My season couldn’t have started in a better way!
I took part at a four-day stage race in Spain: the Setmana Valenciana. The stages were all very demanding and, although it was the first race of the season, the level in the group was very high with many athletes who wanted to get a good result!
The first stage of 114km from Tevernes de la Valldigna to Gandia had three GPMs, the last of which was only 14 km from the finish and 6 km long. The group arrived compact at the beginning of the last GPM then the climbers started to attack, I could not keep the pace of the first but my teammates were formidable because first they waited for me on the climb making me a good pace so as not to lose too much ground and then they pulled with all the energy they had to close the gap compared to the five girls on the top of the race! They where incredible, in 14 km they filled a gap of 45 seconds! In addition, they also managed to make a perfect lead out taking me up to 150m from the finish in first position, I sprinted with all the strength that had remained in my legs and the first victory of the season arrived!
I never expected this result and I’m really happy! But the joys were not over yet because the next day it was my teammate Ellen Van Dijk who won. This victory that is worth a lot because the stage was really hard and literally without a meter of flat.
In the third stage the finish was uphill so after helping my teammates for the first 100 km I faced the long final ascent (20 km) of my pace trying not to take too many minutes from the winner.
Finally on Sunday, the last day of the race, after another excellent teamwork I managed to bring home a good second place, beaten in the sprint only by Marta Bastianelli. My legs were starting to hurt after four very busy days but I tried to end this very hard but at the same time extremely positive week.
This stage race was also my debut with the Trek-Segafredo jersey, I’m very happy because I felt really good and I immediately felt part of the team. Not only did I immediately find the right feeling with my new teammates and sports directors in the race, but I also discovered that they are very nice and pleasant people with whom I can’t wait to live new adventures! Thank you Elisa, Ellen, Shirin, Taylor, Letizia and Elynor and a special thanks also to all the staff!
On Saturday the races of the North will begin and I will participate at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, back on the cobbles, on the walls and in the wind. It’ll not be easy but for the cycling culture, Belgium always has a great charm! Let the hell of the North begin!
Bettini Photo’s picutres