Elisa Balsamo deliberate to profit from her 12 months as world champion and that’s exactly what she did in the course of the 2022 season with Trek-Segafredo.
Balsamo bookended a exceptional 12 months within the rainbow jersey with victories at stage 1 of the Setmana Valenciana in February and on the ultimate stage 5 on the Ceratizit Problem by La Vuelta on Sunday.
“I actually needed to win at present, the final day of this unimaginable season within the rainbow jersey. I received the primary race, in February, on the Setmana Valenciana, and with at present’s win it is like I am closing a circle. As we speak’s is a big day, filled with feelings. Madrid was a loopy setting,” Balsamo mentioned.
“I’m extraordinarily glad. That is my final race with the [rainbow] jersey and there’s no higher strategy to finish such a beautiful season for me. As we speak we actually had been the strongest group, and I’ve to say an enormous thanks you to my group.”
Balsamo stormed throughout the end line on stage 5 of the Ceratizit Problem profitable the bunch dash forward of Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) and Marta Bastianelli (UAE Group ADQ).
It was her final race with commerce group Trek-Segafredo earlier than the 2022 UCI Highway World Championships held from September 18-25 in Wollongong, Australia, the place the rainbow jersey might change arms.
As she crossed the end line in Madrid, she grabbed the entrance of her rainbow jersey and kissed it. It was a gesture indicative of how she felt about her unimaginable run of success since profitable the world title final 12 months and sporting it throughout her first season racing on a Ladies’s WorldTeam, Trek-Segafredo.
Balsamo secured the world title on the 2021 UCI Highway World Championships on the streets of Leuven. Her Italian teammates displayed a master-class lead-out and delivered her to the victory forward of Dutch favorite Marianne Vos.
It was a victory that was nearly symbolic of not solely her personal success however of the broader success of ladies’s biking in Italy.
At simply 24 years previous, the highly effective sprinter has solely been racing on the skilled biking circuit for six seasons and he or she attributed a lot of her earlier development and success to the Italian-based Continental group Valcar-Journey & Service, the place her profession started in 2017. It is a improvement group that has helped within the early careers of lots of the nation’s prime riders.
On this group, Balsamo had received levels on the Tour of California, Problem by La Vuelta, and in one-day races just like the GP Oetingen, Dwars door de Westhoek, Omloop van Borsele and Trofee Maarten Wynants, together with quite a few different podiums.
This 12 months alone her Italian compatriots Elisa Longo Borghini received Paris-Roubaix and Ladies’s Tour, whereas Marta Cavalli received Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and completed second total on the Giro d’Italia Donne. Different profitable performances have come from Marta Bastianelli and Erica Magnaldi (each UAE Group ADQ), Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM), Chiara Consonni and Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (each Valcar), Rachele Barbieri (Liv Racing Xstra) and Gaia Realini (Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria).
Balsamo has been a big a part of her nation’s success within the Ladies’s WorldTour with what she referred to as a ‘golden week‘ of wins at Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem. She additionally secured a stage win on the Tour de Suisse, two wins at Giro d’Italia Donne, and received the street race on the Italian Nationwide Championships.
Again in February, Cyclingnews requested Balsamo what a profitable season would seem like in 2022, and he or she mentioned, “It is going to be a brand new expertise, and I am constructive about it, and I hope for some wins. I do know that it will likely be tough, however I’m able to work arduous for it.”
In hindsight, Balsamo has outdone herself within the first 12 months of her contract on a Ladies’s WorldTeam whereas beneath stress within the rainbow bands. Her remaining stage 5 victory at Ceratizit Problem by La Vuelta marked her tenth victory of the 2022 season, to not point out quite a few podium performances.
The Italian Federation has not but confirmed its choice for the World Championships. Nonetheless, Italy has a number of potential contenders in Balsamo, Longo Borghini and Silvia Persico, who additionally received a stage on the Ceratizit Problem by La Vuelta.
There’s 2,433m of elevation achieve within the 164.3km ladies’s elite/U23 race throughout the Mount Keira circuit and the town circuits that embrace Mount Nice. Balsamo has confirmed that she will be able to each climb and dash on difficult parcours.
It would not be out of the realm of risk to see Balsamo proceed her run of success and win a second consecutive title on the World Championships and spend one other season within the rainbow jersey.