The 2011 women’s road World Cup kicks off Sunday with the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, held near Cittiglio, Italy. The 121-kilometer race is held on four laps of a hilly circuit.
Two-time defending champion Marianne Vos, the reigning World Cup champion, will not be there to defend her title as she competes in the track world championships instead.
2005 and 2007 winner Nicole Cooke (Cipollini-Giambenini) is among the favorites this year, as is HTC-Highroad’s Evelyn Stevens.
“We’ve never won this race, so that’s always a little bit extra motivation, plus it’s the first round of the World Cup, so there are lots of reasons why we’ll be trying very hard this weekend,” said HTC-Highroad team manager Ronny Lauke.
“Evelyn already won a race in Germany last week, the Koeln-Shuld-Frechen, which is a good sign for her.”
Lauke said the hilly course makes it a race of attrition.
“Normally the climb cuts down the peloton and you just end up with a few riders left on the front who fight it out for the win. If the weather’s bad, which it easily can be at this time of year, it speeds up that process.”
“But we’ve got a good mix of sprinters and breakaway specialists in our line-up, so we’re prepared for any sort of outcome.” Start list