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As part of a series entitled ‘Faces of the Future’, we’re taking a look at the personalities, ambitions and palmares of some of the young and talented cyclists you might not know much about, but you’ll be hearing lots about soon.
In this edition of our Faces of the Future series, meet freshly crowned junior world road champion, Elisa Balsamo (not to be confused with the Italian professional tennis player with the same name).
In Qatar the 18-year-old Italian perfectly finished off the incredible work of her teammates, sprinting toward the rainbow jersey ahead of Skylar Schneider from the United States and Susanne Andersen of Norway.
This is the third rainbow jersey for Balsamo this year, as she also won the stripes at the UCI Junior Track World Championships in the team pursuit and omnium.
Here are four facts about this future star:
1.) Junior world road champion and elite European track champion in one month
Only weeks after winning the rainbow stripes in Qatar, Balsamo joined the Italian track riders to compete in the team pursuit event at the elite European track championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.
— CyclingTime (@Cyclingtimenews) 20 October 2016
She didn’t need any time adjusting from road to track, or from the desert to the air-conditioned indoor environment, as she won gold in the event, together with former world road champ Tatiana Guderzo (Team Hitec), Simona Frapporti (Team Hitec) and Silvia Valsecchi (Be Pink).
2.) Balsamo has a promising future, both on the road and the track
— Eurosport IT (@Eurosport_IT) 22 October 2016
It’s probably already obvious, but Balsamo is both an excellent road racer and track rider. At the same European championships event where she won gold with her teammates in the team pursuit, she finished fourth in the omnium, behind powerhouses Katie Archibald, Kirsten Wild and Lotte Kopecky.
Only 9 points away from the podium, it was a remarkable performance by this 18-year-old among the pros.
In 2015 she was junior world champion in the scratch
3.) Balsamo combines cycling and high school, where Greek and Latin are her favourite subjects
She told the Corrierra della Sera that she took her school books with her both to Qatar and the European track championships in France. “I didn’t take my Greek and Latin homework, since I couldn’t take the dictionaries with me. But they are two subjects that I love: they are called dead languages, but they are beautiful and useful!”
4.) She rides for the Valcar-PBM cycling team, that aims to become a UCI team in 2017
Elisa Balsamo has been part of the blue-and-pink Valgar-PBM cycling team for the past couple of years and will stay with the Italian team, that has requested a UCI licence for 2017.
Pictured here in her junior road champion kit, Balsamo will be joined by at least eight riders on the Valcar-PBM Vigor team, as the team will be called in 2017.
The following teammates have been announced so far: Allegra Arzuffi (Alice’s little sister), Giorgia Capobianchi, Marta Cavalli, Sara Franceschelli, Sylva Persico, Sylvia Pollicini, Isabella Strizzi and Miriam Vece – none of whom were part of the Italian junior’s squad at the world road championships in Qatar.