) and knocks Wiggle-High5 and Orica-Scott both down one spot to second and third, respectively.
1. (4*) Boels Dolmans – 281 points
2. (1) Wiggle-High5 – 260 points
3. (2) Orica-Scott – 195 points
4. (5) Team Sunweb – 175 points
5. (3) WM3 Pro Cycling – 148 points
*: Ranking after first WWT event.