Elisa Balsamo was out for revenge.
The 23-year-old Italian had the fresh disappointment of a difficult Olympic Games campaign in the back of her mind as she lined up in Antwerp at the start of the women’s road race at the Flanders world championships.
Competing in Tokyo was the central goal of her season, and becoming an Olympic athlete was the realization of a childhood dream. As the reigning European champion in both the Omnium and the Madison, as well as a silver medalist in the Team Pursuit, Balsamo hoped to leave Japan with some excess baggage.
Also read: Elisa Balsamo’s Cannondale gets a rainbow makeover
However, her dream became something of a nightmare as Italy slumped to sixth in the Team Pursuit, and some big crashes eliminated her from contention in the other two events.