Elena Cecchini – the Giro Rosa and Claudia Cretti

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Hello everybody from Amalfi, a small corner of paradise on Earth.

I am currently enjoying two days off my bike, recovering from my Giro Rosa efforts and working on my tan lines. With the Giro Rosa ending near Napoli, it was impossible for me to not take the chance to visit this gorgeous place and relax a little bit.

I really enjoyed racing Giro Rosa with my team Canyon//SRAM and I really appreciated the choice of the organisation to make it a “less” hard one, without any iconic climbs, but giving us the opportunity to explore and race new roads around southern Italy, making the victory stages more open to a bigger selection of girls and as a consequence, creating a more competitive field.

Elena Cecchini & Barbara Guarischi warm up for Stage 8 of the Giro Rosa – a 141.8 km road race, between Baronissi and Centola fraz. Palinuro on July 7, 2017, in Salerno, Italy. (Photo by Sean Robinson/Velofocus.com)

It was quite a successful week for my team with Hannah Barnes winning stage three in Veneto and Alexis Ryan, Barbara Guarischi and me trying to race aggressively in order to create chances and go for stage wins. We took every stage as a single day race, without worrying about general classification and with no fear of energy left on the road.

South Italy’s beauty and the huge crowds couldn’t beat the emotion of having the team presentation, prologue and first stage in my region though. They were three amazing days for me, as all my fan club, my friends and my family was standing there on the road having an amazing time with good wine and fine barbecues waiting for me to pass by on my bike, no matter if I was in first or last position in the peloton. When I saw them all after stage one in Montereale Valcellina with big smiles and happiness on their faces, that felt like a win to me.

My happy fan club after Stage Two in Montereale Valcellina
My happy fan club after Stage Two in Montereale Valcellina

They are the people who really matter in my life, the ones who are always on my side, because of Elena as a person, not as a bike rider.

It has been special to have my parents following the whole race with my dog. (Photo by Sean Robinson/Velofocus.com)

There was only one really sad and speechless part about this Giro and that is where my thoughts are directed every night before I fall asleep: the awful crash of our Italian talent Claudia Cretti.

I met Claudia many years ago as part of the national track team. She is some years younger than me but she is driven by an incredible passion, grit, strength and will. What happened to her on stage seven is horrible and huge, but I am sure that she will make it and she will be smiling again very soon, as a real warrior. She has a wonderful family around her and all the prayers and the thoughts of her colleagues, who showed love and friendship on social networks and sad faces on the start of the remaining stages we had to race the following days.

Come back soon Claudia!

My colleagues and I signed the Maglia Rosa before the last stage and it was brought as a small present to Benevento hospital where Claudia is staying at the moment. We will all wait for you to come back Claudia, do not give up, life is beautiful and you deserve to live it to the fullest!

FORZA CLAUDIA!