Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) had one of her career-best performances at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio last year with a solo victory in the pouring rain. She will return to the event, marked as the third round of the Women's WorldTour, to defend her title.
"Last year's victory for me was a great moment with my teammates and I was super, super happy," Niewiadoma said in a team statement. "We were in control of the race no matter what other teams were doing and when I attacked solo, I just put my head down and pushed hard all the way to the finish line, and I never looked back.”
Even though she aims to win the race for a second consecutive season, she is aware of how unpredictable Trofeo Alfredo Binda has been in the past.
The women will race 131.1km from Taino to Cittiglio and because the race is hilly, it is often assumed to be a climber’s course. The race ends with four large finishing loops, each of which includes a 3.1km climb to Orino before descending back into Cittiglio, and over one small rise to the finish line. However, the race has been won by climbers and sprinters.
"Anyone can win this race," Niewiadoma said. “I think it's one of the only races that has been won by a sprinter, a climber, an all-rounder or a classics rider, and can be won solo, from a bunch sprint, or from a small group. Like I said, anyone can win."
Niewiadoma said Trofeo Alfredo Binda is a special race for her, personally, and one that she enjoys returning to each season.
"This will be my sixth time racing Trofeo Binda," she said. "It's special to me, because my first time racing it, in 2013, my grandfather had passed away one month before. It was the first big race of my career, it was raining all day and I just had him in my mind that we were racing it together. Every time I go back to Cittiglio, I still have these same feelings."
Canyon-SRAM will field a team to support Niewiadoma, but that also includes potential contenders for a sprint finish. Hannah Barnes will be one of the riders to also look out for if the race comes down to a bunch kick. The team will also line up with Belarusian national champion Alena Amialiusik, Italian classics specialist Elena Cecchini, Ella Harris, and Israeli national champion Omer Shapira.
"There is never a dull moment in this race," Barnes said. "Every team has an aggressive plan going into the race so it's always very active which I love. It's all about being patient and waiting for the right moment and that normally comes when we hit the climb of Orino.
"The beauty of 'Trofeo Binda' is that any rider can win. Last year Kasia won solo after attacking on the Orino climb and the year before it was a group of around 30 riders going to the line, so really anything can happen. I also love that about it."