It has been, by any metric, fairly per week for Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo). Already winner of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda final weekend and the Basic Brugge-De Panne midweek, the world champion accomplished a formidable hat-trick by sprinting to victory at Gent-Wevelgem.
The Italian was backed by a robust Trek-Segafredo squad all through the afternoon, although after making it safely throughout the ultimate ascent of the Kemmelberg, she endured a late scare when the entrance group briefly break up with 12km remaining.
Teammate Ellen van Dijk was known as again to assist Elisa Longo Borghini and Shirin van Anrooij sew the 2 teams again collectively and Balsamo proceeded to carry up her finish of the discount on Vanackerestraat by outsprinting Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ceratizit-WNT Professional Biking Staff).
“We panicked slightly bit however our coach within the automobile was so good, she was talking with us and Ellen stopped too: she was within the entrance group and he or she stopped to assist us shut the hole so we did an awesome staff job,” mentioned Balsamo.
“I’ve slightly little bit of strain as a result of such tremendous robust riders are working for me. We knew this could possibly be a tough race with a dash ultimately, and I’m feeling good, so we determined to go all for the dash.”
A 12 months in the past, within the colors of Valcar–Journey & Service, the 24-year-old Balsamo positioned fourth at Gent-Wevelgem – “my favorite race,” she mentioned – however returned because the favorite after her string of latest successes. Regardless of the star names within the Trek-Segafredo line-up, her kind over the opening section of the 2022 marketing campaign meant that the squad’s Gent-Wevelgem problem was constructed round her.
“We’re a extremely robust staff and likewise we imagine rather a lot in one another. I actually suppose we gained these three races as a result of we have been the most effective staff, so I actually wish to say thanks to all my teammates,” mentioned Balsamo, paying tribute to their unity of objective. “We actually like to assist one another, we actually really feel like we’re only one staff going for only one large outcome and I feel this makes the distinction.”
Balsamo’s sequence of success makes her an apparent contender for the Tour of Flanders subsequent Sunday, even when she deflected a query on her place among the many high echelon of favourites. “Now I don’t wish to give it some thought, I solely wish to relaxation slightly bit,” she mentioned.
Balsamo has now gained 5 occasions since she was topped world champion in Leuven final September, and she’s going to search to emulate teammate Lizzie Deignan by touchdown the Ronde within the rainbow jersey. The well-known garment, it appears, has been an inspiration quite than a burden.
“It’s not a straightforward jersey to put on, however after I’m racing I nearly overlook I’ve it, as a result of I’m completely targeted on the race,” Balsamo mentioned. “It’s slightly bit tough earlier than and after the race, however throughout the race I nearly forgot I had this jersey.”