Already an accomplished track cyclist, the 19-year-old has shown impressive road results this season
She’s only 19 and in her first professional year, but Italian Letizia Paternoster has made the transfer from racing track as a junior to mixing it up with the big stars in elite road cycling with ease.
Of course, when you have been riding a bicycle nearly your entire life, it helps. Letizia claims she was riding before she could walk properly, and at age six when her mother tried to introduce her to dancing, she firmly said no. It wasn’t long before she began to imitate her older brother Matteo, who was racing in a local team, and no surprise when Letizia started competing, she was successful from the get-go.
Letizia is one of the most talented junior athletes to come out of Italy in some time. She is a multiple Junior European and World Champion on the track and has won titles in numerous disciplines, including Individual and Team Pursuits, Omnium, Madison, Elimination, Scratch, and the Points Race. In 2017, she also won both the Junior road and time trial titles at the National Championships and went on to claim the bronze medal in the Junior road race at the World Championships in Bergen, Norway.
Letizia turned pro at the beginning of this year and is currently racing for the Astana Women’s Team. She won her first pro race, the GP della Liberazione, in April, but winning a stage and the overall in the Festival Elsy Jacobs (Luxembourg) put her on everyone’s radar.
She finished tenth in the spring Classic Gent-Wevelgem and ninth in Crescent Vårgårda, both WorldTour one-day races – impressive results for a neo-pro who just stepped up from the Junior ranks. Letizia also added a bronze medal in the U23 European Championships Road Race in July.
“I am excited and hugely motivated to join a big international team like Trek,” said Letizia, when we reached her for comment. “My career at the Elite level has started pretty well this year with the Astana Team, now I have a new opportunity to keep growing and learning from a group of strong and competitive teammates.”
Letizia will continue to combine both road and track racing and has big goals set in both disciplines. Over the next two years, her ambition is to keep establishing herself among the top competitors on the road with a focus on one-day races, which seem to suit her strengths, although this year’s GC win in Etsy Jacobs shows she can handle short stage races too. She is a standout prospect in Italian track cycling – winning everything she possibly could in the Junior level – so obviously competing for a medal in Tokyo in the 2020 Olympic Games is at the top of her list.
“I am also happy that Trek will allow me to keep competing on the track, in addition to the road calendar, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in mind,” she continued. “A new exciting phase of my career is starting now, and I look forward to giving the best of me. I am grateful for the trust Trek Factory Racing has put in me, and I am determined to reward them by living up to the expectations and bringing valuable results to the team.”