Trofeo Binda preview. It’s time for the climbers

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Or maybe not? Looking at the race’s recent winners it’s Lizzie Armitstead (Deignan) twice and then Emma Johansson in 2014. Great riders for sure, but not exactly what one would call pure climbers. All right, Trofeo Binda might not be a true climbers’ race after all, but it’s not one for the sprinters for sure, as anyone would expect from a race in Lombardy, northern Italy. The 3rd round of the Women’s WorldTour certainly adds a very welcome turn of events after the gravel roads of Strade Bianche and the cobbled, almost flat parcours of Ronde van Drenthe.

The parcours

Two main climbs define the profile of the 131 kilometers race: Cunardo (roughly 4 km with an average gradient of 5%) and the main one from the final circuit around Cittiglio: Orino (3 km, 6% average gradient). There’s also the short hill of Casalzuigno that helps add some additional attrition to a race that may feel like some moderately hard World Championships. In fact, it’s pretty much like that: a perfect scenario to see a battle between the best climbers and the best classics specialists.

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Of course, every rider who wants to win Trofeo Binda needs to be a good descender as well. And it will be important to arrive with good legs to the finish line – its slightly uphill nature will be a tough test for everyone and might favour the strongest over the fastest on paper.

The favourites

Watch out for the current WWT leader Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5). She’s Italian, climbs and descends like the very best and knows how to win here (2013). As usual, sprint will be her weakness – she needs to arrive alone to succeed. Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) is a similar type of rider – a bold attacker, superb climber and perhaps slightly faster than Longo Borghini if she needs to sprint for the win.

Kasia Niewiadoma | Elisa Longo Borghini | Annemiek van Vleuten
Kasia Niewiadoma | Elisa Longo Borghini | Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) seems to be approaching the climbing form she showed in late 2016. If so, this is a perfect parcours for her, and can count on Amanda Spratt and Katrin Garfoot as a supportings teammates who are also able to find their own luck.

The powerful Boels-Dolmans squad may look less strong than they do in flatter races due to the absence of Megan Guarnier, but they still have the winner of the latest two editions, Lizzie Deignan, and the arguably best rider in the world at the moment, Anna van der Breggen. Their form is still a bit of a mystery but don’t rule them out.

No one is sure about Marianne Vos’ form either, but of course she’s Marianne Vos and that means she’s always a dangerous rider for her rivals, whether racing for herself or helping teammate Kasia Niewiadoma.

Other riders to watch are Claudia Lichtenberg (Wiggle-High5), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla), Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb), climber Flavia Oliveira (Lares-Waowdeals) and Canyon//SRAM’s Elena Cecchini, Alena Amialiusik and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot.

How to follow Trofeo Binda

There’s a Youtube live stream announced. And yes, it looks like it will be an actual moto following the action instead of the fixed cameras at the finish line we got last year. Thanks Rose Manley and Sarah Connolly for the updates on this!

Note that there will be some highlights of the junior race, Trofeo da Moreno – which is great of course.

Check the Twitter hashtag #TrBinda for updates on that as well as everything else related to the race.

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