He had confided it a week ago after the victory in Ceriale. “We will line up at the start of the Piccolo Trofeo Binda with high morale and the intention of doing well”. But perhaps not even Francesca Pellegrini would have thought of making her the Cittiglio match, valid as the first act of the Junior Women’s Nations Cup.
Instead, the 18-year-old from Bergamo confirmed that she was in a super condition, regulating in a restricted sprint Michela De Grandis, the Spanish Lucia Perez Ruiz and the other 12 athletes with whom she had taken off on the last passage of the Orino climb. For her this is her third affirmation in as many appearances and, above all, the exploit of Cittiglio makes her the second Italian to win the Piccolo Trofeo Binda, seven years after Sofia Bertizzolo.
“I knew I could do well, but not up to this point,” admits Francesca Pellegrini. “After a complicated first part of the race to stay in the top positions of the group, on the Orino climb I realized that I was doing very well. When there were six of us left on the last ascent, with a squad of nine chasing us, I understood that we would be fighting for the victory in a narrow sprint and I just thought about setting the last straight as best as possible.”
The sprint of the girl coached by Andrea Manzini was imperious and, despite the fact that she sprinted 200 meters from the finish line, she left no way out for her opponents.
“Yes, maybe I started a bit long, but I saw the French Titia Ryo sprint to my right and I jumped. Luckily she went well”.
An incredible start for a girl who last year had come close to winning on four occasions but was unable to hit it.
“This test taught me that I need to have more confidence in myself and that I can do well. This was what was needed after a complicated 2021 that had taken away some certainties from me. Also for this, I feel I have to thank my coach, Andrea Manzini, all my teammates and Valcar – Travel & Service: they trusted me when I myself was a little discouraged.”