The big debut for Elisa Balsamo alongside new Trek-Segafredo teammates is still seven weeks away, but she’s made an early first impression by flashing her World Champion jersey bearing the WorldTour squad marks.
The Italian signed a three-year contract with the American squad prior to winning the 157.7-kilometre road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Belgium. Her maiden voyage in the Trek-Segafredo team colours with the rainbow stripes will be at Setmana Valenciana, February 17-20, where she will line up alongside Paris-Roubaix winner Lizzie Deignan and Italian double road champion Elisa Longo Borghini.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re pleased to introduce for the first time our World Champion @Elisa_balsamo and her all-new @TrekSegafredo rainbow kit,” the team posted on its social media Wednesday, with photos of Balsamo admiring the new jersey.
Moving from five seasons with the Valcar programme, 2022 also signaled Balsamo’s step up to the top tier of women’s pro cycling. Balsamo expected to make a strong presence in the cobbled Classics and Strade Bianche with her new team this next season.
"With Trek I can really improve and I feel like I can make a lot of progress there. The team has a lot of big champions, so there’s a lot I can learn from them. I know Elisa Longo Borghini well, of course, but there are other really strong riders like Deignan and van Dijk,” she told Cyclingnews two weeks after donning the new rainbow apparel on the awards podium in Leuven.
“My dream is to win spring Classics, so that’s what I’ll work towards. I really like Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders but they’re all beautiful for me.”
Balsamo had already scored a victory in the rainbow jersey, winning the final day of the six-day Women’s Tour in October with her former Valcar-Travel & Service team. Earlier in the season she won GP Oetingen and backed that up with a string of top-10 rides in the major spring Classics. She looked to improve in the new year on a fourth-place finish in Gent-Wevelgem and a 15th in the Tour of Flanders.
The Italian made her statement on the world stage using a strong lead-out from Longo Borghini and outsprinting the Netherlands' Marianne Vos in the closing metres to take the World title.
Trek-Segafredo will rely on the climbing strength of Balsamo to give the squad extra firepower for the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes. The team noted that early plans include Balsamo to be joined by Deignan, Longo Borghini, European champion Ellen Van Dijk, and French time trial champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot for the team. They also said the World Champion would do double duty with the Giro d’Italia Femminile.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re pleased to introduce for the first time our World Champion @Elisa_balsamo and her all-new @TrekSegafredo rainbow kit 🌈 pic.twitter.com/Ssp3sE1rEtDecember 28, 2021
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