World champion Elisa Balsamo has been disqualified from Paris-Roubaix Women for taking an illegal tow of her Trek-Segafredo team car as she returned from a puncture.
The Italian punctured as the race hit Mons-en-Pévèle with 48km to go, and TV footage later showed her accepting a sticky bottle from her team car as she was looking to close the gap with the leaders after the cobbled section.
Trek-Segafredo confirmed Balsamo’s disqualification in a social media post. “Unfortunately, Elisa Balsamo has been disqualified for illegally returning to the peloton (sticky bottle),” the statement read. “She was taken out of the race.
Balsamo had Paris-Roubaix among the favorites for victory after a remarkable winning streak this spring at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Bruges-De Panne and Ghent-Wevelgem.
Trek-Segafredo lined up with one of the strongest selections, and Balsamo’s teammate Elisa Longo Borghini earned a solo breakaway, and Lucinda Brand on the podium in third place.
At the end of the race, Longo Borghini mentioned all his teammates.
“Honestly, I wish I could get all of my team-mates to the podium today because it was a great team performance today, and I have to thank them all. Lucinda was perfect and everyone was there where they needed to be. to be in every sector. We were a determined team and ready for anything today. It was a huge team performance, and without them I wouldn’t win any races.
“And also it’s a bit for Elisa Balsamo, who was disqualified, but sometimes in the race you catch a sticky bottle,” she said of her teammate as quoted by UCI officials. for an illegal move while trying to rejoin the peloton after a puncture. “The rule is the rule, but you still feel a little sorry.”
#ParisRoubaixFemmes Unfortunately, @Elisa_balsamo was disqualified for taking over the peloton illegally (sticky bottle). She was taken out of the race. pic.twitter.com/oRD6ugy8SSApril 16, 2022