The women’s peloton returns to Italy on Sunday for Trofeo Alfredo Binda in the second WorldTour race of the year, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
One of the longest-running races on the women’s calendar, Binda will celebrate the big 46 this year. The 141.8-kilometer northern Italian race is as beloved as it is aged, with countless pros citing it as a favorite for numerous reasons. The hilly course finishes with a descent to the finish, and the race can end with a solo breakaway, bunch sprint, and almost every scenario in between.
VeloNews checked in with some of them before they take to the Lombardian hills.
Why do you love Binda?
Mikayla Harvey (Canyon-SRAM): I live in Varese so all the roads are very familiar to me. I can’t believe I get to do a WorldTour race on my “home” roads. It’s not quite New Zealand, but Varese is basically my European home now. The course is unrelenting with no easy sections, which suits me as a rider. I think the course is very technical, I usually struggle with this. However, I know every descent and corner quite well so I don’t think this will be an issue for me.
Leah Thomas (Team Movistar): This race is often a little different than some of the other “hilly” classics — it often comes down to a reduced bunch sprint.
Audrey Cordon Ragot (Trek-Segafredo): I love this area which I know really well as I come often to Elisa’s place. It’s always a hard race where you can’t hide, and legs can’t lie.
Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank): For one, I just enjoy spending time in Italy, the food, the sunshine, the coffee! As for the race, it’s an unpredictable race. It can finish in a reduced bunch sprint, a small group, or a solo ride.
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo): I’ve had a lot of success there in the past. It’s a really nice circuit that lends itself to aggressive racing. Also the organizer is always really good, they’ve got a good history of women’s cycling and I think they always do a really good job.
Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM): I love Trofeo Binda because it’s a race where there is hardly any time for recovery. The climb in the circuit isn’t so long, but there is always action and overall the profile is very hard. It makes for an exciting race.
Talk about the tactics
Amialiusik: A lot of attacks, breakaways, and everyone fighting until the finish line. Someone who attacks and gets a gap on the last climb can hold on to the finish or it can come back and be a sprint. It’s very open.
Stephens: The race finishes up on a circuit. The circuit is about 20km and has one short steep hill and one longer hill. This is where the excitement begins. Each time through the steep hill lookout for the attacks and the fight to be in the moves.
Thomas: It is supposed to be incredibly cold and sleety this year, so those weather conditions can most definitely change things up. As always, it is a spring classic, so anything can happen, and that’s what makes this racing fun and exciting! You need to be in top shape, read the race well, but also have some luck on your side with no mechanicals, crashes, etc.
Harvey: I am sure many teams will be sending attacks off during the final loops. So, watch out on the punchy climb through Casalzuigno, and the climb up to Orino.
Deignan: I’m really looking forward to racing with Elisa Longo Borghini this year, she’s going to be racing in her Italian champion’s jersey and it’s really close to her home. So I’m expecting that she’ll be really excited, and it’s always fun to race with Elisa when she’s excited because it means there’s gonna be fireworks.
Who to watch?
Stephens: This will be a race where teams can be aggressive with multiple riders knowing that this course isn’t made for just one type of rider. We’ve seen climbers like Emma Pooley to sprinters like Coryn Rivera win this race.
Amialiusik: I am looking forward to show my best result at this race, and I am looking forward to race aggressive with my teammates. If you look at our roster, there’s a lot that we can do.
Harvey: Our team has a really strong line up for this race, especially with Kasia who won the 2018 edition. So watch out for some exciting racing. Action can happen anywhere on a course like Binda, however fans should get ready for some fireworks on the final loops.
Cordon Ragot: We faced a very strong SD Worx team since Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and we know that being outnumbered at the front is not an option. Elisa needs support to play the game against strong riders, and we’ll fight until we die.
Deignan: Like I said, I think Elisa Longo Borghini is going to be really motivated like most of the other Italians. It’s an important year, there’s not that many races where people can show what they’re capable of and people are of course thinking about Olympic selections, so I’d expect the Italians to be right up there.