Elisa Balsamo’s radical Roubaix-ready 1x Trek Domane RSL

The Italian sprinter is hoping for success in the Hell of the North, and this is the bike that will help her get there

Lidl-Trek are a team with serious history at Paris-Roubaix Femmes. Lizzie Deignan won the first ever edition of the race in 2021 and Elisa Longo-Borghini backed this up the following year with another stunning solo win for the American team. It’s not just the incredible skill and physicality of the riders that have made these victories possible, however, the team’s sponsors and mechanics also place plenty of importance on optimising rider’s set-ups for the hellish cobbles.

Although neither Deignan or Longo-Borghini are racing in the 2024 edition of Roubaix, Lidl-Trek still have plenty of options when it comes to riders who are in with a shot of victory. Trofeo Binda and Brugge De Panne winner, Elisa Balsamo, sits high up on this list – the Italian rider has an incredible finishing speed which will be imperative if she makes it to the velodrome in the front group. Lidl-Trek are putting everything behind their Italian hopeful when it comes to equipment and Balsamo will be riding a special-edition Trek Domane RSL on Saturday in Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

The bike features a special Roubaix paint job, with blocks of blue, red and yellow on the black aerodynamic frame tubes. Both editions of Paris-Roubaix that Lidl-Trek have won in the past were by riders using the Domane model – it’s not as aerodynamic as the Madone or as light as the Emonda, but the bike features IsoSpeed technology which is said to absorb the worst of the cobble shock. Balsamo rides a 52cm frame.

The bike is equipped with the Bontrager Aeolus Aero bar in a width of 38cm and a 90-7 stem, with Balsamo opting for double-wrapped bar tape all the way up to the centre of the handlebars where they meet the stem. The Italian rider also had wireless blips on the inside of the drops, something that will come in useful if she is in a fast-paced sprint at the velodrome on Saturday and needs to shift gears when in the drops. Like many of the riders on Lidl-Trek’s female team, Balsamo is using an Aeolus Pro 145 saddle which features a cutout in the centre in order to relieve pressure. 

Commonly thought to be more reliable at preventing chain drops over the jolting Roubaix cobbles, Balsamo will use SRAM Red AXS 1x set-up at Paris-Roubaix this year. With the Hell of the North being a flat race, Balsamo is using a 52T chainring at the front and a 10/28T cassette at the rear. The Italian rider's bike has 170mm cranks and Time XPRO 10 pedals.

Mechanics had put a small elastic band over the SRAM battery in order to ensure there is no risk of it falling out even over the roughest sections of pave.

The wheels that Balsamo is opting to ride are the Aeolus Pro 49v – light and durable carbon road wheels with a 25mm inner width and an OCLV NEXT carbon construction which is said to be optimised for higher-volume road and gravel tires.

The tyres on Balsamo’s bike were Pirelli Prototype tyres in 32mm.

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