A look behind the scenes of the Team’s winning streak
The original text was written in Italian by Elisa Longo Borghini for Trek Italy and can be read here.
Let’s start from the weekend that introduced spring, a little more than a week ago that, for the cycling addicts, was really busy and interesting: Milan-Sanremo on Saturday and Trofeo Binda on Sunday. Two races that Trek-Segafredo honoured well.
We (the women’s Team) raced on Sunday. For the second year, it was one of those days that in a few years, perhaps at dinner as old friends, we’ll remember it as a super Sunday. The rainbow Elisa – Ms. Balsamo – won the race after amazing teamwork, where we proved that when we race united, keep a cool head and with a single target in common, success is always within our reach.
We had a plan to be present in the rumba that – we were sure – would explode in the finale. Then, on the last lap, staying together and climbing smoothly, without responding to attacks, but fighting off any possible small group that might have taken advantage. In words, it sounds simple, but in the race, believe me, it’s really complicated to execute, especially because in addition to the legs you need the entire team to keep a cool head.
In the end, we executed our plan in the best possible way. We patiently sewed up the attack of six riders without a lot of force – or panic – and helped Elisa to save energy for the sprint. Once we caught the escapees, we led Elisa to the sprint. She finalized the work by sprinting like a rocket on the final straight in Cittiglio. Well, I have to say, the emotion and satisfaction for this team’s performance is still strong!
The next part of my blog is dedicated to the road that led me to Trofeo Binda. It was a particular week, unusual compared to the past and not only because I got a “nice” touch of bronchitis (but nothing else, fortunately…) that still makes me breathe like a pug. But the Monday before the race Ellen (van Dijk) arrived in my town, Ornavasso, and on Wednesday, Audrey (Cordon-Ragot), did the same. Together we shared some training sessions on my home roads.
Audrey coming to my house is almost a habit, given the long friendship and team militancy since 2014, but having Ellen was a pleasant novelty. I enjoyed introducing her to my home roads, to the climbs where I usually train, to my Ornavasso, and to my family. Knowing a teammate often does not entail an immediate knowledge of the person. I think that, after so many years elbow to elbow in the peloton, Ellen was finally able to get a better understanding of who I am as a woman, by training together and living in my world, even if it was for just a few days.
I deeply believe that to build a team we need to know each other more than as riders in helmets and glasses, but also as the people behind them. The best way to achieve success is to create a synergy by exploiting not only the individual physical skills but also the character and the different sensitivities of each team member. And, who knows? Maybe our success at Binda, De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem was because of the little bit of time spent together with Ellen and Audrey.
See you next month!