Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Trek-Segafredo has bolstered its mountain talent after signing promising young climber Gaia Realini to its women’s squad on a three-year deal.
The 21-year-old is the second signing for the American-registered squad ahead of the 2023 season after the team announced it had added Amanda Spratt to its roster.
“This is a dream that comes true, I am super excited,” Realini said. “I have always looked at Trek-Segafredo as the best team in the peloton. A unique style, the image of the perfect team. I couldn’t really ask for better for my future.
“For an Italian rider, man or woman, the myth to be inspired by is always [Marco] Pantani, the essence of the climber. But my model, as an athlete and as a woman, has always been Elisa Longo Borghini. I have always followed her with great admiration, both on TV and now in the peloton. She’s my point of reference. Learning from her is one of my goals.”
Riding for the Italian Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria team this season, Realini has had few opportunities to race against the big names in the peloton, but she has impressed when she has. She finished 13th overall at the Giro d’Italia Donne this summer and rode to third in the youth classification behind developing talents Niamh Fisher-Black and Neve Bradbury.
“It was the first, real chance to show the world who I was, to draw attention to myself. So far, I have experienced professional cycling in a small reality, very different from what I will find next year. To be honest, beyond what I could see from the outside, I don’t even really know what to expect. It will be a huge leap in quality, with so many new things to discover. Definitely, the best I could aspire to grow.”
Realini has so far divided her attention between the road and cyclocross, but she will switch solely to the road from 2023.
Though she has shown some impressive performances on the road, Realini has only a small amount of experience in racing at the top level. With only a few top races in her legs, Trek-Segafredo believes that it will take a bit of time for her to adjust but is hopeful about her future prospects.
“Realini is a young athlete who, first of all, will need time to adjust to the new reality of the WorldTour and to integrate with our structure,” sport director Ina Teutenberg said. “The qualities we saw from her on the climbs at Giro d’Italia were impressive and she deserves our trust. She has specific characteristics that we believe will be a positive addition to our roster. We see in her significant room to grow.”