Trofeo Binda: How its unpredictability makes it so adored

Trek-Segafredo are ready to defend last year’s win with more cards to play

With only a few days to go before the 2022 Trofeo Binda, the biggest question is: what kind of race will it be this year?

Fans and media, who understand the importance and unpredictability of the race, are the ones asking the question, but perhaps those most interested in the query are the riders who will be the protagonists on Sunday.

The question, simple and ubiquitous for major events, takes on a slightly different value in Trofeo Binda because the number of acceptable answers is much higher.

We have asked 2021 winner Elisa Longo Borghini, World Champion Elisa Balsamo and European Champion Ellen van Dijk help us understand what to expect in the fickle WorldTour classic.

Elisa digging in on the sterrato of Strade Bianche - © Eloise Mavian /

Elisa Longo Borghini

“Experience has taught me that the Binda is a very open race and this year, if possible, even more uncertain than in the past. We are living a transition phase in women’s cycling, in which the leap in quality and riders’ level of competitiveness are evident. But, above all, there is a big growth in the quality of the teams.

“I can see this in FDJ – they have already shown a gutsy attitude to be a top contender with Brown and Ludwig. I expect them to play an attacking role, racing hard to exploit the fast sprint that both have in a small group arrival. Jumbo-Visma could, on the other side, aim to keep the race close in favor of Vos. The same could be done by SDWorx for Kopecky. DSM will aim for a hard race to bring out Lippert, while with Canyon I expect an attacking race to shuffle the cards.

“The key moment will be the last climb to Orino: a stumbling block for those who want a bunch arrival, and a launching pad for those who want to attack. The only certainty, in this context, is that it will be a very hard-fought final. My prediction? A small group of 15 riders where, of course, there will be one or more Trek-Segafredo jerseys.”

Elisa Balsamo climbing to Piazza del Campo, Siena - ©DavidPowell

Elisa Balsamo

“Trofeo Binda is a race that lends itself to multiple interpretations. There’s terrain for climbers, to attack and make the difference with the group, and there’s terrain for the teams that want a sprint finish because from the last KOM to the finish line there are still many kilometers.

“The determining factor is the approach of the teams. If there are one or two teams determined to catch back, it would be tough for the attackers. The same can happen if the chase is led by a group of different riders that has a spirit of cooperation. This uncertainty will be dissipated on the road, and I believe that, as Trek-Segafredo, we are among the best equipped for any kind of outcome and scenario. For a race like the Trofeo Binda, it’s definitely a big advantage.”

Ellen van Dijk in action at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - @SprintCycling

Ellen van Dijk

“It’s been a long time since I have raced Trofeo Binda! I actually didn’t realise just how long until today, but I am looking forward to being back at the start line. I have good memories of my last time here when I helped my teammate at the time, Coryn Rivera, sprint for the win. I hope I can help my teammates in the same way this year.

“I really like this race, but normally I don’t come here because it doesn’t totally suit my characteristics as a rider. However, I’ve done well at this race in the past, so I’m happy to be here. I arrived in Italy on Monday and I am staying and training with Elisa [Longo Borghini], which has been super nice. This is her home region and for me, it’s great to be here training.

“This race came into my program a little later as I wanted to get in some good training kilometers in this region. Plus, I would really like to support Elisa in her home race. She won it, of course, last year, and I think she is in great shape once again. I am here to try to help the team as much as possible. I don’t have any personal expectations, but as a Team we can be among the leaders on Sunday.”