After a dynamic race with lots of attacks, things came back together on the descent to Cittiglio. On the finishing straight, Balsamo launched her sprint late, passing her competitors on the final metres.
Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) and Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM) rounded out the all-Italian podium behind Balsamo, who sped to her second victory of the 2022 season. With her victory, Balsamo also takes the lead in the UCI Women's WorldTour ranking.
Attacks flowed throughout the race, and all looked set for a sprint finish when Trek-Segafredo chased down a dangerous move at five kilometres to go.
SD Worx had other ideas as Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Marlen Reusser went on the offensive late on, though both, too, were caught two kilometres out before the reduced lead group sprinted it out for the win.
"Today the team was perfect from the first kilometre to the last kilometre," said Balsamo after the race. "We did a great job! At the end, we managed the sprint perfectly, all the team was with me. To have the whole team working like we did… yeah, we were perfect today.
"I am feeling good, and my morale is high. I knew that if I could pass the last climb that I had a good chance in the sprint. I like this sprint and I knew that I had to make it short, and so I did. This race is one of the most important races of our calendar, and it is like a home race, so I am very happy.
"I really have to thank my teammates because at one point in the race we all decided to go for the sprint. Elisa, Ellen and Shirin were perfect – more than perfect – to support me. It was a great boost of confidence for me in this moment to have such great riders at my disposal."
How it unfolded
The race consisted of a short section from the starting town of Cocquio Trevisago to the finishing town of Cittiglio, followed by one long circuit of 44.4 km and four laps of a shorter 17.6 km circuit with two climbs, a short steep ascent to Casale and a longer, more gradual climb to Orino. However, a road accident on the race route caused a neutralisation halfway through the long circuit and forced a neutralised detour, adding a few kilometres to the race distance.
When the race was re-started near Cittiglio, the three early attackers, Gulnaz Khatuntseva (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad), Michaela Drummond (BePink), and Giorgia Vettorello (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) were given the 30-second advantage they held when the race was stopped, and they quickly increased this to 1:45 minutes when they passed the finish line in Cittiglio with four laps to go.
Mikayla Harvey (Canyon-SRAM) tried to bridge to the front trio on the Orino climb, but they were all caught before the next passage of the finish line. On the antepenultimate lap, an attack by Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) on the climb to Casale led to a front group of eight riders who were 14 seconds ahead at the foot of the Orino climb. An acceleration by Team DSM's Liane Lippert closed this gap, and an attack by Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) and Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) on the descent also came to naught.
Fewer than 30 riders were left in the peloton going into the last two laps. Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ) attacked on the Casale climb and got away, increasing her advantage to 13 seconds. But when Marie Le Net (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) pushed the pace on the lower slopes of the Orino climb, Magnaldi was quickly reeled in.
Le Net's teammate Marta Cavalli launched an attack but could not get away, and her teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig then counterattacked. The Danish climber held a slender advantage of eight seconds going into the descent where Reusser attacked from the peloton and passed Uttrup Ludwig, who was picked up by Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-Sram).
This trio came up to Reusser just before the finish line, starting the final lap with a 19-second advantage on what remained of the peloton. As the front group could not agree to cooperate and only Chabbey continued to pull, the peloton came back on the Casale climb. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) made a move but could not get away, and 22 riders entered the final ascent to Orino together.
Cavalli put in an attack with 10km to go that was followed by Lippert, Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM), and Moolman-Pasio. They got a small gap that was closed by Longo Borghini, and Cavalli immediately attacked again.
This time the gap was closed by Moolman-Pasio who kept up the pressure, with Uttrup Ludwig, Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ), Lippert, Chabbey, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx), and Cavalli jumping on her wheel. Lippert attacked again just before the top of the climb, dropping Chabbey and increasing the gap to the next group.
At the top of the climb, the peloton was 14 seconds behind, but Trek-Segafredo closed that gap with 5.3 kilometres to the line. Van den Broek-Blaak tried to launch a solo move but was brought back by Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) who controlled the group with her teammates Longo Borghini and Ellen Van Dijk.
A last attempt by Reusser with 2.4km to go was neutralised by Longo Borghini. In the final kilometre, Reusser brought the SD Worx train to the front, and Van den Broek-Blaak started her sprint very early, right after the last turn with 300 metres to go, possibly to lead out Elena Cecchini.
As Van den Broek-Blaak faded, Balsamo came past on her right with superior speed to take the victory. Bertizzolo and Paladin also passed the Dutchwoman on the final metres to round out the final podium.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women||3:36:29|
|2||Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ|
|3||Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon-Sram Racing|
|4||Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx|
|5||Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx|
|6||Coryn Labecki (USA) Jumbo-Visma|
|7||Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon-Sram Racing|
|8||Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|9||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|10||Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) SD Worx|
|11||Juliette Labous (Fra) Team DSM Women|
|12||Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|13||Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|14||Niamh Fisher-Black (NZl) SD Worx|
|15||Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Movistar Team Women|
|16||Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team DSM Women|
|17||Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) BikeExchange-Jayco Women|
|18||Rachel Neylan (Aus) Cofidis Women Team|
|19||Liane Lippert (Ger) Team DSM Women||0:00:09|
|20||Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo Women||0:00:11|
|21||Marlen Reusser (Swi) SD Worx|
|22||Mavi Garcia (Spa) UAE Team ADQ||0:00:15|
|23||Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|24||Greta Marturano (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo||0:01:32|
|25||Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-Sram Racing||0:02:33|
|26||Marie Le Net (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:05:04|
|27||Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|28||Arianna Fidanza (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco Women|
|29||Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|30||Letizia Borghesi (Ita) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|31||Julia Borgström (Swe) NXTG by Experza|
|32||Tamara Dronova (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad|
|33||Silke Smulders (Ned) Liv Racing Xstra|
|34||Eugenia Bujak (Slo) UAE Team ADQ|
|35||Victorie Guilman (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|36||Ella Harris (NZl) Canyon-Sram Racing|
|37||Paula Patiño Bedoya (Col) Movistar Team Women|
|38||Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women|
|39||Amber Kraak (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women|
|40||Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|41||Magdeleine Vallieres Mill (Can) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|42||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|43||Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Liv Racing Xstra|
|44||Erica Magnaldi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ|
|45||Sara Poidevin (Can) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|46||Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Cofidis Women Team|
|47||Sandra Levenez (Fra) Cofidis Women Team|
|48||Ursa Pintar (Slo) UAE Team ADQ|
|49||Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|50||Urska Zigart (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco Women|
|51||Anna Shackley (GBr) SD Worx|
|52||Noemi Rüegg (Swi) Jumbo-Visma Women|
|53||Amanda Spratt (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco Women|
|54||Anna Henderson (GBr) Jumbo-Visma Women|
|55||Sarah Gigante (Aus) Movistar Team Women|
|56||Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Canyon-Sram Racing||0:05:13|
|57||Marta Jaskulska (Pol) Liv Racing Xstra||0:08:17|
|58||Cédrine Kerbaol (Fra) Cofids Women Team|
|59||Francesca Balducci (Ita) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano|
|60||Olivia Onesti (Fra) Cofidis Women Team|
|61||Olga Zabelinskaya (Uzb) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad|
|62||Sara Casasola (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo|
|63||Inga Cesuliene (Ltu) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano|
|64||Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano|
|65||Mikayla Harvey (NZl) Canyon-Sram Racing|
|66||Olivia Baril (Can) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:08:24|
|DNF||Francesca Baroni (Ita) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano|
|DNF||Sofia Collinelli (Ita) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano|
|DNF||Lara Scarselli (Ita) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano|
|DNF||Letizia Brufani (Ita) BePink|
|DNF||Michaela Drummond (NZl) BePink|
|DNF||Marketa Hájková (Cze) BePink|
|DNF||Nadia Quagliotto (Ita) BePink|
|DNF||Matilde Vitillo (Ita) BePink|
|DNF||Silvia Zanardi (Ita) BePink|
|DNF||Anna Chili (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo|
|DNF||Tatiana Chili (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo|
|DNF||Sofia Clerici (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo|
|DNF||Giulia Luciani (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo|
|DNF||Silvia Magri (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo|
|DNF||Camilla Alessio (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Laura Asencio (Fra) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Lara Vieceli (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Kathrin Hammes (Ger) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|DNF||Lauren Stephens (USA) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|DNF||Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|DNF||Ainara Albert Bosch (Spa) Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria|
|DNF||Alice Capasso (Ita) Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria|
|DNF||Alice Gasparini (Ita) Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria|
|DNF||Emanuela Zanetti (Ita) Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria|
|DNF||Asia Zontone (Ita) Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria|
|DNF||Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra|
|DNF||Ayesha McGowan (USA) Liv Racing Xstra|
|DNF||Katia Ragusa (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra|
|DNF||Sara Martín (Spa) Movistar Team Women|
|DNF||Lourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spa) Movistar Team Women|
|DNF||Arlenis Sierra Canadilla (Cub) Movistar Team Women|
|DNF||Amber Aernouts (Bel) NXTG by Experza|
|DNF||Maureen Arens (Ned) NXTG by Experza|
|DNF||Cassia Boglio (Aus) NXTG by Experza|
|DNF||Gaia Masetti (Ita) NXTG by Experza|
|DNF||Femke Gerritse (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|DNF||Pien Limpens (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|DNF||Quinty Schoens (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|DNF||Rosalie van der Wolf (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|DNF||Anne Van Rooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg|
|DNF||Ines Cantera Carrasco (Spa) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad|
|DNF||Gulnaz Khatuntseva (Rus) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad|
|DNF||Léa Stern (Swi) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad|
|DNF||Petra Stiasny (Swi) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad|
|DNF||Isotta Barbieri (Ita) Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA|
|DNF||Sofia Barbieri (Ita) Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA|
|DNF||Silvia Bortolotti (Ita) Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA|
|DNF||Marina Ivanuk (Ukr) Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA|
|DNF||Viktoriia Melnychuk (Ukr) Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA|
|DNF||Anna Potokina (Rus) Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA|
|DNF||Teniel Campbell (TTo) BikeExchange-Jayco Women|
|DNF||Chelsie Wei Shi Tan (SGP) BikeExchange-Jayco Women|
|DNF||Francesca Barale (Ita) Team DSM Women|
|DNF||Léa Curinier (Fra) Team DSM Women|
|DNF||Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team DSM Women|
|DNF||Aafke Soet (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women|
|DNF||Vania Canvelli (Ita) Team Mendelspeck|
|DNF||Eva Maria Gatscher (Ita) Team Mendelspeck|
|DNF||Elisa Lugli (Ita) Team Mendelspeck|
|DNF||Alessia Missiaggia (Ita) Team Mendelspeck|
|DNF||Angela Oro (Ita) Team Mendelspeck|
|DNF||Francesca Pisciali (Ita) Team Mendelspeck|
|DNF||Vanessa Michieletto (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo|
|DNF||Iris Monticolo (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo|
|DNF||Cristina Tonetti (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo|
|DNF||Giorgia Vettorello (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo|
|DNF||Alessia Vigilia (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo|
|DNF||Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|DNF||Leah Thomas (USA) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|DNF||Alena Ivanchenko (Rus) UAE Team ADQ|
|DNF||Federica Piergiovanni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
|DNF||Elena Pirrone (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service|
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