Elena Cecchini (Lotto Soudal) looks at her SRM data following the race.

Photo gallery: Highlights from the 2015 Trofeo Alfredo Binda

by Jessi Braverman


Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) handily beat out the Rabo Liv pair of Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Anna van der Breggen to the finish line in Cittiglio to win Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Armitstead’s win in the second round of the ten-race Women’s World Cup series combined with a seventh place finish at Ronde van Drenthe two weeks ago put her in the World Cup leader’s jersey. It’s a familiar jersey to Armitstead. The Briton won the series overall last year.

The day undoubtedly belonged to Armitstead and her Boels-Dolmans teammates, but her story is far from the only one to emerge out of northern Italy. Here at Ella CyclingTips, we’re of the belief that every rider who starts a race has a story to tell by race end – and we’re using the Trofeo Binda photo gallery to share the tales told by the Lotto Soudal Ladies riders, who generously welcomed us into their fold on Sunday.

Looking for a traditional race report that includes quotes from Armitstead on her race win? You can find that here. This race highlights video hosted on the UCI YouTube channel does a great job of showcasing the main bits of action and includes an interview with The Suffer Prize presented by The Sufferfest winner Jolanda Neff (Switzerland).


Sarah Rijkes

The 23-year-old Austrian is riding with Lotto Soudal in her third season as a professional. Rijkes plays a support role for her team leaders – often in the earliest part of the race.

When the peloton split on the opening lap of the five lap race, Rijes missed out on the selection. She fought her way back to the leaders before the first of the four circuit laps, eventually retiring before the finish.

We had to chase really hard from the first climb until we crossed the finish line for the second time. It wasn’t easy. We were back in the cars on the climbs. There were a lot of riders from the small Italian teams in the chase group. They always want to perform well at home, so they did most of the chasing. We caught onto the front just before the small circuit laps began.

When I was back in the main peloton, I tried to do something to help Elena. I took her to the front before the climb. My legs were exploding after that. It was my job for the day.

I performed really bad here last year. I didn’t make it to the finish this year, but my performance was better. I’m happy to improve, but I really wanted to finish. Perhaps next year.

Anisha Vekemans

Vekemans finished in 46th place in Cittiglio, crossing the finish line with the second chase group more than six minutes behind Armitstead and company. The 23-year-old Belgian’s objective was to help her teammates. She reported that she accomplished her mission in some ways but had hoped for more out herself on Sunday.

I wanted to help Carlee and Elena do as good of a result as possible. I was good in the beginning, and I was able to help them. Toward the end, I was too far back to be helpful. I dropped off on the second to last lap when there was a bit split in the front group.

This year it was better than last year. It was an improvement. That is something I can feel happy about personally. I’m also happy that I was able to help my teammates for some of the race.

Carlee Taylor

The Australian climber played an important role in Elena Cecchini’s top ten result at Trofeo Binda. The only Lotto Soudal Ladies rider to make the first chase group alongside Cecchini, Taylor, 26, assumed responsibility for assisting Cecchini with positioning before leading her out in the finale. Taylor finished in 34th place, 1:36 behind the race winner.

I felt good today. Strong. I was the third one up the climb for climber’s points on the big opening lap.

I was comfortable on the smalls laps, but when Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) attacked and the winning move went, I didn’t have the legs in the moment to go it. Six girls went up the road. I was in the next group behind the leaders with Elena.

My job today was to make sure Elena was in a good position leading up to the sprint. I did the best I could. It was a fast lead-in to the finish. I tried to make sure she was in a good position.

With a couple hundred meters to go, it’s a right-hand corner and an uphill sprint. It was a hectic finish. Elena’s really good in those tough finishes. For her to get top ten in a World Cup is still a big thing for the team.

I think we rode well. Those six girls that went up the road just rode better on the day.

Elena Cecchini

The Italian national road champion hopes to build on the consistency she demonstrated last season, taking her career best result in the Italian road championships and winning the best young rider classification in the World Cup series. The 22-year-old is off to a successful start. Cecchini has posted top ten finishes at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (6), Le Samyn des Dames (10), Strade Bianche (10) and Trofeo Aldreda Bina (9).

The race exploded the third time up the climb. I just didn’t have the legs to follow the best girls. I’m maybe upset for this. I know I have to improve – in general but especially on the long climbs.

I’m really happy about the performance Carlee did. She was really strong. She helped me a lot.

I was third in the sprint from the chase group. I knew maybe van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) and Brand (Rabo Liv) can sprint, so I tried to stay with them. It was a good performance for me in the sprint, but it’s not the same as sprinting for the win.

My ambition today was to do a top ten, and I finished in ninth place. I’m ok with the result, but I would be happier if I had been in the first group.

Dany Schoonbart, Lotto Soudal Ladies sport director

Schoonbart spent the afternoon behind the wheel of the Lotto Soudal Ladies team car. He shared information that we shared with you during our live race updates on CyclingTipsLive and provided his riders with critical information, insight and encouragement throughout the three hours of racing.

I thought the race would split up earlier than it did, but the riders make up the race, so you never know for sure. You see in the end the six strong girls went away. The group behind had Carlee and Elena. There were many groups behind them.

It was important for Carlee and Elena to sprint for seventh place in the chase group. We need the points for our UCI rankings and also for the order of the car in the caravan. Next week at Flanders, we want a good position for the car, and we need points to get the position we want. It’s very important.

It was a good day for the team. We had a top ten, so I’m happy. We had a top ten in Gent Wevelgem, too. Two times top ten. That’s happy for me.

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