Elena Cecchini is one of the bright crop of young Italian talents, taking a real step up this season. Leaving the Italian teams she joined Lotto-Soudal for 2015, where she’s stormed over the cobbles and through the rains of spring. After top 5 placings in some of the best Classics, and really strong riding in the Road World Cups, she took the Italian Road Championships title for the second year in a row, before starting her first Giro Rosa… and getting her first Giro podium, coming third out of the Stage 3 super-attacking breakaway. I caught up with her for a quick Q&A after the Stage, to find out
You were third in today’s Stage 3 – what happened in the race?
Today was an almost flat race around Mantova, with only 3rd category mountains GPM. We rode to help Carlee [Taylor] to keep the green jersey And we did it. After GPM, there were several attacks, and I managed to be in the right breakaway. We were a super strong breakaway, and got a 5min gap, but from the first moment I knew that we would have arrive at the finish line with a gap of one minute because the General Classification girls didn’t want to give us too much of a gap.
And how do you feel?
I was feeling pretty strong despite the hot weather conditions that are really making us weaker day by day. In 5the sprint I got 3rd – and I knew Lucinda would most likely win, because in the breakaway she never collaborated, because she had her GC girls in the peloton) so she was fresher And stronger.
How was starting the Giro in Slovenia this year?
This is my first Giro, but actually, I really loved starting in Slovenia! I knew that the organisation would be perfect there, because I’m living in Udine, in ihe east part of Italy so I’m only 1 hour drive from Lubjiana, and I knew a bit about the people and the landscapes There. Everything was great, included the team presentation, with pink lights and lot of people who were there for Us.
How does it feel coming back into Italy?
Italy is always Italy 😉 Coming back means good coffee in the morning (and we need it more and more every day!), good food, and for me, wearing my special tricolore jersey means more people cheering for me during the race!
What’s the best thing about the race so far?
Spending all The day with my teamies. I think this is a huge opportunity to know well each other, have fun, and suffer on the bike for the same goal. In my opinion, feeling part of a team is one of the best feelings.
And what are your hopes and plans for the rest of the race?
I don’t think I will have a lot of more opportunities from today to the finish, but I will take every chance that will come to me on the road. The main goal for me now is helping Carlee keeping the green jersey, be on The podium as much as we can and learn from the more experienced girls how to recover, eat, sleep… This are the most important things in a long stage race!
You’ve had a great Classics season, became Italian champion for the second year in a row and now are on the Giro podium and you’re only 23 – what’s helped 2015 go so well for you?
Training with Elisa Longo Borghini 😉 I’m joking, but to be honest, it all started in 2013 when I had a really bad year in my bike. At the end of the season I was not satisfied at all, so from that winter I started to train harder and harder. I changed mentally and being part of the first part of the peloton motivated me race by race. For me now it is normal to get into the breakaways, try to sprint, and try to stay with the best climbers. I still have to improve a LOT!! but this year I am more confident than last year, and also my team Lotto Soudal gives me a lot of opportunity with a really relaxed spirit. This is the best thing for a “young” girl like me to improve, and not to feel
bad if I get it wrong.
Finally, tell us some Giro secrets about your Lotto-Soudal team-mates!
We have no special secrets, except from Carlee who is the clown of the team, and she’s always showing us nice videos or telling us funny stories about her super busy life. One of our secrets is to be honest with each other, don’t forget to smile and remembering that everyone one of us has the same importance in the team!
Watch the videos & check out photos, tweets and race reports from Stage 3, check out what we’ve seen from the first 4 days, and to follow the rest of the race, here’s my guide. Watch Elena win the 2015 Italian Championships here: