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The third round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour took place on 18th March in Cittiglio, Italy, just a stone’s throw from our HQ over the border in Switzerland, and we were on hand to document the action. Relive the race in our gallery below:
There are those who say that bad weather is part and parcel of bike racing, but there’s a reason why the season moves to Australia and the Middle East over the winter months. So after a season start plagued by incessant rain and unseasonably low temperatures it’s easy to wonder whether the riders willingly signed up for this. But bike racing is a competition held at the mercy of the elements, and we’re all here because we love it.
“I’ve never encountered a start to the season like this,“ were the first words uttered by Cylance Pro Cycling’s DS Manel as we joined the team at the race start of Trofeo Binda, the third round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, in Taino yesterday. He shook his head: “Everyone’s suffering. All the teams are on the receiving end of this; some teams are even down to 4 riders. We’re definitely looking forward to it picking up.“
A race lasting close to four hours, Trofeo Binda is one that every rider wants to win. Its roll-call of past winners in its decades-long history is impressive, packed with World Champions and Olympians. And while it might not have a male counterpart, Trofeo Binda is served as the main course on this spectacular day of racing. Held the day after Milan-San Remo, it starts early in the day with the ‘Piccolo Trofeo Binda’ up first, aka the Junior Cup of Nations, a World Cup race with national teams fielded from across the globe.
While this weekend’s edition of the elite women’s Trofeo Binda saw a relatively mellow first half of the race with riders opting for safety over savage breaks, the second part of the 131 km route with its four twisting finishing laps was the scene for attack after attack. The 3km climb up to Orino eventually made the race, with a solo effort from Canyon–SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma proving indomitable for a solid victory. In fact, their team demonstrated a firm grip on the race, countering attacks and propelling their riders to the front with achingly well-timed moves.
For the Women’s WorldTour, this race marked a breakthrough with Italy’s RAI Sport making the decision to provide live coverage. A move that both we and the riders wholly applaud, the Trofeo Binda didn’t disappoint its fans this year and the added dimension of the atrocious weather ensured there was a day of racing that won’t be forgotten.
So, racing and bad weather: what’s the best scenario?
The first step is to dress for competition, but calculate for any rises in temperature during the race, weigh up the likelihood of the rain stopping and be prepared for the altitude profile of the course. It was a tricky one yesterday as the clouds and the rain rolled through. As the race progressed it was a battle of attrition with attacks flying off the front and everything coming down the final finishing circuit. Layers were shed as the race heated up, but the rain continued to fall.
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