I ended the past season inside a velodrome and started the competitions of this 2023 again riding around in circles, without brakes and without being able to stop pedaling… I forgot: the gear has to be be the right one because you can’t change it!
Joking aside, I am very happy to have started competing again with these European’s Track Championship, the first races are never easy because I never know what to expect: was the winter preparation the right one? Am I ready? Do I deserve the trust of my team?
It’s been about four months since the World Championships in Paris last October, and to start competing again with a team pursuit (4km at your maximum) was quite traumatic, but being able to wear the rainbow jersey made the comeback special. My national teammates and I put a nice silver medal around our necks behind an honestly superior Great Britain at this event. We are satisfied even though the chaotic final had almost deluded us into thinking that we could take the continental title: our opponents were ahead from the very first lap, however, shortly after halfway through the race they disbanded, we got closer and tried to overtake but our quartet also fell apart (remember that the time is taken on the third athlete) and we had to settle for second place.
On the last day of competition I also participated in the madison paired with Vittoria Guazzini, this speciality is one of my favorites and I am extremely happy to be back competing in it. In the madison the legs are not enough, in fact you also need great technical preparation and a lot of teamwork. I am satisfied with our third place: there were several mistakes especially in the timing of the changes and, in particular with the last missed change with minus two laps to go, we risked endangering our presence on the podium and could not try to overtake the French to grab the silver medal. Nevertheless, I see this race as a new beginning: it had been about ten months since my last madison, and refreshing the mechanisms was important to look ahead and aim for the big goals ahead.
I would like to end with a brief reflection on the value of placings in sports. Do people still understand that a second or third place is a great result? My answer is no, often if we don’t win, I look around and see only disappointment on people’s faces or in their words. So many see placements as a defeat: THAT’S IT. Obviously I, as an athlete, train and live to be able to get to the finish line with my arms raised: there is no better feeling for me than winning, but winning is DIFFICULT, so many times people do not realize this. After a second or third place you ALWAYS look back to understand the mistakes that have been made and then you return to look forward to remember not to make those same mistakes again in the future, of course you were “defeated” by someone who at that moment was stronger but the medal you have around your neck or the step of the podium on which you are, are deserved and no one can take them off. I would like everyone to understand that being satisfied with my placement is for me the first step to overcome a missed victory and look to the future with the incentive to improve even more. Today “three”, tomorrow “one”, without thinking too much.
Tomorrow my road season will start at Setmana Valenciana: a four-day stage race, stay tuned!