After a super strong cyclocross season, it’s almost no surprise to see Shirin van Anrooij begin to dominate on the road as well. The 21-year-old took her first Women’s WorldTour victory in this year’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda, crossing the line solo with plenty of advantage to a chasing pack of favourites. The U23 CX World Champion pushed off the front of the peloton on the penultimate lap and simply maintained her gap as the chasers couldn’t mount a sustained effort to bridge across the gap.
A flurry of early attacks saw a powerful group containing Pauliena Rooijakkers, Anna Shackley, Gaia Realini and Kim Cadzow briefly go clear but the peloton was alive to that threat. As it was, there was no serious breakaway in today’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda until later on when the race reached the local circuit around Cittiglio.
Once there, we were treated to all manner of attacks with the likes of Marianne Vos and Kasia Niewiadoma in breaks that briefly had gaps before being closed up. The groups at this point were largely too big to truly succeed and would lose their gap almost as soon as they had created one. The serious move to go was by 19-year-old Eleonora Ciabocco in her first year at Elites level. She was bridged across by Jumbo-Visma’s Karlijn Swinkels and then later on by FDJ-Suez’s Loes Adegeest as well.
The trio worked well together, getting over a minute at one point, but the attention of Trek was piqued and once Gaia Realini worked on the climbs, the gap simply disappeared. The full Trek Segafredo train was out in force, with Realini leading Van Anrooij, from Balsamo and then Spratt. At the summit of the climb with the trio caught, Van Anrooij counter-attacked, waving a motorbike out of the way in the process. The gap remained manageable, just 15 seconds as the Dutch rider began the final lap.
But behind, the infamous G2 Syndrome was beginning to kick in. It was being left for solo riders, with no team support, to do the chasing as other teams with numbers sat on their laurels waiting for the final climb and sprint. Mavi Garcia did a bulk of the work and Justine Ghekiere, winner of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, was very present at the front too. Solo attacks didn’t go anyway or assist the chase and all the while, Shirin van Anrooij’s lead was just creeping out that little bit further.
Once over the final climb, with a gap of around 30 seconds, the outcome of the race was inevitable. Having had the luxury of sitting in as others tried to chase her teammate, Elisa Balsamo had the fastest legs at the finish to make it a 1-2 for Trek Segafredo. Their 3rd such result of the 2023 season after Longo Borghini led home Realini in the UAE Tour Women and Realini in turn won from Amanda Spratt at Trofeo Oro in Euro. FDJ-Suez’s Vittoria Guazzini finished 3rd, her 2nd podium of the 2023 season after a similar result at Le Samyn des Dames.
“I just don’t really believe yet. I knew I was in really good shape but I only started my road season on Wednesday after a break post CX season. I came here more with the expectation of helping Elisa again to try and win the sprint but I felt super strong and I just tried to attack. Somehow I could keep a gap until the finish line and win this race.
I felt really strong the whole race and I was in every single breakaway. When Niewiadoma attacked on the climb, I could follow her really strongly: from there I knew I just needed to try and believe in myself. I had a lot of support from the Team in my ear so it was super nice.
I think it was a perfect set up from the Team today. Gaia Realini was riding the front at a hard pace and then I think the whole peloton was already stretched out and then, Balsamo was on my wheel and she told me ‘now is the time to try to attack’. The gap stayed at 10 seconds for such a long time but everyone from the team just kept telling me that I needed to keep pushing and keep trying because in the end, if they caught me back we would have Elisa there for the sprint. So, it was a perfect scenario for the us.”Shirin van Anrooij
2023 Trofeo Alfredo Binda result
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Main Photo Credit: Sprint Cycling Agency