Elisa Ratto is the youngest rider of the Italian women's team but proved to be the best of the azzurre on home roads by taking the bronze medal in the elite women's road at the world championships at the age of just 19.
She finished sixth in the 2012 road race, in her first year as a senior, and stepped up to lead the Italian team in the finale of this year's race after Tatiana Guderzo was hit by cramp and sprinter Giorgia Bronzini was dropped.
When Marianne Vos attacked on the steep Via Salviati - the second climb on each circuit - Ratto and Emma Johansson were the only riders able to limit their losses and mount any kind of chase. Vos eventually rode away to victory, with Johansson beating Ratto to take silver.
"Being on the podium again is like a dream come true," Ratto said.
"It was a fantastic day, there were a lot of people cheering for me along the course, so I told myself to do something and give it everything. It's difficult to explain how I feel today.
"On the final lap we decided who to mark. I was to stay on Marianne's all the way to the finish, while the other two were to attack. I think we did our best."
Ratto has a promising future but just wanted to celebrate another Italian medal in the women's road race.
"I want to enjoy today but after the last two years I'm full of hope for the future. But first I want to celebrate this medal with my teammates," she said.
"It's not easy to make step up from the junior ranks. In Italy the junior races are mostly on circuits with short climbs. But in the Elite class, there are hardly any flat races. It's important to train well and keep trying even when you don’t get any results. You can slowly reach the top."
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