Marianne Vos returns to racing at Trofeo Alfredo Binda
The Dutchwoman cut her cyclocross season short and underwent surgery in January to treat a constricted iliac artery
She went into the cyclocross season as world champion but Marianne Vos had to end her cross campaign prematurely due to a constricted iliac artery. Unable to defend her world title last month the 35-year-old instead had to undergo surgery in order to continue racing.
“The treatment went well, and, as hoped, I was able to get back on my bike and resume training ten days later. The first road race is just around the corner”, said Vos in a press release from her team, Jumbo-Visma.
Now, two months after her surgery, Vos will make her road debut for the 2023 season at the longstanding independent women’s race, Trofeo Alfredo Binda on Sunday. The race, which has been held since 1974, suits Vos’s strengths as an all-rounder rider and as such the Dutchwoman is tied on the most number of wins, four, with Italian Maria Canins.
“The Trofeo Alfredo Binda is a race that I love to ride”, said Vos. “The first race of the season always brings a few extra nerves. I’m looking forward to starting the race with the team.”
Vos, who has been training at altitude in Tenerife since she returned to riding, gave very little away about her current form heading into the race. Given the short period of training she has been able to complete in the lead up to the race the former world and Olympic champion is unlikely to be on her best form, but it is a truth universally acknowledged in women’s racing that you should never discount Marianne Vos.
The Jumbo-Visma rider also detailed the remainder of her Spring programme, “After the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, I will continue my racing schedule in Belgium, where I will race the Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Ronde van Vlaanderen”, she said.. “Of course, there are also some nice races later in the year, but the focus is mainly on the spring races at the moment. I am looking forward to some exciting races.”
Who are the contenders?
With Vos returning from surgery it seems unlikely that we will see her usual self on Sunday, but she is also a rider who races to win, and this is a race that she has won four times. Jumbo-Visma have a few options, however, with sprinter Coryn Labecki should the race come down to a bunch kick, as well as Kiwi climber Kim Cadzow.
Team SD Worx seem confident that the race could come down to a bunch sprint as they will be fielding the peloton’s star sprinter, Lorena Wiebes – who won this race as a junior.
Team manager Danny Stam said in a statement: “The last few years we had some bad luck in Trofeo Alfredo Binda, but we are in a good flow. With Lorena Wiebes, we again have one of the contenders for victory.” The team have won their last five races in a row, could this be their sixth?
While Wiebes and her team will be hoping for the race to stay together for a bunch sprint, the majority of the others will be throwing their resources at dropping the European Champion, who has gone largely unbeaten in sprints with the exception of Team DSM’s Charlotte Kool, who will not line up in Cittiglio.
Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Balsamo goes into the race as defending champion but she and her team will want to make the race hard in the hope of putting Wiebes in trouble. Luckily, she is backed up by Brodie Chapman and Shirin van Anrooij while Amanda Spratt and Gaia Realini have the climbing bases covered.
Binda is a race that can be won in myriad ways, and has seen solo breakaways make it all the way to the line in multiple editions. One rider who is prone to such attacks – and will be racing with a vengeance after her Strade Bianche disqualification – is Kristen Faulkner of Team Jayco AlUla. The American went on a long-range solo move at Strade which didn’t pay off but saw her come close. Jayco have hedged their sprinting bets too with Australian pair Alex Manly and Ruby Roseman Gannon.
Binda has been won by Italian riders for two years in a row and saw an all-Italian podium in 2022. With the seemingly endless influx of Italian talent in the women’s peloton in recent years there are plenty of options to keep the race in home-grown hands. While former winner Elisa Longo Borghini is forced to sit the race out while she recovers from Covid, the likes of Silvia Persico and Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ), Soraya Paladin (Canyon//SRAM), and Marta Cavalli and Vittoria Guazzini (FDJ SUEZ), are all more than capable of carrying the baton (although Cavalli had recently been pulled from racing while recovering from the concussion she sustained at the Tour de France Femmes last year.)
With such an attritional course featuring eleven climbs over its 139 km, Binda is a race wide open for whoever chooses to grab it with both hands. In its 49 year history it has favoured those who are brave enough to launch a gutsy move, or teams who are solid enough to take control of the race.