Elisa Balsamo wins her debut race as World Champion

Elisa Balsamo wins her debut race as World Champion

17.02.2022: What rainbow curse? There is a myth in pro cycling that world champions often struggle after winning the rainbow jersey. But Trek-Segafredo showed teamwork is the best remedy t

 
What rainbow curse?  



 
There is a myth in pro cycling that world champions often struggle after winning the rainbow jersey. But Trek-Segafredo showed teamwork is the best remedy to put such a spell – real or not – to rest.



In what looked like a repeat of the 2021 World Championships in Leuven, except this time it was the Trek-Segafredo colors leading the race, Elisa Longo-Borghini delivered a perfect lead-out as Elisa Balsamo sprinted to victory in Stage one at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.



While Balsamo made good on the Team's first race of the season, it was a cohesive, selfless effort that made it possible.



When you have World Time Trial champion Ellen van Dijk and Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini working together to pull back you back into the bunch, then chase a late dangerous breakaway, you can afford to sit back a relax until it's your turn to shine.



Balsamo only had to hit the accelerator in the final few hundred meters.  When she did, she easily pulled away to take the win by a few bike lengths.





Elisa Balsamo:

 
“A debut like that was in my dreams, but not really in the day's expectations. Last night, in the pre-race meeting, Ina (Teutenberg, director) raised the possibility of such a finish. A lot would depend on my ability to hold out on the last climb. And then the team would do the rest to allow me to sprint. Ina's prophecy came true, and my teammates did an impressive job. It was a perfect day!




“Ellen (van Dijk) and Elisa (Longo Borghini) were nothing short of perfect. Just before the top of the last KOM, they brought me back to the first chase group. Then, in about 6-7 kilometers, they closed the gap with the escapees. At that point, they pulled straight and put me in the best condition for the sprint. The last two-three kilometers, for a sprinter, is like a bull seeing the red flag.



 A lot, or maybe everything, is played on instinct. I felt I was in the best condition to win, I couldn't ask for more, even though I felt the responsibility to repay the work of my teammates. When we caught the escapees, that's when I realized it. I said to myself: ‘Well, now it's my turn.’



“From the point of view of expectations, even my performance went beyond what I thought – I didn't think I had such good feelings. It's the first race of the year, after an intense period. It's normal to carry around a few question marks. Being able to perform at such a good level already makes me super happy. Tomorrow and the day after will be two tough stages, then we'll see if we can make the most of our chances in the last stage.




“Getting off to such a good start is a boost of confidence, the best way to make my debut with Trek-Segafredo, but my outlook is still unchanged. I have to keep my feet firmly on the ground, we're just at the beginning and I just have to look forward. What needs to be emphasized, and perhaps the most important thing, is the feeling that has been created with the team. The immediacy with which certain mechanisms have been created is more than positive.”



Trek Segafredo, photo: ©sprint cycling

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17.02.2022 / MaP

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