21-year-old Gaia Realini has confirmed her move to Trek Segafredo for the 2023 season. It was widely rumoured but neither the rider nor the team confirmed anything other than Realini would be joining a Women’s WorldTour team next year. With the addition of Realini and another new signing Amanda Spratt, Trek Segafredo looks a lot stronger with their new climbing depth. Realini joins from the Isolmant–Premac–Vittoria, a smaller Italian team that has been invited to race the Giro Donne on a regular basis.
The young talent is a particularly strong climber, with her diminutive size providing her with an advantage over the major climbs. Currently, she struggles a little on the flat and her smaller team wasn’t necessarily always strong enough to keep her out of trouble. Set loose on a climb and she has regularly been a contender amongst some of the strongest riders in the Women’s WorldTour. With Trek-Segafredo, we should see some of those weaknesses ironed out and they certainly have a strong enough line-up to keep her in the ideal position.
Realini was 11th in GC in last year’s Giro Donne and 13th in this year’s race. Those final positions hide the amount of time lost in the team time trial last year and how highest she finished in this year’s major climbing stages late on with 7th and 5th places. The Italian was also a regular at cyclocross races over the winter but has stated that she will give this up now.
“[My] traits are my key to riding strong in the mountains. [After citing Marco Pantani as an influence] But my great example is Elisa Longo Borghini. I have always followed her with great admiration, both on TV and now in the pack. She is my reference point. Learning from her is one of my goals.
Cycling in a WorldTeam is a dream come true. I’ve always seen Trek-Segafredo as the best team in the pack. I couldn’t wish for better. I don’t know what to expect from it, but it will definitely be a step forward in quality, with a lot of new things to discover. I know I still have a large margin of progression.
I want to test myself at WT level. My dream is to ride a big stage race in 2023 to support our leading women. Of course I love the Giro, but I also hope to get to know Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Fleche Wallonne soon.”Gaia Realini