U.S. rider Katheryn Curi-Mattis is unable to defend her leader’s jersey
By Fred Dreier
The world’s premier female road racers will take to the tarmac this Monday, March 24th, for the second round of the 2008 UCI women’s World Cup, held at Italy’s famed Trofeo Alfredo Binda race, just north of Varese.
The race marks the first time since 2005 that Italy has hosted a round of the women’s World Cup. The undulating 121km course includes two long and three short loops, and will run on roads just north of the route of this year’s UCI world championships.
The 2008 edition marks the 36th running of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda event.
Absent from the starting line will be current World Cup jersey holder Katheryn Curi-Mattis of Danville, California. Curi-Mattis broke her collarbone during the prologue of the Tour of New Zealand, when a strong gust of wind blew the 33-year-old off of her bike. She still has several weeks of recovery time remaining.
Curi-Mattis, the 2005 national road champion, took the opening round of the series at the Geelong World Cup in Australia on February 24 in a two-up sprint with Aussie Emma Rickards (Cervelo-Lifeforce).
Curi-Mattis, who rides for the California Bay Area-based Webcor Builders squad, won that race after spending 75km off the front. The victory made Curi-Mattis only the second American woman to claim a World Cup victory (Dede Barry won rounds 1998 and 2004).
Curi-Mattis would have headlined the United States’ national team. The squad will send a five-woman squad of Lauren Franges, Alison Powers, Carmen McNellis, Chrissy Ruitler and Megan Gaurnier.
A handful of other Americans will compete in the race — Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo-Lifeforce), Kori Seehafer (Menikini-Sella Italia), Tina Pic (Vrienden Van Het Platteland) and Kristen Lasasso (Specialized).
The race holds special importance for Powers, Seehafer and Pic, who are all members of the U.S. Olympic Long team. Any of the three can punch their ticket to Beijing with a top-three finish in the race. Armstrong, the silver medalist in the time trial at the 2007 UCI world championships, already earned her spot with that result.
Other riders to watch include Brit Nicole Cooke (Halfords Bikehut), Italian Fabiana Luperini (Menikini-Sella Italia), German Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nurnberger) and Aussie Oenone Wood (High Road).