Balsamo doubles up with 2nd stage win at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana

Volta Comunitat Valenciana Femines 2023 Elisa Balsamo

Today’s stage came down to a relatively formulaic sprint, despite a decent amount of climbing in the early part of the stage. The presence of the early climbs meant they weren’t used as launchpads and a breakaway of the day never really formed. Cécile Lejeune of Massi-Tactic stayed away the longest. Initially, she was joined by Giorgia Vettorello of BePink but Lejeune was the stronger of the pair on the first climb and ended up cresting the summit solo.

The peloton was split into a few decent-sized groups that would repeatedly get distanced but join back up on the descents. When the climbing finished, there was still the major bulk of the peloton together. Riders seemed relatively happy with the stalemate. The parcours offered nothing late on except drifting through the kilometres for a sprint finish. Most GC contenders have their eyes on tomorrow’s Stage 3 which should prove decisive.

It didn’t stop a couple of riders trying their luck. Quinty Ton of Liv Racing Xstra was off the front on her own for 10km and Sofia Bertizzolo managed to ride off the front of the peloton and spark a chase that quickly killed that move.

The final sprint saw Elisa Balsamo briefly neck and neck with the likes of Megan Jastrab and Lotta Henttala. The Italian’s extra speed though saw her able to complete the victory for the 2nd day in a row, after victory on Stage 1. Behind her, the Finn Henttala finished 2nd again, with Jastrab in 3rd. Italian Silvia Zanardi of BePink finished 4th with Eleonora Gasparrini in 5th for UAE Team ADQ.

It wasn’t easy, a lot of climbs at the beginning but at the end Ilaria again did a great job so I had a perfect lead-out. The sprint is never easy but, yes it was a good one so we are very satisfied. I was third at the last roundabout which was the perfect position to be in for the sprint. Tomorrow will be the queen stage for our two climbers, we’ve got very strong climbers in our team here so for sure they will have a lot of fun. For me, not a lot but I will survive. 

It’s like a dream for me [to have Yaya back] because we were working together for a lot of years and for me she is really the best at this job. Last year when I spoke to Ina [Teutenberg, DS] about the readout and I mentioned Ilaria’s name and she was also super happy to have her in the team. Today was different than yesterday because Ilaria delivered me at 1km to go onto the wheel of UAE. I was struggling on the climbs but I did it!

Elisa Balsamo

Main image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency

2023 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Stage 2 result

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