After a great end of the road season in Madrid, it was time for the last week of efforts on the track, before my offseason.
The last race of this complicated 2020 was the élite’s track european championship in Plovdiv. Until the end our participation was uncertain due to the COVID-19, but we kept on trainig with determination and for this reason we were ready when, one week before the event, the organizers confirmed the race.
I arrived at Plovid knowing that my physical condition was good and I had three goals to reach: team pursuit, omnium and madison. Thanks to the optimal condition, I knew I could reach at least two podiums, but I would have never imagined to get all that results!
The first day Martina Alzini, Chiara Consonni, me and Vittoria Guazzini had the team pursuit’s qualifications (racing in this same order), we knew Great Brittain was unbeatable, so our goal was to make a good time and we reached it the next day beating the italian record (the old one was 4’15″2 and we made 4’13″632 !) Right after we passed the finish line I looked for the time and as soon as I saw it I could belive it and we were so happy as if we had won the race! We were beaten by an extraordinary Great Brittan that arrived close to the Wold record (4’10″4).Nobody, neither us or the italian team’s staff, would have ever imagined we were able to make such a great time. It gives us more confidence in ourselves and means that the other nations are not so far, we have now some more months to work harder and beat our record again!
After the team pursuit, it was omnium time. I was really happy to take part in this specialty that I really like and that I hadn’t done in the important races for a while. In August winning this speciality at the Six Days of Fiorenzuola gave me a lot of moral so, aware of my good physical condition, I aimed to go home with a medal, although I knew it would be very difficult to win. The race started in the best way with a nice victory in the scratch, the British Kenny (we know her by the maiden name Trott) put on the lead two laps from the end, but at the sound of the bell I managed to launch my long gear and earned the first position so that I could make the shortest road in the last lap and no one could pass me anymore. The tempo race is the speciality I like the least, not only because it’s very hard, but it is difficult to interpret and often it happens to make tactical mistakes. In fact after the first sprints four athletes went on a break away and managed to take the lap, I was left behind and I couldn’t make points and finished in sixth position. After a short break it was time for the elimination race. I love this race but it is also the one that cause me the most agitation before the start: you can not make mistakes in this speciality, just a small distraction and you get eliminated as first and throw away even the general classification of the omnium.Luckily I raced very well always staying in the very first positions but covered so as not to waste too much and I got to the final sprint with Kenny. She tried to close me to the balustrade but just before the sound of the bell I surprised her with a sprint and she could no longer pass me! So started the points race with two points ahead of the British and a good gap on the third and fourth. I wanted to make the first sprints to try to expand my advantage against the opponents, so when I realized that if I had won the penultimate sprint I would mathematically have win the omnium, I gave my best because I wanted to avoid having to fight also for the final sprint that, assigning double score, is always very hard fought. I was really excited on the last lap knowing I won and raising my arms was a beautiful feeling. If the day before they told me I was going to beat Kenny, I would never have believed it! When I was younger I always admired her very much and followed her on television. Beating a champion of her caliber, among other things she won 4 Olympic golds, was above all my expectations!
On the last day I participated at the Madison with Vittoria Guazzini. We knew we could reacha medal and decided as a race tactic to make the sprints. Initially the situation had definitely put us to our advantage because we were the fastest and we managed to accumulate a nice score. Then,in the middle of the race, the Russians attacked after a sprint and took us by surprise, unfortunately they took advantage quickly and we behind could not find collaboration with the other nations, so they took the lap gaining twenty points and taking the top of the leaderboard. With this situation we were forced to fight in all the sprints to try to bridge the gap of more than ten points that we had against the Russians. The race remained very uncertain until the last meter!!! At the twelfth and last sprint we realized that we could still win, but only if we had won the last sprint that was worth 10 points! Vittoria anticipated and I waited for her shortly after the start of the last lap for the change: we made a great sprint and put the Russians behind us for only one point!Well yes, the track is also this with a 120 laps race and 12 sprints we won by just one point, I would say that this madison could not have been carried out in a more spectacular way!
I come home from Plovdiv with three medals, one silver and two gold, and with an Italian record, I definitely couldn’t have asked for better!!
I would like to thank many people, but in order not to forget any of them in a few days I will make an article about them!!
BETTINI FOTO and SWPIX’ pictures