UPDATE! 41 minutes video in Italian
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UPDATE! Here's the 26-minute video from the UCI
It was so different from last year's freezing cold and bitter sleet - a beautiful day, with the team presentation on the shores of Lake Maggiore. The race stayed together in the run-in to Cittiglio, and while attacks on the climb on the big loop whittled down the peloton, the bunch was still together, until Specialized-lululemon's Trixi Worrack tried to go solo, followed by the first big break of the day - Valentina Carreta (Alé Cipollini), Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), Lucinda Brand (Rabobank-Liv), Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS), Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon) and Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda) who got 40 seconds, but were caught within the first lap.
On the second lap, Guarnier escaped again, first as part of a group of 11, then solo... It's all a bit confusing, because the tv wasn't clear, but there was a significant attack from Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo) on one of the small laps, and another Boels-Dolmans rider, Jessie Daams giving it a try and then in the penultimate lap it was Guarnier, Brand and another Spec-lulu, who's been on fire this year, Chantal Blaak.... joined by eight other riders, including Emma Johansson (Orica) and caught once again, until there were around 29 riders in contention on the final climb.
This time it was Speclulu's Evelyn Stevens who attacked, but she was overhauled and dropped by an elite group of six riders - Ferrand-Prévot and Anna van der Breggen for Rabo; last year's winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec) and 2nd placed rider Emma Johansson (ORICA); Ronde van Drenthe winner Lizzie Armitstead (Boels) and Astana-BePink's Alena Amialiusik. Such a strong group - and then the dynamic changed as Armitstead's team-mate Ellen van Dijk, who was third here last year, and had been working hard chasing down breaks all day, came back after the descent with Olga Zabelinskaya (RusVelo) and immediately hit the front, hammering up the pace. Longo Borghini and Armitstead had attempts at attacking solo, but the 8 riders came into the finish together, with Van Dijk pounding down the road to try to stop anyone else making it away. It looked like a great lead-out for Armitstead, but on the uphill finish, Johansson slipped past, going early as the road narrowed, and it came down to a sprint, with Armitstead battling to overtake her before the Swede hit the line.... and in a photo-finish, Johansson took the win, her first World Cup victory since the Ronde van Drenthe 2009! Johansson has had a lot of victories since then, and a crazy number of podium places, but this will feel so sweet for her.
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, 3:05:24
2. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
3. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Astana-BePink, s.t.
4. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, s.t.
5. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Fra) Rabobank-Liv, s.t.
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products, s.t.
7. Olga Zabelinskaya (Rus) RusVelo, s.t.
8. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
9. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggla Honda, + 00:49
10. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren, s.t.
Rabobank-Liv's video, with Van der Breggen talking before and after the race in English (I love the team car and roadside footage) - talking about Pauline Ferrand-Prévot's gear problems in the endgame (that must burn!) (Here's another video of just AvdB talking after the race in English, with a bit more)
UPDATE! Video from Wiggle Honda at the race
Another video, with lots of talking heads in Italian - Photos of the race on Boels-Dolmans facebook - and as a bit of shameless self-promotion, I talked to Johansson about Binda last week, and also about her next big goals, the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Read it here on the Café, or listen to it as a podcast.
The junior Trofeo Alfredo Binda was such a great race too - the same course as the elite women, but without the long loop around Cittiglio, "just" the initial run-in and four laps. Amalie Dideriksen showed that last year's Junior Road World Championships win wasn't a fluke, but she's a huge talent to watch. At Worlds, she wasn't the strongest climber, but she was definitely the cleverest rider, and here, racing alone among some big teams, her race skills were very much in evidence. Watch out for her!
1. Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Amager Cykle Ring, 1:40:20
2. Greta Richioud (Fra) France, + 00:12
3. Soline Lamboley (Fra) France, + 00:22
4. Maria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) GS Gauss
5. Sofia Beggin (Ita) Breganze - Millenium
6. Francesca Strozzo (Ita) Breganze - Millenium
7. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Breganze - Millenium
8. Katia Ragusa (Ita) Eurotarget
9. Marika Campagnaro (Ita) Breganze - Millenium
10. Daniela Allietta Magnetto (Ita) Piemonte in Rosa
Isn't that great? It was a typically attacking race, with the Monteberg and Kemmelberg causing the expected chaos and Vera Koedooder especially trying a lot of moves, and it came down to a group of 8 riders, with a fantastic final attack from Team USA's Lauren Hall providing her first UCI road race win - it must have been so exciting to win in front of such crowds! And Janneke Ensing finishing in second place for Boels-Dolmans made this a superb weekend for the team - read about it on their race report.
1. Lauren Hall (USA) USA National Team, 3:02:57
2. Janneke Ensing (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, + 00:01
3. Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bigla, s.t.
4. Sofie de Vuyst (Bel) Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, + 00:06
5. Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, s.t.
6. Anouska Koster (Ned) Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, s.t.
7. Liesbet de Vocht (Bel) Lotto Belisol, s.t.
8. Claire Thomas (GBr) Velosport Pasta Montegrappa, s.t.
9. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Netherlands National Team, s.t.
10. Nina Kessler (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, s.t.
UPDATE! Slideshow of photos of the Isorex Ladies Team at the race
What's next? In the USA, the Redlands Bicycle Classic from 2nd-6th April, and on Saturday, only one of the biggest races in the world.... round 3 of the 2014 Road world Cup on Satruday - the Ronde van Vlaanderen! Can't wait!