Gaia Realini set to join Trek-Segafredo

Three-year contract for the young Italian climber, a rising and raw talent the Team has decided to nurture for the future

At 21 years old, Gaia Realini is preparing for the most important step of her young career. After two years in a small Italian team, Isolmat, she will land in the WorldTour in 2023.

“This is a dream that comes true, I am super excited,” said Gaia. “I have always looked at Trek-Segafredo as the best team in the peloton. A unique style, the image of the perfect team. I couldn’t really ask for better for my future.”

Ina Teutenberg, Team Director of Trek-Segafredo: “Realini is a young athlete who, first of all, will need time to adjust to the new reality of the WorldTour and to integrate with our structure. The qualities we saw from her on the climbs at Giro d’Italia were impressive and she deserves our trust. She has specific characteristics that we believe will be a positive addition to our roster. We see in her significant room to grow.”

On two occasions Realini has demonstrated her climbing prowess at the Giro Donne. In 2021, her first attendance, she finished 11th overall and 2nd in the youth classification, as well as taking two top ten placements (in the queen stage in Pratonevoso and the mountain TT).

A few weeks ago, in the 2022 edition, she confirmed herself as a GC prospect (13th overall and 3rd in youth classification) as well as a top climber, having placed 7th and 5th in the two mountain stages of Passo Maniva a San Lorenzo Dorsino.

“It was the first, real chance to show the world who I was, to draw attention to myself. So far I have experienced professional cycling in a small reality, very different from what I will find next year. To be honest, beyond what I could see from the outside, I don’t even really know what to expect. It will be a huge leap in quality, with so many new things to discover. Definitely the best I could aspire to grow.”

At just 150cm tall and 40kg in weight, Realini is a pure climber. “These characteristics are my key to ride strong in the mountains. For an Italian rider, man or woman, the myth to be inspired by is always Pantani, the essence of the climber. But my model, as an athlete and as a woman, has always been Elisa Longo Borghini. I have always followed her with great admiration, both on TV and now in the peloton. She’s my point of reference. Learning from her is one of my goals.”

In recent years, Realini has split her season with cyclocross but, from next year, the focus will be exclusively on road.

“So far my experience has been quite limited and I am looking forward to testing myself on the World Tour calendar. My dream for 2023 is to race a major stage race in support of our leaders. The Giro is the race I love the most, but I hope to get to know soon Classics like Liège-Bastogne- Liège or Flèche Wallonne,”

“I will enter the team on tiptoes but with a lot of enthusiasm. I want to learn everything. From the most experienced, like Longo Borghini, Deignan or Van Dijk, and from the youngest and most talented, like van Anrooij. The next few years will also serve me to understand who Gaia really is as a rider. I know myself and I know I still have important room for growth. Knowing myself better will help me focus on what goals to aim for the future and what goals to pursue.”