The first of many: Shirin Van Anrooij wins Trofeo Binda

The Dutch talent solos to her maiden professional victory ahead of teammate Elisa Balsamo who wins the bunch sprint for second

For the third consecutive year Trek-Segafredo conquers the Trofeo Binda. After Elisa Longo Borghini in 2021 and Elisa Balsamo the year after, it was now the moment for Shirin van Anrooij to reign supreme at the Italian classic. The flying Dutchwoman took off with 25km to go and held off an elite bunch of the sport’s top names.

I actually can't believe it. This is my first victory for the team. Binda has always been one of my favorite races but I never expected to stay away. I was expecting them to close the gap and then for Elisa to win the sprint, but somehow I managed to win this race.

Van Anrooij arrived at the finish line alone, thanks to a well-timed attack with 25km to go. Behind her, a tight group that never managed to close the small but always consistent gap. In the end, Shirin arrived 23 seconds ahead of the group, which was lead in by Elisa Balsamo, marking Trek-Segafredo’s third 1-2 result of the season. Vittoria Guazzini (FDJ-Suez) rounded off the podium in third.

Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio 2023 - 24th Edition - Maccagno - Cittiglio 139 km - 19/03/2023 - Shirin Van Anrooij (NED - Trek - Segafredo) - Elisa Balsamo (ITA - Trek - Segafredo) - Vittoria Guazzini (ITA - FDJ - SUEZ) - photo Alessandro Perrone/SprintCyclingAgency©2023

In Shirin’s words:

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.

I think on top of the final climb I really started to believe that I was going to win. I knew I had to get to the top of the first climb without them riding into my wheel, because there was a descent and there I could get a few seconds back again. I just rode a steady pace up the last one and at the top I still had around 20-25 seconds, so then it was just a long time trial to the finish.

Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio 2023 - 24th Edition - Maccagno - Cittiglio 139 km - 19/03/2023 - Shirin Van Anrooij (NED - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Alessandro Perrone/SprintCyclingAgency©2023

Winning, what a feeling!

The first victory will be something unforgettable for Shirin. The way she achieved it made it even more special, as did the emotions that accompanied the approach to the race.

“I definitely didn’t expect to start my season in this way. I was a nervous before Nokere. I was looking forward to start racing on the road again but I thought I would really need a lot of races to get into some good form. I wanted to use these races to get into a good shape ahead of the Ardennes. I don’t know how exactly but somehow I am already in really good shape,”

“Talking to the team, I was just hoping to try to go for my first elite win somewhere this season. I wanted to prove I had the same form, at least, as last year so to win already the second race of my season is just amazing. I couldn’t have imagined it.”

Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio 2023 - 24th Edition - Maccagno - Cittiglio 139 km - 19/03/2023 - Elisa Balsamo (ITA - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Roberto Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2023

Second with a smile

For the third time in the season Trek-Segafredo claim the top two podium places. And for Elisa Balsamo there’s more than one reason to be happy.

“Today’s second place is as good as winning. Once again we gave a bold performance as a team. We played our cards the best we could, with a winning strategy that put all our opponents in trouble and allowed Shirin to attack at the right time. Then, she took a great win with her legs and her great talent. I am really happy for her, she deserves it,”

“Personally, I am happy because finishing in the front today was hard. It was a very challenging race. Today’s podium is also worth so much because it comes after a somewhat troubled period. One more step toward the Belgian campaign.”