In a solo move redolent of that which won her last year’s Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, Kasia Niewiadoma won Sunday’s third Women’s WorldTour race in Italy. Riding for Canyon/SRAM, the former Polish champion attacked on the final climb through the wooded hills of Lombardy to win Trofeo Alfredo Binda Commune di Cittiglio.
Behind her world champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) won the sprint for second place, with 2012 winner Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) placing third, both of them 22 seconds down.
Before cresting the climb Niewiadoma’s advantage had been under threat from Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott), but the Australian’s descending skills could not match 23-year-old Niewiadoma’s, and she was caught.
With a small group trying to catch the leader, local rider and Italian champion Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) made a vain effort to bridge the gap, and with two of Niewiadoma’s team mates in the group, the chase was unable to come on terms.
The win marks a stellar start to the German team’s season, with Brit Hannah Barnes and Alexis Ryan also taking wins to add to the team’s second places in the two preceding WorldTour races so far this season.
How it Happened
The first 40km of the 131km race were uneventful and though some tried, no breaks were able to get clear. The four intermediate sprints of the race all came in these opening kilometres, as did the first main climb of the day, to Cunardo.
Climbed only once, this ascent came on an early loop of 37km, which came after the peloton had completed an opening stretch from the start in Taino. With that loop compete, the race covered four shorter ones, each of just under 18km, and it was the two climbs on this loop that proved decisive.
On the first of these world champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) lifted the pace, and by the time they reached the top in Casale the bunch had split in three.
Though it re-formed, from then on the die was cast, with each successive climb splitting the group, tiring the legs.
The first concerted attack came on the next lap, on the ascent to Orino where Niewiadoma’s team mate and former Belorussian champion Alena Amialiusik and Ane Santesteban (Alé-Cippolini) went clear. British rider Elinor Barker, riding for Wiggle-High5 went after them, but was never able to get on terms.
When the leading pair reached the finish town of Cittiglio with two laps left to ride, the duo had 40 seconds advantage, with Barker dangling between them and the peloton led by Boels-Dolmans and Movistar.
An attack half way round the penultimate lap saw former US champion Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) and Movistar’s Polish rider, Małgorzata Jasinska bridge across. With the American doing much of the work, the pair caught the leaders on the climb to Orino.
However, it was the final ascent to Casale where the race was won when a group attacked the remainder of the bunch, bridging to the leaders, leaving 12 riders to battle for the win.
Earlier in the day Pfeiffer Goergi, representing Great Britain won the junior race in a two up sprint. Despite leading the Jade Wiel into the final straight, Georgi was too quick for the French rider wing what was first round of the Junior Nations Cup, run on a similar course to the elites.
The Women’s WorldTour continues on Thursday with round four being the one day Three Days of De Panne. Starting in Bruges, the 151km course is largely flat so organisers will be hoping the forecast high winds materialise to prevent a bunch sprint.
Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio, (131km)
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, in 3-32-54
2. Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, at 22s
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals
4. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM, all at ST
6. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra) Canyon-SRAM, at 23s
7. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervélo-Bigla, at ST
8. Karol-ann Canuel (Can) Boels-Dolmans, at 25s
9. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10.Elisa Longo-Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5, all at ST