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Bobby & Jens: Elisa Balsamo

The new road world champion talks about the heightened expectations of racing in the rainbow jersey

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Elisa Balsamo has had a presence in women’s cycling for a few years, picking up wins at races as big as the Tour of California. But last season she exploded to the top of the elite peloton, becoming the road world champion at just 23 years old. She joins Bobby & Jens this week as she prepares to get her world champion season underway.

An athletic child, Elisa started cycling at just 6 years old, among other sports, before focusing in on the bike as a teenager. She talks about the transitions throughout her cycling career, including the latest one into elite level racing, which she isn’t afraid to acknowledge was difficult. But despite the difficulty of the elite level, Elisa has found a number of ways to win. Tune in to hear which races she wants to focus on this season.Winning may be more difficult this season, however, thanks to the rainbow target on her back. “It’s going to be hard because this jersey is very important,” she acknowledges. 

She takes us through the team tactics that went into securing that coveted rainbow jersey and her thought process going into the world championship race. She also shares what went through her mind when she looked back at the finish and saw none other than Marianne Vos behind her. “I was scared,” she says. “Marianne Vos is Marianne Vos.”

Elisa also discusses her relationship with her national team teammates. “It’s like a family; it’s not only the national team for us.” And later, hear what she wants to see happen to continue the growth of women’s cycling. 

Listen to this week’s episode for the full discussion.

“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

Send your questions to BobbyandJens@VeloNews.com or Tweet @bobbyandjens.