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(c) Tino Pohlmann

13/03/2017, WMN This Is Me

Elena Cecchini

As the proud wearer of the Tricolore to single her out as National Champion, Elena Cecchini isn't one to take a back seat. CANYON//SRAM Racing's Italian one-day specialist has had a flying start to the season, finishing in the top-10 at Strade Bianchi and taking an impressive 2nd at the Ronde van Drenthe. This Sunday, Trofeo Alfredo Binda marks the third UCI Women's WorldTour showdown of the season and Elena stands a good chance of making her mark on the race on a challenging course in front of her home crowd. Before that though, we threw ten questions her way to see what makes Elena Cecchini tick.  

What is your favourite climb on the WorldTour calendar?

The Orino climb is definitely my favorite. It is the decisive point in Trofeo Binda in Cittiglio, one of the only Italian one day race that is part of the WorldTour. I love this race, but with the Orino climb I have a love-hate relationship. The last couple of years I was never able to follow the best climbers going up it and I suffered a lot, but I believe this year I will be there fighting for the win!

What is your favourite race on the WorldTour calendar?

GP de Plouay. I love it because to win it you need the perfect combination of physical strength, intelligence, great tactics and a lot of courage.

If you could pick any rider in the peloton to be your teammate beyond your team, who would it be?

I already have the best teammates I could ask for, but if I had to choose, I would say Annemiek Van Vleuten or Elisa Longo Borghini.

Where is your favorite place to train?

Of course, there is no place like home, because I know every road and every single climb. During the season, I like to test my form on the same climbs measuring the time I take to get up them or the average watts I'm able to sustain on them. But during the winter, I also love training on Gran Canaria. It has everything – flat, climbs, nice descents and of course, lots of wind. Most importantly though, it’s almost always warm and sunny.

Who is the most underrated rider in your team?

Alena [Amialiusik]. She is quiet and keeps her head down, but she is always incredibly strong and has an important role in every kind of race. She is our best climber, but she is also one of the main wagons in our lead out – she can do really long and fast lead outs. Having her in a race is always a great backup!

If you hadn’t become a pro cyclist, what would you be doing now?

I would love to have studied medicine and become a radiologist.

Who in cycling impresses you most right now?

Peter Sagan of course. He's the kind of champion who comes around every 20 years I think. Everything he does on the bike looks so easy and normal, but it is not. I think he's the champion cycling needs: friendly, incredibly strong, good with media, honest and a bit crazy.

If you could trade places for one day with any one person – who would you pick?

Hard question as I’m pretty happy with where I am now but... I would love to have been my boyfriend, Elia Viviani, the day he won his Olympic gold medal!

Small luxuries – have you got any guilty pleasures?

I have no expensive guilty pleasures, but I must admit that I have way too many clothes in my wardrobe... Especially sportswear: tracksuits, leggings, sports bras, that kind of thing...

Apart from cycling, which sport are you most interested in?

Swimming. I always loved it, and last summer during Rio Olympics I got tickets to go watch it live. Seeing Michael Phelps in action is really something else.