23-year-old Katarzyna Niewiadoma earned her first victory in a one-day UCI Women's WorldTour race and the first with her new Canyon-SRAM team in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda on Sunday. Although she has been on the podium of all three 2017 Ardennes Classics and second in Strade Bianche three years in a row, the top step of the podium in a Classic had eluded Niewiadoma and her team until now.
Two weeks ago, Niewiadoma put in a spirited chase at the Strade Bianche, but it was too late to catch eventual winner Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans). In the Ronde van Drenthe last weekend, Alexis Ryan came up just short against Amy Pieters (Boels Dolmans) in the final sprint.
In the Trofeo Binda, everything went to plan for Canyon-SRAM and Niewiadoma, giving the team its first one-day WorldTour win since the series was created in 2016. "My victory was because of an amazing team. We always had control over the race, stayed calm, and things went exactly as we planned. It's amazing that we were able to put our plan into practice."
Just as at the Strade Bianche, Niewiadoma's teammate Alena Amialiusik was part of the first dangerous move when she broke away together with Ane Santesteban (Alé Cipollini) and Elinor Barker (Wiggle High5) on the penultimate lap, with 42km to go. This meant that the Pole could keep her powder dry in the peloton behind. "We were playing different cards throughout the race. This meant I could be relaxed, wait for my moment, and save my energy for the last climb. The girls were amazing, in the front all the time and attacking to make the race hard. We wanted to get a small group and then create the final move from there."
On the final lap, Niewiadoma went into action. She put in a first attack on the short, steep climb to Casale in order to whittle down the rather large peloton, catching the front quartet with Amialiusik in the process. A group of about a dozen riders started the final climb to Orino together, and Niewiadoma waited patiently before taking a big, long turn at the front to ride everyone off her wheel.
After the top of the climb, the Pole continued on without second thought. She said that she had been inspired by a similar all-or-nothing attack in the men's Milan-San Remo the day before. "We were watching Milan-San Remo, and we saw Nibali's move where he attacked and never looked back. He mentioned that afterwards in the interview that he just went all-out and wanted to give all that he had left in his legs. And I thought that was so inspiring, to just do everything you can and keep on going, never looking back. I am so, so happy to deliver this victory to the team after this great effort."
Niewiadoma takes the lead in the UCI Women's WorldTour classification with 350 points after three races, 100 points ahead of Trofeo Binda runner-up Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans). The race series continues with the one-day race Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde on Thursday, 22 March.