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Bobby & Jens: Elisa Balsamo

The 2021 world road 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 elite women’s world road champion at just 23 years old. She joined Bobby & Jens this week as she prepares to get her world champion season underway.

Also listen to: Bobby & Jens – Grischa Niermann

An athletic child, Elisa started cycling at just six years old, among other sports, before focusing on the bike as a teenager. She talked about the transitions throughout her cycling career, including the latest one to elite racing, which she isn’t afraid to acknowledge was difficult. But despite the challenges in the elite level, Elisa 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 year, however, thanks to the rainbow target on her back. “It’s going to be hard because this jersey is very important,” she acknowledged.

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 shared 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 brought to you by Zwift. 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. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

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