ORICA-AIS’ Emma Johansson took her third victory of the season in Cittiglio on Sunday, outfoxing a breakaway of eight riders to win Trofeo Alfredo Binda World Cup. Although Johansson had previously finished on the podium four times from seven starts in the Italian one day race, her eighth start was the first time she claimed the top step. Johansson sung the praises of her teammates, crediting their commitment to the team plan for her accomplishment.
The second race of the World Cup series begun in idyllic Laveno on the eastern shores of Lago Maggiore. High speeds in the early kilometres left few opportunities for attackers to break away from the bunch. The peloton hit the first climb in Cunardo as one big bunch save for a handful of riders who were unable to maintain the fast pace set at the front of the field.
Jessie MacLean and Valentina Scandolara assumed control of the bunch in the opening kilometres, attacking in an attempt to force a break and keeping the pace high on the run in to the circuit The early work completed, MacLean and Scandolara suffered up the hills on the first lap until their legs called it quits. Job done, the duo packed it in for the day to offer support from the sidelines. Taylor and Gillow came to fore, keeping a watchful eye on the action on the ascents.
Amanda Spratt spent one circuit lap in a six rider move. Following the catch of Spratt's breakaway, Taylor and Gillow assumed responsibility for the next breakaway, covering attacks and instigating a few accelerations of their own. The duo remained patient and watchful as the fast pace and tough course continued to shrink the size of the bunch. When a group of three slipped away without representation from ORICA-AIS, Taylor and Gillow immediately took up the chase.
The chase efforts proved successful. Inside the penultimate lap, the peloton overtook the breakaway on the climb up to Orino. Job well done, Taylor and Gillow slipped away from the splintering bunch before the start of the final lap. Johansson and Spratt were left alone in what would ultimately become a race of attrition.
Johansson eventaully found herself amongst good company in the race winning move. World Cup leader Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans), who won the opening round of the series two weeks ago, enjoyed support from Ellen van Dijk in the group of eight. Rabo Liv also boasted strength in numbers placing both Anna van der Breggen and Pauline Ferrand Prevot in the move. Defending Trofeo Alfredo Binda champion Elisa Long Borghini was the lone Italian representative. Olga Zabelinskaya (Rusvelo) and Amialiusik had also made the cup. Despite the strength of the group, Johansson was confident she could win - and she did, outsprinting Arimitstead to the line. Amialiusik rounded out the podium.
“We did it! Today was amazing. We had a good plan, and we stuck to the plan the whole way. The team was awesome. All the credit to them. We were all so focused and committed to our part of the plan, and it paid off in the end. I joked the other day that I didn’t have any good memories here because I hadn’t yet won this race. I think we can say we made the best memory now. I’m really happy.” - Emma Johansson