Marianne Vos opened her 2019 account, winning an exciting edition of the Trofeo Binda in Italy on Sunday.
A winner of the race north of Milan on three provious occasions, Vos out-sprinted a small group of seven other riders, with Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) second and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) third.
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The final 10 kilometres had been hugely tense with the eight woman final breakaway escaping over the top of the race’s closing climb, but with Vos present it did not settle, no one wanting to go the line with her.
Attack followed attack, but none were able to make a meaningful gap, while behind them Sunweb led a concerted chase. Riding for 2017 winner, US champion Coryn Rivera, the they used their remaining riders to support her and entered the final kilometre just seven seconds down.
However, Vos had her CCC-Liv team mate, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio with her, and the South African worked hard to successfully hold the chasers off, with the majority of the chasing group finishing less than ten seconds down.
The race in the hills west of Lake Maggiore, used to be known as a climber’s race but in recent years larger groups have crested the final climb, 7.3km from the line, opening the race up.
A clear indication of the development within the women’s sport, the race remains perpetually exciting with a wide range of riders able to affect the result.
The event also hosts the opening round of the Junior Women’s Nations Cup, which has previously been a happy hunting ground for British riders. This year British junior road champion Amelia Sharpe narrowly missed out on a podium spot, sprinting to fourth place.
How it happened
The 131.1km race started not far from the shores of Lake Maggiore, north of Milan, in the village of Taino and within six kilometres tracks were pinging off the front of the 132 woman bunch.
The speed of the peloton was so high nothing was allowed to go clear though, and the race was set to be one of attrition with the selections being made from behind.
The race consisted of one long opening loop into the tree clad hills, followed by four shorter circuits over the races’s two signature climbs of Casalzuigno and Orino.
On the long loop the short steep climb to Cunardo served to split the race, with a large group of around 60 women emerging. Then, on the ensuing undulations, a group of eight managed to get away, though with 90km still to go they were soon caught and Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo) escaped solo, soon building a lead of 45 seconds.
As the leader passed the finish line for the second of six times, Diana Peñuela (Alé-Cippolini) and Mikayla Harvey (Bigla) attacked the bunch attempting to bridge to Wiles, who by then had only 30 seconds lead. However all they succeeded in doing was dragging the bunch up to the leader, and the race re-formed on the climb to Orino.
Half way up, and with 62km to go, for the second Women’s WorldTour race in succession, Mitchelton-Scott’s Grace Brown attacked the and gained a lead of 45 seconds, she was chased by Bigla’s Leah Thomas, though the latter failed to get on terms.
The next time round Brown crested the climb alone, but with a small advantage and she was eventually caught on the descent.
Each of the successive climbs to Orino whittled the peloton slightly and it was a smaller bunch from which former mountain bike world champion Jolanda Neff (Trek-Segafredo) attacked on the descent.
However, as the race hotted up, she was caught by a group of less than 50 when the race crossed the finish line 10 minutes ahead of the fastest schedule with two 17.8km laps to ride.
The penultimate Orino climb brought more pressure from the leading bunch, but it was on the final ascent that the winner emerged from the chaos of continued attacks.
Trofeo Alfredo Binda Comune di Cittiglio: Tiano to Cittiglio (131.1km)
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv in 3-27-07
2. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla
4. Anastasiia Chursina (Rus) BTC City Ljubljana all at same time
5. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM at .01 sec
6. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
8. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé-Cippolini
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) WNT Rotor all at same time nbsp;