Elisa Balsamo’s delivers a perfect sprint to win Trofeo Alfredo Binda

Elisa Balsamo’s delivers a perfect sprint to win Trofeo Alfredo Binda

If there was any doubt to what the Trek-Segafredo team plan was coming into Trofeo Alfredo Binda by the final kilometers those questions were long gone. The entire Team, including last year’s champion Elisa Longo Borghini, was committed to bringing Elisa Balsamo to the finish to launch her world champion sprint.
From a reduced group of 24 riders, Balsamo used the lead out from Team SD Worx, and with a certitude and incredible patience, launched her sprint.
In the last 500 meters, she appeared too far behind.  And still, when the sprint started, she waited. Right until it seemed impossible.
However, after an aggressive and hilly race, and with a committed Trek-Segafredo team working for a sprint ending on a tricky uphill to the line, the World Champion only had to deliver the final punch.  And she did it flawlessly.
Elisa Balsamo: “Today the team was perfect from the first k to the last k,” said Balsamo. “We did a great job!  At the end, we managed the sprint perfectly, all the team was with me. To have the whole team working like we did… yeah, we were perfect today.”
“I am feeling good, and my morale is high. I knew that if I could pass the last climb that I had a good chance in the sprint. I like this sprint and I knew that I had to make it short, and so I did. This race is one of the most important races of our calendar, and it is like a home race, so I am very happy.”
“I really have to thank my teammates because at one point in the race we all decided to go for the sprint.  Elisa, Ellen and Shirin were perfect – more than perfect – to support me. It was a great boost of confidence for me in this moment to have such great riders at my disposal.”
“I think the lead out was prefect, and I did a great sprint tactically. The finish was uphill, it was fast, but the road rises at the end so as much as you can wait to start the sprint the more power you can put to the road. I think it was the right choice.”
“I was a bit far back in the final turn, but it was my decision to start so far back.”
“Of course, I have to mention the great but unseen work by Audrey (Cordon Ragot) and Leah Thomas in the first part of the race. When you are able to get to the final sprint with full energy it’s not only because I have good condition, but because I have teammates who saved me [expending] energy during the race and in a finish like this it’s essential.”
“Compared to last year, I feel my climbing has improved. My teammates kept a regular pace and chased after the climbs, which was perfect.”
“The pre-race plan was not set – we have Elisa (Longo Borghini) who had freedom to attack and make a selection like last year. And our second option was a sprint finish if Elisa’s attempt did not work, and that’s what happened today.”
“It has been the best start of the season in my career. The jersey is giving me confidence and also much emotion with all the people cheering for you and asking for photos. The change of team is also giving me opportunities and to be racing side by side with great riders. It is a great group of strong riders that are keen to help each other to take the win for the team.”
“I am in a team that has the strength to lead the race and manage it. For a rider like me this is amazing. We create our chances and not just waiting for what the others will do.”
“Winning my first WorldTour race in Italy is a special emotion. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the Northern races and I can do so with top confidence.”