In Her Own Words: Amanda Spratt Previews Trofeo Alfredo Binda World CupThu 21 Mar 2013
On Sunday ORICA-AIS and the rest of the women’s peloton will light up the roads in Varese, Italy with their speed and grit as they battle for glory at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda – the second round of the World Cup series. Exchanging the cobbles of Benelux for the mountainous terrain in northern Italy, the 131.2 kilometre race features over 2300 metres of total climbing. The parcours first takes the riders around the opening lap of 62 kilometres before tackling four shorter but challenging circuits of 17.3 kilometres, all of which begin and end in Cittiglio.
Trofeo Alfredo Binda is one of the longest standing women’s races on the calendar. Italian riders dominated the top step in early years, but for the last five years it’s been a two-women show. Dutch phenom Marianne Vos won in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and British superstar Emma Pooley won in 2008 and 2011. This year ORICA-AIS has a different outcome in mind, one with a rider from the Aussie squad on the top step. Racing on ‘home’ territory heightens the anticipation of notching a win for the Varese-based team. In her own words, Amanda Spratt previews her hometown World Cup.
I call the Varese region home for eight months of the year, so this is the closest I get to a hometown race in either Europe or Australia! I live seven kilometres from the circuit. It's fair to say I'm very familiar with the course and train on parts of the route almost every time I head out on my bike.
I have raced Binda many times before, even in the days before it was a World Cup. It's been great to see the race grow every year – a bigger field, stronger riders and fantastic organization. Each year we are treated to a big team presentation dinner the night before the race, which I would describe as 'typically Italian'. As a treat, the Lindt Easter bunny usually makes an appearance, so you always know there is some reward for completing the race the following day!
We will have a strong team lining up on Sunday with some true contenders for the win. Emma [Johansson] has just broken her string of thirds with a win in France and Tiff [Tiffany Cromwell] has shown she is on fire when it counts. Loes [Gunnewijk] also had a really strong race here last year. The team has been riding incredibly well this season, so I think we can look to have a solid race.
Personally, I love racing hard and being able to help teammates get a good result. This is the sort of atmosphere we have in our team - everyone is willing to back each other up. Bottom line? I want to do my part for the team on Sunday to bring home a win. We all do.
This round of the World Cup is a stark contrast to the previous races we have done so far this season. Whilst we were focused on the narrow roads, cobbles and wind of Belgium and Holland over the last four weeks, we now turn our attention to hillier roads. Starting alongside Lake Maggiore in Laveno Mombello, the race heads to Cittiglio where we complete one large lap with a decisive climb followed by four smaller laps with a climb each lap. There are opportunities earlier in the race, but the decisive moves will happen in the final four laps.
We have spent the last week together training in Italy where we have recon’d the main sections of the World Cup course. It is almost identical to the course last year so most of us are pretty familiar with it already. The pre-ride helps us keep the climbs fresh in our mind and reminds us of how much Sunday will hurt! In particular, we have spent time talking about the finishing lap, how fast it will be and the various ways in which it might unfold.
Marianne Vos is no doubt a favourite on Sunday. She is an incredible rider, but she is not unbeatable. Although we will have our eyes on Vos, she is not the only rider that we need to be cautious of on race day. The start list is saturated with strong riders. Rather than worry about our opponents, we rely on our own strengths and riding like the strong team unit that we are to catapult us to the top step.
ORICA-AIS for Trofeo Alfredo Binda
Amanda Spratt [@amandaspratt]
Emma Johansson [@emmaprocyclist]
Gracie Elvin [@gracieelvin]
Loes Gunnewijk [@loesgunnewijk]
Shara Gillow [@sharagillow]
Tiffany Cromwell [@tiffanycromwell]