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World champion Balsamo ready for 'different scenarios' at Tour de France

Elisa Balsamo and teammate Elisa Longo Borghini
Elisa Balsamo and teammate Elisa Longo Borghini (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

Elisa Balsamo will be one of the key favourites on the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift's sprint stages, but the Italian is open to other opportunities as Trek-Segafredo chase stage wins and a high overall placing.

Balsamo's compatriot Elisa Longo Borghini will be the team's leader for the general classification, and the world champion will combine her own goals with her helper duties.

"I think a lot of stages are very open to different scenarios," Balsamo said. "So I am ready to try for any sprints but also to potentially go in the breakaways and also to give 100 per cent to help my teammate, Elisa Longo Borghini, go for the GC."

A day where the team will focus on their sprinter, though, is stage 1. Winning on the Champs-Elysées is a big goal for Balsamo, and could see her swap rainbow for yellow.

"Of course, I have some personal goals for the race," she said. "The first day will be a very hard one but being on the podium there is a dream for me."

With several stages suited to puncheurs or breakaways, there could also be more opportunities for Balsamo to better the purer sprinters in the bunch.

Balsamo is already having a successful July, winning two stages at the Giro d'Italia Donne and wearing the maglia rosa. As one of many riders racing both the Giro and the Tour - and with big goals at both - the last two weeks have been spent trying to recover and prepare as much as possible.

"After the Giro Donne, I went to altitude training where I was trying to find the best balance between rest and training," Balsamo said of her preparation. "I think I did a good job and hopefully my body is as ready for the Tour as my mind."

Wearing the world champion's rainbow jersey will make Balsamo a watched rider at the Tour de France, but it's something that adds an extra layer of significance to the highly-anticipated race.

"It's going to be even more special for me because I will be the rainbow jersey in the first edition of this new Tour de France Femmes so it's amazing for me and I am also very happy about this."

"I am very excited for the Tour de France Femmes and I really want to enjoy every moment of it from the first stage to the last one. Of course, it is going to be an epic race with a lot of people on the roads so, I am really proud to be a part of our team for the race."

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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.