Elisa Balsamo disqualified from Paris-Roubaix for sticky bottle

Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2022 - 2nd Edition - Denain - Roubaix 124,7 km - 16/04/2022 - Elisa Balsamo (ITA - Trek-Segafredo)- photo Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) at the start of Paris-Roubaix Femmes (Image credit: Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency)

World Champion Elisa Balsamo was disqualified from Paris-Roubaix Femmes for taking an illegal tow from her Trek-Segafredo team car as she chased back on after a puncture.

The Italian punctured as the race hit Mons-en-Pévèle with 48km to go, and television footage later showed her accepting a sticky bottle from her team car as she sought to close the gap on the leaders after the cobbled sector.

Trek-Segafredo confirmed Balsamo’s disqualification in a post on social media. “Unfortunately, Elisa Balsamo has been disqualified for chasing back to the bunch illegally (sticky bottle),” read the statement. “She has been pulled from the race.”

Balsamo had entered Paris-Roubaix among the favourites for victory after a remarkable sequence of wins this spring at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem.

Trek-Segafredo lined up with one of the strongest selections, and Balsamo’s teammate Elisa Longo Borghini went on to win in a solo breakaway, and Lucinda Brand on the podium in third place.

At the end of the race Longo Borghini made mention of all her teammates.

“Honestly, I wish I could bring all of my teammates to the podium today because it was a great team performance today, and I need to thank them all. Lucinda was perfect, and everyone was there where they needed to be in every sector. We were a determined squad and ready for everything today. It was a huge team performance, and without them, I would not win any single race.

“And also, this is a little bit for Elisa Balsamo, who was disqualified, but sometimes in the race, you grab a sticky bottle,” she said about her teammate being cited by the UCI officials for an illegal move when trying to rejoin the peloton after a puncture. “The rule is the rule, but you still feel a little bit sorry.”

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