Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini won a stunning edition of Trofeo Binda with a 28km solo move in the hills of Lombardy on Sunday.
Longo Borghini made her move after an excellent tactical display from her Trek-Segafredo team, taking the squad's first WorldTour win of 2021.
The race concluded with four 17.6km laps, each of them taking in a climb to the village of Orino and it was here she made the winning move on the back of one from team-mate Tayler Wiles.
First, Canyon-SRAM's Kasia Niewiadoma attacked, drawing out a small group, before the Italian launched to victory.
The chasing group included Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), and with the four-time winner present, the four other chasers were unwilling to commit to the pursuit. This allowed Longo Borghini to extended her lead to over a minute as she crossed the top of the climb for the final time.
Vos won the sprint for second place, with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) coming in third.
Form team of the season so far, SDWorx, was notable for their absence, missing the key moves and missing even the pursuing group, their top rider Ashleigh Moolman Pasio finishing 14th, 2-46 back.
How it happened
Taking place in the hills on the eastern shores of Lake Maggiore, north of Milan, the second race of the Women’s WorldTour is always a spectacular one, producing any number of scenarios.
This year starting in the village of Cocquio Trevisago, the peloton raced a 27km loop before crossing the finish line in Cittiglio, before tackling a long, 44.4km followed by four laps of a closing circuit.
This makes for an increasingly lumpy race, but one where a selection is generally made, though only if the hills are raced hard. The final 7.5 km comprised of a fast, open descent and the long straight run to the final 90-degree right turn before the final 250m uphill finish straight.
Though the race had moved to a new start town it followed the formula of recent editions, with plenty of attacking but with high pace and nothing able to get away until after the first visit to the finish line in Cittiglio.
Just after this, former world champion Marta Bastianelli (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) attacked and won an intermediate sprint and took a 20 second lead on the bunch. However, by the time she reached the next climb she was caught, the peloton re-forming.
The climb led to a flurry of attacks. First Liv Racing’s promising Dutch climber, Paulina Rooijakkers made a move and soon built a lead of 20 seconds over the top. However, she was caught and Audrey Cordon-Ragot, making the first of Trek-Segafredo’s tactical moves, got away as behind her the bunch exploded.
However, still no one was able to stay away and the French champion was caught as the race entered the closing 90km. More attacks came and went until on the first of the short circuits Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing) got away on the race’s signature climb to Orino, she was joined by Tatiana Guderzo (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) and the two rode the rest of the lap together.
However, next time around former Italian champion Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) bridged, leading across the top of the Orino climb, before the leading group of three was joined by an ever aggressive Cordon-Ragot.
By the time they reached the line with 30km to go they had been caught and another group headed up the road, with numerous further moves making for a chaotic and exciting finish.
A series of moves on the Orino climb from Trek-Segafredo set Longo Borghini up, the Italian champion’s savage attack shredding the chasing group and she led over the top 25km to go.
Only five women were able to chase, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) joined by Soraya Paladin (Liv Racing), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Mavi García (AléBTC Ljubljana), and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) chasing hard.
Trofeo Binda Comune di Cittiglio, Cocquio Trevisago - Cittiglio (141.8km)
1. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-42
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
4. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
5. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Liv Racing
6. Mavi García (Esp) Alé-BTC Ljubljana all at same time
7. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service, at 2-46
8. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing
9. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM, all at same time
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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