When you ask riders for their favourite race, spring classics like the recent Strade Bianche or the longstanding Ronde van Vlaanderen are unsurprisingly listed. In the same breath rider after rider names Trofeo Alfredo Binda Comune di Cittiglio as one of their favourite races on the women's calendar. This holds true for Alena Amialiusik, Elena Cecchini and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. The trio are joined by Hannah Barnes, Tiffany Cromwell and Alexis Ryan for the third race of the UCI Women's WorldTour on Sunday 19 March.
The 131km race keeps the same course as the 2016 edition. One large lap followed by four local circuits each time ascending a short but peloton-damaging Orino climb. But why is this race a favourite for so many riders?
Alena Amialiusik, who has finished third and two times fifth in the last three years said the race is always full of action. “I like the character of this race. There are a lot of climbs, no chance for recovery and it’s one of my favourites on the calendar.”
Amialiusik lives and trains in the season around Lake Iseo, not far from Cittiglio. “I love racing in Italy and feel good here. Also the organisers do a really good job with this race. There’s a junior women’s race in the morning before us that I like to support. It’s a good way for the junior girls to watch us racing after their own race, and I hope we aspire them to see that this sport can be a career for them.”
Italian road champion Cecchini just stepped off the podium last weekend at Ronde van Drenthe and said racing in Italy in the tricolore jersey is always extra special. “I love racing in Cittiglio because it’s an Italian race, it’s a big race, and quite hard for this part of the season. The profile reflects my kind of races, up, down and where you have to have a bit of everything. I think that as a cyclist, that’s one of my strengths, I have a bit of everything. I will do my best Sunday.”
Ferrand-Prévot who last weekend won her first MTB race of the season, International Catalan Cup in Spain, reiterated the opinion of her teammates. “I really like this race. The hilly circuit at the end makes it exciting and it’s usually raced aggressively which I like. In the past it’s been a successful race for me and the atmosphere at the races in Italy is always good, I really like racing there!”
Racing starts at 13:30 CET and a live link can be found here. Or follow the action on the team’s twitter account @WMNcycling using #UCIWWT.