One More! Balsamo Wins Final Stage of Setmana Valenciana

The Italian rider dominates the last sprint of the Spanish race after another strong performance by her teammates: “There is nothing more beautiful than finishing a great team effort.”

Elisa Balsamo bookended her first race of the year in the best possible way. Three days ago in Gandía, the Lidl-Trek sprinter won the opening stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana and today she repeated the script on the final one.

On the finish line in Valencia, Balsamo literally dominated the showdown with the other sprinters, once again crowning the huge effort that the entire team had made to put her in the best possible condition. Not an easy task today, because everyone expected a sprint and Balsamo was listed as the favorite. But neither Elisa nor the team flinched, putting on a performance of strength and character.

The sprint has been launched. Quagliotto and Sierra finished Elisa (©GettyImages)

The success was therefore a well-deserved reward for the Team that, in addition to the two stage wins, can be happy for the white jersey as best young rider took by Shirin van Anrooij (9th in GC) and the final top five of Gaia Realini (5th, at 37″ from winner Reusser, SD Worx).

Definitely a good debut in the season also for Van Anrooij (©GettyImages)

The win in Elisa’s words

Just like in the first stage, creating the conditions for a sprint required a lot of effort, so my first thought goes to my teammates who made this possible. In the race meeting this morning, Ina [Teutenberg] warned us that it would be a ‘friendless’ stage. After the convincing performance on stage 1, I knew that all eyes were on me and this, understandably, led to no alliances in the race.

The other teams raced hard, particularly on the last climb. Then, there were lots of attacks… but again today we proved to be a great team. We defended ourselves on the climb, because Visma did a great job making the selection, but I didn’t lose contact. I received essential help from all my teammates, then Yaya [Sanguineti] managed the finale as only she knows how to, always taking me to the right place at the right time.

The Team: Spratty, Yaya, Gaia, Elisa, Shirin and Lauretta (©GettyImages)

I think the effort of yesterday’s stage was felt in the final sprint, even for a phenomenon like Marianne Vos. I managed my strength yesterday with today’s stage in mind. In short, I took a great win, I’m very happy. The condition is certainly good for being at the first race of the year, but I still want to emphasise how the teamwork was, today and in the first stage. When I see my teammates working so hard, I always feel the positive pressure to crown their efforts. I have often been in their shoes in the past, I know how much effort it takes to put the captain in the best possible position. Really, there is nothing more beautiful than finishing a great team effort.

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