Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini took an outstanding third place in the Strade Bianche, her third podium finish in the new Italian Classic in its four editions, on the iconic Piazza del Campo, in the Tuscan city of Siena. The Italian Champion, resplendent in her green, white and red jersey, was one of the most aggressive riders in the closing stages of the race, but was just unable to follow the pace set by Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) on the final section of white road.
Longo Borghini was joined by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) in the final kilometres, but was dropped by the former Polish Champion on the final climb to the finish.
“It was a bit of an epic day for me, because I had a puncture and of course we had the last car [in the convoy] so I couldn’t find anyone to change my wheel,” Longo Borghini said at the finish. “Finally my teammate came, then I had to chase back to the peloton.”
The Italian Champion was at the front when the decisive move was made, and she and van der Breggen escaped the front of what was already a very select peloton on the steep Colle Pinzuto section of white road with around 20km to go.
A technical problem meant Longo Borghini was unable to stop the Dutch rider from pulling away, however, and van der Breggen went on to build her winning lead. Niewiadoma attacked across to join the Italian Champion, and was strong enough to pull away on the 16% flagstoned streets of Siena to the finish.
“I had a few little mechanicals during the race, but in the end I was alright. I’m just a little disappointed that I couldn’t go with Anna to the end. Something got stuck in my wheel and I lost her, and when you lose van der Breggen you never come back!
“She’s so strong. It’s her way of riding. She’s amazing.”
1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
Photo credit: Velofocus