2022 saw Francesca make the step up to the WorldTour level with Team dsm-firmenich after a good two years in the junior ranks where she claimed both the Italian road race and time trial titles. A strong campaign saw Francesca grow as a rider from where she was at the start of the year, ending the season with some good results at AG Tour de la Semois, Binche-Chimay-Binche and Tour de Romandie.
Cut from cycling cloth, it was almost inevitable that she would take up the sport with her father, Florido, a professional and her grandfather, Germano, competing in multiple Grand Tours alongside Italian cycling royalty Fausto Coppi. Her father also owns a bike shop in which her mum works, so when she got on two-wheels at the age of six, there was never really any turning back for Francesca.
A fan of the outdoors and freedom cycling brings, she didn’t like many other sports as a kid, only really doing swimming and skiing, but cycling was always the one for her. Alongside the ability to go wherever on your bike, Francesca is also a “competitive person”, so she also enjoys the thrill and adrenaline that she gets from racing against others.
Reflecting on her character, Francesca thinks that she is “determined”, “reliable” and “stubborn”, laughing to herself as she reveals the last one. That determination helps her when she has a goal as she is “fully-focused” to achieve it, and as a friend and teammate she is someone who can be relied and trusted upon to give her best. Still laughing, she says that the stubbornness in her personal life means that it’s hard to change her mind about something, but equally it can help in her cycling as she won’t give up easily.
Someone who shares similar charactoristics that she looks up to is Elisa Longo Borghini, who comes from the same region that Francesca does. Admiring her work ethic and capabilities on the bike, Francesca takes a lot of inspiration from Elisa as someone who has come through a similar pathway that she has: “If I can become half the rider she is, then I will be happy.”
Looking back on her opening year with Team dsm-firmenich, Francesca considers it a season with a lot of promise and one that she is proud of, stating that the struggles she felt while adjusting at the start of the year were to be expected, and she was able to grow without any pressure. All of that culminated with a “better than expected” second half to the year where she gained a lot of confidence and “earned her place in the bunch.”
Her stand-out was at the Tour de Romandie where on the opening stage she made the reduced front group of around 25 riders over some challenging and hilly terrain, helping the team brilliantly early on but also setting up the lead out in the finale.
“I was really proud and happy of that day because I think I did my job perfectly and to make a front group like that, which was made up of girls I had watched on TV the past years, was pretty special.”
Looking ahead, Francesca wants to continue her current trajectory and make steps slowly and “just improve in general”.
When she’s not on the bike then you can often find her perfecting her tiramisu recipe which she promises is “really good”. If not, then she enjoys getting lost in the latest book she’s reading or spending time with family and friends, but be warned, don’t make her wait for any food, joking that she gets “quite annoyed and impatient” if she must wait long in a restaurant.