Katarzyna Niewiadoma won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda with a blistering solo attack in the final kilometers on Sunday in Cittiglio, Italy.

Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda with a blistering solo attack in the final 10 kilometers of the race on Sunday in Cittiglio, Italy. The Pole was able to hold off a powerful chasing group in the final kilometers and take the victory in horrific conditions. World champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) was the best of the rest to finish second with Marianne Vos (WM3) rounding out the podium.

A daring four-rider breakaway, which included American Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), was brought back at the beginning of the final lap of the 17-kilometer circuit around Cittiglio and set the stage for an intense finale. Many riders had a go off the front, but nothing stuck until Niewiadoma launched at the bottom of the tough climb on the circuit. The climb is short, but does get considerably steep in sections. Italian national road champion Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) attempted to follow Niewiadoma, but was unable to latch onto her wheel.

The chasing group, which contained many of the top favorites, was able to see Niewiadoma as they crested the top of the climb, but it was a fast descent to the finish from the top. Only in the final couple kilometers did the road finally flatten out.

Niewiadoma powered to the finish to claim the third stop on the 2018 Women’s WorldTour calendar. She also leads the Women’s WorldTour standings due to her second place at Strade Bianche and standings the leader at the start of the day, Anna van der Breggan (Boels-Dolmans), not competing on Sunday.

“My victory today was due to an amazing team,” Niewiadoma said after the finish. “It’s been another really hard day on the bike. From the start, it was raining and the conditions were tough. On the descents and sharp corners you really needed to pay extra attention to the road. We stayed alert and attentive throughout the race as a team.

“I can say on behalf of my team that we stayed in control of the race no matter what other teams were doing. We stayed calm and didn’t panic. With the others doing so much work I could just conserve energy and wait for my time. It’s amazing that we were able to put our team plan into practice and to win the race, I’m super super happy for this. I just want to go see my teammates now and give them a big hug.”

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The majority of the route for Trofeo Alfredo Binda takes place on the roads around the city of Cittiglio. After starting in Traino, the peloton traveled 21 kilometers to Cittiglio. Once in the race’s adopted home city, the riders tackled a large 37-kilometer loop, before completing four laps of a smaller 17-kilometer circuit. The race was a total of 131 kilometers.

The local laps included the Orino climb, which has become the stable of the Italian classic. The climb is often where the key attacks in the race are made. The weather would also play a factor, as it rained throughout the majority of the three-plus hour race.

Many riders attacked throughout the opening couple of hours of the race, but nothing threatening stuck until Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) and Ane Santesteban (Ale-Cipollini) got away on the second time up the Orino climb with just over 40 kilometers to go. Elinor Barker (Wiggle-High5) bridged to the leading duo, but would be dropped from the lead group after the descent of the climb.

As the leading duo’s gap approached the one-minute mark, Boels-Dolmans went to the front of the peloton and set an incredibly fast pace. With Orino climb on the horizon for the penultimate time, Guarnier and Malgorzata Jasinska (Movistar) escaped the peloton. They made the junction to the leaders on the descent of the climb to create an extremely dangerous four-rider breakaway.

Team Sunweb and Canyon-SRAM chased hard in the peloton and were able to bring back the leading quartet with under 15 kilometers to go.

On the Orino climb for the final time, the pace was high in the reduced peloton. Niewiadoma made her move on the lower slopes of the climb and nobody was able to follow her acceleration. She went over the top with roughly a 20-second lead over the peloton. Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott) had managed to also get away from the peloton, but went over the top of the climb stuck between the two groups. She was reeled in by the peloton on the descent.

Niewiadoma emphatically took the third race of the 2018 Women’s WorldTour in solo fashion. Two of the three Women’s WorldTour races this year have in fact been won solo, as Van der Breggen won Strade Bianche with an attack in the final 10 kilometers. The second round, the Ronde van Drenthe, finished in a sprint with Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) the victor.

The Women’s WorldTour will take on the cobblestones of Belgium for the next three rounds, beginning with Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde on Thursday, March 22. Gent-Wevelgem follows on March 25 with the Tour of Flanders on April 1 bringing a close to the cobbled classics.

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