Elisa Balsamo and Emīls Liepiņš keep it in the family in Italy and Latvia respectively while, Alexander Kamp leads a Trek-Segafredo 1-2 in Denmark.
World champion, Elisa Balsamo has now added Italian Champion to her already impressive palmarès, succeeding Elisa Longo Borghini to claim the tricolore jersey following a bunch sprint finish.
“My first thought is about the pride of winning this title. The tricolore jersey is unique, as is that of the World Champion. Having both in a single season is a huge honor.
“Next, there is the consideration about the performance, which, like the jersey, leaves me satisfied. These last few weeks have served to recharge my batteries after a long and busy spring. I had rest and then went to altitude to prepare for the Giro-Tour double. The Tour de Suisse was encouraging and then at the Italian Championships I was looking for confirmation of my form and signs of competitiveness. I am happy to have found them.
“I was expecting a more animated race, more attacks, especially from teams like the Fiamme Oro which numerically could play more options. Honestly, despite the perfect course for a bunch finish, I thought more teams would want to avoid this outcome. For me it was a bit of a surprise. The sprint is always an option with so many unknowns and variables. For me, of course, it was better this way.
“Being alone, I had to make my choices in the finale. In the group we know each other, I knew which wheels to follow. Then, as in any sprint, instinct and eye contact play a crucial role. In the last kilometer, I followed the movements, like a wave. I was following the Fiamme Oro team because it was the best-equipped train. Then I saw another train coming up strong on the right, and I jumped on the wheel. My instinct told me to do that and it turned out to be the winning choice.
“Now, I’m going to enjoy this victory and then throw myself head (and legs) first into the Giro. This success is a very useful boost of morale and confidence for such an important race. The hopes of having a good Giro are strong. Starting with the first stages that, on paper, are very interesting for me.”
Emīls Liepiņš also kept his respective national title in the Trek-Segafredo family, inheriting the Latvian champion’s jersey from Toms Skujiņš.
“The race was really hot! At one point my Wahoo was showing 39 degrees and the day’s average was about 35 degrees. Adding to the difficulty of the day was the way, like always, we raced. It was a full-on day with a lot of attacks early on. Around kilometer 50, they group split with me in front and Toms behind. At the start of the day, Toms and I had a plan that we wouldn’t chase each other so he stayed in the second group with who you could say were our ‘biggest rivals’.
“The race was made up of two big laps and then eight city laps and on the last lap, it became clear that I was the strongest of the front group and that the race was mine to lose. The group also understood that I was the fastest guy and that they needed to try to come to the finish without me. However, I was always on the wheels and in the end, I was able to go alone to the finish. It was a really good race, I had really good legs and I am really really happy that I will get to wear this jersey for the next year.”
Alexander Kamp was crowned Danish national champion for the second time his career after a consistently attacking performance throughout the race which also saw Mads Pedersen take the silver medal to complete a Trek-Segafredo one-two.
“I’m just happy to take the jersey. I was in the breakaway from early on and fighting the whole day. I’m really proud and happy that I could become national champion and to be on the podium with Mads. To have two Trek-Segafredo riders on the podium is great and we can be proud of that.”