Living The Cup - Trofeo Binda and other news from the women's peloton

Brian Losness-US PRESSWIRE

This Sunday eyes turn to Italy for round two of the World Cup, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda in the Italian town of Cittiglio. That's their promotional video above. We're away from the cobbles briefly, and back to the hills and worse. Vicki Whitelaw once described the struggle for position during the unofficial rollout to the start proper as one of the toughest parts of a race. Two weeks ago in Drenthe virtually the whole of the Tibco team was taken out during these false skirmishes. Trofeo Binda begins with no less than a six kilometre ride down to the official start line at Laveno Mombello, so there's plenty of time for old scores to be settled and new grudges to come into being. From there the race returns to Cittiglio the scenic way, before following what is a familiar course. One long lap down to Luino on the shores of Lake Maggiore and back, followed by four shorter laps over the climb at Orino, followed by the nasty descent through the hairpins above Gemonio (note the mattress tied to the barrier at 3:15 in the video below) which always triggers a last minute sense of urgency in the riders.

The last five years have given us three Marianne Vos wins and two for Emma Pooley, and with the latter off somewhere finding other excuses to not finish her PhD, Vos is the overwhelming favourite. But challenging her surely will be Evelyn Stevens who took herself out of contention with a move that I've only ever seen Denis Menchov manage before - overcooking a hairpin bend while going uphill. There are lots of other possibilities in the 29 team, 174 rider start list including Orica's Emma Johansson and Tiffany Cromwell, Hitec's Elisa Longo Borghini and Rossella Ratto, and Pasta Zara's Giada Borgato and Rossella Callovi, plus a couple of "whatever happened to" names in Bizkaia's Joanne Hogan and Slovenia's Polona Batagelj, and one "thank heavens she's still alive" in first year senior Eva Mottet, last seen being carried off in an ambulance during last year's junior Worlds Road Race.

There are a couple of more detailed previews (with maps, profiles, statistics and all sorts of other useful stuff) in English at Velofocus and Les Deesses de la Route, so take a look. There is also masses of stuff on the official race site, if you have a day or two to kill. They can also be found at @TrofeoBinda which is likely top be a good starting point for live race information on Sunday. And there seem to be no less than four TV channels providing some sort of coverage. The main one will be one hour's coverage on RaiSport2 at 18:05 CET Sunday evening (give or take an hour or so, as anyone familiar with Rai's scheduling will know) but Solo Bici, Sport and Sport, and Sportissimo also intend showing something according to the schedule at the bottom of this page.

The Trofeo Binda is probably the most innovative race on the calendar. The winner not only gets the usual array of prizes, but also a painting by local artist Mariano Salerno (although probably not the one that might get you in trouble if you open that page at work). And as a prelude to the main race there is also a junior race scheduled at 9:30 from Laveno Mombello to Cittiglio. Those of you already planning your 2015 FSA-DS team might like this photo gallery of teams Valcar PBM and Eurotarget recceing the roads. (And if you're really that far ahead of the rest of us then you might already know that the self proclaimed Lucy Garners sister showed that she's just as capable as her big sis of winning in Belgium.)

Binda's not the only race on Sunday however, as we also get the women's version of Gent-Wevelgem, preceded on Saturday by the Think Pink charity rides. And not a single mention of Kay Thompson. Last year's winner Lizzie Armitstead will be riding in Italy, so it's a wide open race this time. Or to put it another way, I've not seen a start list and don't have a clue who's riding.

Elsewhere, today saw the second running of the women's Dwars door Vlaanderen, which sounds like a total Argos Shimano walkover, according to the report from, ahem, the Argos Shimano press people. Kirsten Wild won, ahead of Jolien d'Hoore of Lotto Belisol and Cyclelive's Monique van de Ree. There's a full result sheet here, and a photo gallery (including shots of the unfortunate, champagne stained donkey) on the official race site.

In other news, Alessia Piccolo, President of Mcipollini-Giordana-Galassia, but whose companies also support two amateur teams in Palazzago Fenice, and Fantini D'Angelo e Antenucci, two professional teams, Fantini Vini, and Bardiani CSF, and the junior Cipollini Assali Stefen, has suggested that from next year the Giro Donne might be run alongside the Giro Bio in order to share some of the expenses. An interesting idea, but I'm not sure how the timing would work with regard to both races getting a fair share of tv motos. At least accommodation wouldn't be a problem, since the Giro Bio riders have all been locked up together in one big dormitory in recent years to try and keep them off the sweeties, so the women would at least get first dibs there.

And if you've missed anything in the past week or so, Sarah has a nice round up over at totalwomenscycling.com.

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