As one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton, it was only a matter of time before Elisa Balsamo signed a contract with a Women's WorldTour team. The Italian sprinter will depart her longtime team Valcar Travel & Service after signing a three-year contract with Trek-Segafredo, beginning in 2022 through the end of 2024.
"Signing with Trek-Segafredo means satisfying my desire to grow alongside champions. I'll be racing with riders who already won a lot, who have huge experience and great charisma," Balsamo said in a team press release on Monday.
"For a young and ambitious rider, as I feel I am, this is a key factor to make the leap in quality."
Balsamo is just 23 years old but has an extensive list of achievements that includes winning stages at the Tour of California and Challenge by La Vuelta, along with one-day wins at Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, Dwars door de Westhoek, Trofee Maarten Wynants, the under-23 title at European Championships, and podium performances at numerous other races.
"Elisa is a young, super-talented rider who has already shown important growth in the last few years. In her, we see a great potential and big room for more growth to become a real top competitor in the Classics and in the fast finishes," said Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Trek-Segafredo's head sports director.
"We are pleased we signed a three-year deal with her because it will allow us to work in the medium term to take her potential to the next level. We're really excited to start this journey together, to see her progressing more and more I’m sure it will be an intriguing challenge for both."
Trek-Segafredo launched their women's team in 2019 and it has become one of the top competing teams in the world. It has also quickly gained notoriety for offering above the required minimum salary and maternity benefits stipulated by the UCI for a Women' WorldTeam. The team has announced only two incoming transfers so far, with Balsamo and Leah Thomas (from Movistar), as Ruth Winder is set to retire at the end of the season.
"Since its creation, I have watched Trek-Segafredo with admiration: the approach to races, the organization, and the attention to detail. It's a team that has contributed to a change of pace in women's cycling, raising the level of professionalism," said Balsamo.
"I know I’ll be in a super-organized team, one that is able to follow its riders at 360° as only a few are able to. For me, it will be an important change, but certainly not a leap into the void."
Balsamo said she will focus on the early spring races in her debut with Trek-Segafredo in 2022.
"The races that have always attracted me the most are those in the North and I think I have the right characteristics to add potential and chances to the team. Being competitive there will be my first and biggest goal for the new season."
Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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