It has been a long time since I wrote on my blog last time. I’m sorry about it but many things have happened and conflicting emotions have accompanied me in the past months.
The last time i wrote I was leaving the Olympic dream and now I can tell you that the experience in Tokyo was unique and unforgettable, participating in the Olympic Games is something that an athlete will always carry in his heart. On the other hand I returned home very disappointed. The sixth place in the team pursuit was more than satisfactory, especially because we scored a great time of 4’10″063 which also became the new Italian record. The two crashes in the madison and omnium completely shattered my dreams of bringing home a good result in these two group races. The most important lesson I learned from this Olympic experience is that to achieve good results physical condition is not enough, but mental tranquility is also necessary. I will definitely treasure it!
When I arrived home, after a few days without the bike and of great discouragement, I decided to look ahead: I opened the race calendar and my eyes lit up to the memory that a little more than a month later there would be the road world championships in Flanders with a route very suitable for my characteristics and that I liked very much. So, together with my trainer and DS Davide Arzeni, I decided to focus everything on that great event. I participated in two stage races (the Simac Ladies Tour in Holland and the Vuelta a Espana), the Italian track championships and the GP d’Isbergues without ambition of result but making a lot of effort and trying to find the best condition even on the road after so many months on the track.
What happened on September 25th in Leuven I find it hard to describe! TO WIN THE ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP! A dream that came true! That Saturday everything was perfect, my teammates did an impeccable and extraordinary job from the first kilometer to the lead out, I was fine and with that great sprint I managed to cross the finish line first in front of the multiple champion Marianne Vos! What an emotion and how many tears of joy! When I got on the podium I was still incredulous, I had worked hard and hoped to bring home a medal, but I never imagined that it could be the golden one! It took me several weeks to be able to achieve what we had combined, but now I know that for a year I will race with a special jersey: the rainbow jersey!
Just a week after the World Championships I took part at the first women’s Paris-Roubaix in history. Even if the race was very hard and with very harsh weather conditions, being able to bring the rainbow jersey to the Roubaix velodrome was a great satisfaction for me!
I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my road season: the victory at the last stage of the Women’s Tour (a six-day stage race in England) was extraordinary and raising my arms to the sky with that shirt has an unforgettable flavor!
The track world championship that took place in October also gave me great joys: a silver medal in the team pursuit and a bronze medal in the omnium. For the first time in history the women’s national team managed to enter the final for gold in the team pursuit and this was a great achievement for us. I also really wanted to take part in the omnium to try to redeem myself from the Olympic disappointment and a third place came!
In a few days a very important chapter of my cycling life will come to an end: the journey with Valcar Travel&Service. I am immensely grateful to this team for allowing me to grow step by step, for making me know special people and teammates who have also become friends and for believing in me from the first moment, it was for me a second family. THANK YOU! Our journey together could not have ended in a better way than with a victory in the rainbow jersey … who would have thought it!
I think the time has come to make a new experience and face the jump in the world tour to grow and improve further, so in 2022 I will be part of Trek Segafredo. Let a new adventure begin!
I would also like to thank all the people who have helped and supported me during this long season, starting with my family and friends, my trainer, my dietitian, the Fiamme Oro sports group, the Valcar with its athletes and its staff and the Italian national team with its athletes and all the staff.
I wish you happy holidays and a happy new year, I will continue to work hard to be able to give you emotions!