History serves the youth – and so can historic events. As the UCI Women’s WorldTour peloton gears up for the 45th edition of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio, Junior riders are also heading for the Italian region of Lombardy, to participate in the Trofeo Da Moreno-Piccolo Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the first race of the 2021 UCI Women Junior Nations’ Cup.
Both events will be held on Sunday 21 March, offering a great opportunity to enjoy Elite racing and to see the champions of tomorrow try to emulate stars such as Lorena Wiebes – who won the 2019 UCI Women’s WorldTour Youth classification only two years after winning the Trofeo Da Moreno – and Marianne Vos (four-time winner of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, a record).
Stars of the peloton, led by Vos herself in her new Jumbo-Visma Women Team outfit, and younger guns all meet in Cittiglio, next to the Lago Maggiore. Fans won’t be able to physically meet and greet them, due to the restrictions imposed in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, but the two races will be broadcast on TV and on social media to a worldwide audience.
Juniors kick off the day and the Nations’ Cup
The future belongs to those who get up early, they say, so the world’s best Junior riders will start their day with the rising sun. By 8:25 (CET), they’ll be on the road, starting from Cocquio Trevisago and heading for Cittiglio, where they’ll find two loops with a handful of uphill challenges to bring the best of the category to the fore. By 10:30, after 73.4km of effort, one of them will have added her name to a stellar roll of honour.
Lithuania’s Milda Jankauskaite won the first edition in 2013. The next year, it was Denmark’s Amalie Dideriksen who dominated the Piccolo Trofeo Alfredo Binda as the reigning Junior Women UCI World Champion. She claimed that title at the end of the season and went on to win the rainbow jersey in the Elite ranks two years later, in Doha.
The Piccolo Trofeo Alfredo Binda has since crowned rising talents such as Italian Sofia Bertizzolo (2015), France’s Clara Copponi (2016), Dutchwoman Lorena Wiebes (2017), German Pfeiffer Georgi (2018) and American Megan Jastrab (2019) before the 2020 edition was cancelled due to Covid-19.
The 2021 winner will not only join them as the champion of one of the most prestigious Junior races. She’ll also propel her nation to a perfect start in the 2021 UCI Women Junior Nations’ Cup. The series was set to feature seven events but Healthy Ageing Tour Junior Women and Gent-Wevelgem have had to be cancelled. The next scheduled round is the EPZ Omloop van Borsele (April 23-25).
Youngsters to challenge established champions
But first of all, the Junior winner will be able to enjoy her success and watch her elders fight to claim their own laurels. The Elite peloton will also start from Cocquio Trevisago, at 12:10, and will race for 141.8km before one of them takes glory in Cittiglio.
A couple of weeks after Chantal van den Broek-Blaak won Strade Bianche, the second event of the 2021 UCI Women’s WorldTour attracts seasoned champions who know the way to success in Lombardy. Vos will be looking for her fifth victory on the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio, two years after she won the last edition.
The Trek-Segafredo Women team has two former winners: Elizabeth Deignan (2015, 2016) and Elisa Longo Borghini (2013). As for the in-form Van den Broek-Blaak, leader of the UCI Women’s WorldTour classification following her victory in Siena, she knows these roads perfectly, riding the Trofeo Alfredo Binda for the 12th time in her career. She hasn’t missed a single edition since 2009 and came 2nd in 2018.
The Elite of the UCI Women’s WorldTour is ready to battle with an impressive run of Classics to come: Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne (25 March), Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (28 March), Ronde van Vlaanderen (4 April), the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes (11 April), Amstel Gold Race Ladies (18 April), La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (21 April) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes (25 April).
The youngsters can also dream of blossoming in the spring so watch out for rising stars such as Sarah Gigante (Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank), Mikayla Harvey (Canyon//SRAM Racing) or Elisa Balsamo (Valcar - Travel & Service), who has just won GP Oetingen and will now chase success on her home Italian soil.