Elisa Balsamo sprints to 2nd place in Stage 4, adding to the Team’s two wins in the four-day race
Stage 4 offered the flattest albeit not easiest parcours of the four-day Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and there was no question what the Team’s race plan would be after Elisa Balsamo sprinted to victory the first day.
There was no chance for the antagonists with other teams also thinking sprint finish, keeping the accelerator pressed firmly all race.
“It was a tough and intense stage,” said Balsamo. “It was raced from the beginning at a super-fast pace. In the end, looking at my race data, it wasn’t the elevation that made the difference today, but the way we covered it.”
At eight kilometers to go the bunch was all together and heading full gas to the line.
Trek-Segafredo began its lead-out early, using the power of Elynor Bäckstedt, Ellen van Dijk and finally Elisa Longo Borghini to launch Balsamo.
A textbook lead-out. Except Marta Bastianelli spoiled the ending. The Team UAE sprinter played off the Team’s cohesive effort and shot around Balsamo in the last meters to thwart the hat trick.
“I am proud and so grateful to my teammates for their valuable work again today,” continued Balsamo. “They put me in the right condition for the sprint. From the first to the last kilometer, I was assisted in the best possible way, which allowed me to arrive at the finish line with all my energy for the sprint. As in the first stage, everything worked very well, but I have to say with the utmost honesty that Bastianelli was the strongest today.”
Ellen van Dijk finished in 4th place overall, showing superb early season form and adding to her Stage 2 victory.
For the first race of the season, the Trek-Segafredo women surpassed expectations.
“It was the first opportunity to measure our teamwork in a race contest and the results we got say a lot about our level of competitiveness,” pointed out Balsamo. “I think that only the icing on the cake was missing today, both for the work we’ve done and to crown this debut. But despite that, this week was excellent.”
“For me, I go home very happy, and in view of the upcoming Opening Weekend, I couldn’t ask for more,” concluded Balsamo.