Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) is hoping early season success in Australia will help her secure a place in the Italian national team for the Paris Olympics and give her the form for the spring Classics.
If Wednesday’s result at the Geelong Classic criterium is anything to go by, Bertizzolo is looking good for the Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday and for the rest of the season.
Bertizzolo opened up the sprint early at the end of the 50km criterium and kept the pace so high that none could challenge in the sprint.
“It was nice. It was also in the plan not to arrive here in Australia in not the best shape and to conclude this three weeks racing and training in the block with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race as our main goal,” said Bertizzolo of her near month-long trip to Australia.
“I’m definitely happy that today I proved to myself that the training block was good. I’m in shape already – winning is always different, but already in the race I felt I was super powerful so I am super happy with that.”
Bertizzolo was already amongst the riders to watch before the Wednesday criterium, having shown her strength at the Tour Down Under with two third places on stages. Now there are bound to be even more eyes turning her way now as she steps onto terrain that suits her.
“When I came in here yesterday we reconned the whole race and I was already happy with this slightly up and down, that suits me better, as it is a faster lap so I’m totally into it,” said Bertizzolo.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s kind of Ardennes Classic with this local loop – perfect, exactly what I like so fingers crossed.”
The 143km Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race takes in rolling hills, coastal wind prone roads, technical corners and punchy climbs, particularly that of Challambra Crescent which the women take on twice through the local loop in Geelong.
“It’s actually the first time I’ve started in Australian and so early in the year and it was absolutely a choice, [something] I wanted to do to perform well in the Spring Classics, so giving me the time to come into shape in the summer here and head to Europe ready to race,” said Bertizzolo.
She is clearly ready to just that even now, as the final day of international racing in Australia for another year unfolds on Saturday.