Vittoria Guazzini revealed her outlook at the UCI gala evening in China, looking ahead to off-season holiday relaxation. It was at that juncture Guazzini looked forward to resetting after a gruelling season, not only physically but psychologically, with a getaway to the Maldives alongside her partner, U23 World TT champion Lorenzo Milesi. Her season had been marred by a pelvis fracture on April 6th during a reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix Femmes route. The injury took a significant toll, transforming her summer into a relentless chase, as she aimed to defend her own U23 World TT gold won in Wollongong. Similarly, Elisa Balsamo and Elisa Longo Borghini experienced a challenging summer, while another prominent Italian rider, Marta Cavalli, struggled to regain her form following an incident in 2022.
Guazzini’s comeback to racing was marked by a fourth-place finish at the Italian national time trial championships on June 23rd. Subsequently, she participated in the Tour de France Femmes, securing 8th place in the final time trial, an encouraging sign of progress. However, her hurried return to form took its toll at the World Championships in Stirling ten days later, with a punishing outcome that dampened her spirits. Despite a slight improvement with a second-place finish in the Mixed Team Relay at the European Championships, it was evident a break was necessary, leading to her stint in China.
Guazzini candidly admitted that, while her training had lightly resumed with three modest rides primarily for the sake of engagement, her focus was directed towards the upcoming national team camp in Noto, as she set her sights on the 2024 season. She acknowledged the weight of 2023, both physically and mentally, and the importance of being well-prepared for a year brimming with significant events.
In a reflective mode, Guazzini discussed her pre-China consultation with FDJ-Suez coaches, striving to decode aspects of her performance that might have faltered. She attributed a downward trajectory post-accident, compounded by a series of challenges that overwhelmed her, particularly mentally. Yet, she accepted the turn of events, taking solace in the prospect that the outcome was perhaps better this year rather than next.
With a determined spirit, Guazzini highlighted her commitment to the World Championships in Glasgow, pushing her recovery beyond, perhaps, what was advisable. Nevertheless, she now views the past season with a certain detachment, likening it to a near non-existence due to a ‘blackout’ of memory.
The time trial remains a passion and a key focus for Guazzini, dedicating considerable effort with her team to refine her position for aerodynamic efficiency. However, she emphasised that the priority for the upcoming year is the team pursuit at the Olympics. Despite strong international competition, the Italian team aspires to the gold medal in the discipline.
Guazzini looks forward to the traditional training camp in Altea for the third consecutive year, which serves as an opportunity for team bonding and laying down substantial mileage for the year ahead.