Well-known stateside for her dominant sprint, Coryn Rivera proved at Alfredo Binda that she will be a rider to watch in the women's WorldTour with Team Sunweb. The 24-year-old spent the last few seasons with UnitedHealthcare while studying but once graduated, signed with the Dutch team to focus full-time on racing and winning.
Rivera has won stages of Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen in the past two years but before Alfredo Binda success, was yet to taste victory in the WorldTour. The win, ahead of Astana's Arlenis Sierra, was also Sunweb's first victory of the season with the American dedicating the success to her teammates.
"We had a couple of different cards to play today. Both myself and my teammates tried our luck in getting in any potential race deciding moves but it turned out that the race stayed together for a bunch sprint," Rivera said. "We kept fighting to stay in the front group and it paid off. I was really thankful to have the support of my team and especially Ellen [van Dijk] there with me, she came back over to me at the last climb and stayed with me through to the end. She was instrumental in the finale and I couldn't have taken the victory without my team mates."
Rivera started her season with 15th place at Omloop van het Hageland. She then rode Strade Bianche, placing 41st, before helping teammate Lucinda Brand to third place at Ronde Van Drenthe. Fourth at Drentse Acht van Westerveld last week suggested her sprint legs were coming good at the right time.
Gent-Wevelgem on Saturday is the next race on Rivera's calendar with the sprint-friendly classic her next opportunity to press her claim as one of the riders to watch in 2017.
For the Alfredo Binda race report, click here.
The 2017 Alfredo Binda podium (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Orica-Scott Women to make Dwars door Vlaanderen debut
Annemiek van Vleuten, Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy have been active across the European races thus far for Orica-Scott. Sport director Gene Bates believes the squad selected for the race allows the team several cards to play as he explained.
"We have a strong team here and it could go in several directions for us and we are keen to give everyone opportunities throughout the race," continued Bates. "Typically it has come down to a sprint of sorts, and I think we have a couple of fast options if this occurs again this year."
"Sarah has demonstrated that she is fast enough to win if the race comes down to a smaller group that contests the final, but either way we have a balanced and versatile squad and will be looking to race positively whatever the situation."
After her aggressive showing at Alfredo Binda, Jessica Allen gets a rest from racing with Jenelle Crooks and recent signing Georgia Williams completing the roster.
Bates added that in 2017 the team is using the race as preparation for the Tour of Flanders which is one of the big early-season objectives for the team.
"We haven't done this race as a team before, last year we chose to focus solely on Gent Wevelgem," said Bates. "Needless to say it's a great race and wonderful preparation for the Tour of Flanders, and it gives the girls a great shorter race over the cobbles and climbs."
Orica-Scott for Dwars door Vlaanderen: Jenelle Crooks, Gracie Elvin, Sarah Roy, Annemiek Van Vleuten and Georgia Williams.
Disappointing Alfredo Binda for Boels Dolmans
Boels Dolmans came into Alfredo Binda with two-time defending champion Elizabeth Deignan, aiming for a hat-trick of wins. The team wanted an aggressive race to set up the former world champion but illness and race tactics worked against the squad.
Chantal Blaak was the best-placed rider for the team in fourth place with Deignan a lowly 39th and Anna van der Breggen, Christine Majerus andAmy Pieters recording DNF's.
"The race was passive and ultimately ended in a bunch sprint. Chantal was our best option and managed a great fourth place," said Deignan. "Unfortunately Anna [van der Breggen] was sick, Christine [Majerus] had allergy problems and Amy [Pieters] was not on a good day. I also wasn't feeling very well, and we weren’t able to be as aggressive like we normally are."
With the team losing its riders, Deignan added the team has to adjust its tactics and bet on the sprint finish which ultimately worked against them with Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) taking the win. While the result was not what Boels Dolmans were aiming for, Deignan added she and her teammates are already focusing on the upcoming classics to bounce back.
"We were obviously disappointed with the way the race unfolded but not disheartened," she added. "You can only do what your body is capable of and with more than a few of us fighting sickness, we came away happy that as a team, we committed to the best of our ability on the day. It's not a disaster, just a blip."
After three races of the Women's WorldTour, Boels Dolmans are the top team on 351 points with Sunweb second on 299 points. Gent–Wevelgem is the next race on the calendar.
The Boels Dolmans squad (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Arlenis Sierra celebrates second place in Alfredo Binda
Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women's Team) threw her arms up in the air when she crossed the Alfredo Binda finish line but the Cuban national champion wasn't celebrating the victory. The 24-year-old won a stage last week at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana but her second place finish to Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) in Italy is her best result on European soil to date.
"I'm so happy with this results and I thank God for giving me the strength to be here. A big dedication also goes to all the people who supported me, my family, the team will all the staff and my mates, my coach, all have been fundamental for me," Sierra said. "In the sprint I missed just a few centimetres, I wanted to win but I'm very happy and for this reason I raised my arms, it was a big joy! Now I hope to continue like this in the next races!"
Sierra's second place finish was also the first Women's WorldTour podium for Astana Women's Team and raises them to eighth overall in the team rankings.
Prior to joining the team in 2017, Sierra enjoyed a highly successful 2016 season in which she won stages and the overall at Tour de Bretagne Feminin and Vuelta Internacional Femenina a Costa Rica. She also won a stage of the Tour Femenino de San Luis and finished third overall, and the Cuban national title.
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