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Trek-Segafredo’s winning formula continues to deliver success as Elisa Balsamo claimed her seventh victory of the season on stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia Donne.
The world champion, who will exchange her rainbow stripes for the maglia rosa on stage 2, pipped Marianne Vos on the line in a finish that was eerily similar to the one in Leuven nine months earlier that saw her claim the jersey.
The key to Balsamo’s success, in addition to her own physical capabilities, could be attributed to her team. Trek-Segafredo are having a stellar season, with a whopping 22 victories under their belts, by far the best collective performance of any of the Women’s WorldTour teams so far. The strength in depth and all-around versatility of the American team’s riders is supported by a unity and team ethic that sees them go deep for one another in every race. They are a living embodiment of the colloquial phrase ‘team work makes the dream work.’
Working selflessly for one another has yielded an enviable collection of results for the team, with four different riders adding to their palmarès this season at some of the most prestigious races — Elisa Longo Borghini’s incredible ride to take the second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes was made all the more impressive by the appearance of her teammate Lucinda Brand on the podium, taking third place after an unrivaled team performance.
While the likes of young cyclocrosser Shirin van Anrooij and new women’s hour-record holder Ellen van Dijk can regularly be seen driving the pace at the front of the peloton, one of the jewels in Trek’s crown Elisa Longo Borghini has been instrumental in many of the team’s victories, not least those claimed by Balsamo.
Longo Borghini has reportedly been working on her speed, and after leading out Balsamo to victory at the World Championship road race, the elder Italian has been there to fulfill a similar role in four of Balsamo’s seven victories so far this season. The latest win, today, to once again overturn the ‘greatest of all time’ Vos, who arguably began her sprint too early. With Balsamo safely in her wheel, Longo Borghini engineered yet another stand-out performance and Balsamo etched another name on her palmarès, to add to Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Brugge-de-Panne and Gent-Wevelgem amongst others.
In the first of the two major stage races for the women’s peloton, it could be argued that with the two Italian riders among their ranks, the Giro Donne could be seen as the main goal for the team, and the significance of taking the maglia rosa after the first road stage of the race cannot be underestimated. With the strength of Lucinda Brand, Amalie Dideriksen, Leah Thomas and Lauretta Hanson to support Longo Borghini in the mountains and Balsamo on the sprints, the team look in good shape when it comes to defending the jersey in the coming days, even from the likes of pre-race favorite Annemiek van Vleuten.