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Elisa Longo Borghini looking to add La Flèche Wallonne to Flanders Glory

Elisa Longo Borghini will lead a powerful Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling into Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne Femmes, the fourth round of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup. The 23-year-old Italian has finished on the podium of both of the last two editions of the southern Belgian Classic and, after her victory in the Tour of Flanders earlier this month, will be one of the outstanding favourites. She will take the start alongside Belgian teammate Jolien D’hoore, who will proudly wear the World Cup Leader’s Jersey in the second of her country’s events in the classification.

“Flèche Wallonne is an awesome race,” said Longo Borghini. “It’s my favourite classic and it is one of my big targets for the spring. I have been training on the lap, and I hope that I can be good on Wednesday.

“Our team is really competitive and we have also the World Cup leader,” Longo Borghini added. “It’s going to be fun!”

As an historic race in the men’s peloton, La Flèche Wallonne Femmes carries considerable cachet as it races over the same roads, and finishes atop the iconic, super-steep Mur de Huy. The 121km race will start at the top of the Mur, before taking in two long loops around the hilly Ardennes countryside. The peloton will climb the Mur for the first time after 57.5km at the end of lap one, while the second lap will take in a small detour to climb the almost-as-steep Côte de Cherave before the final race up to the finish line.

Although the finale of La Flèche Wallonne is not one that is best suited to Jolien D’hoore’s characteristics, the Belgian Champion will be proud to line up at the start in Huy resplendent in the White Jersey of the leader in the World Cup Classification. The 25-year-old first took the jersey after her birthday victory in the Ronde van Drenthe on the 14th of March, but didn’t wear it at the Trofeo Binda as she was racing in Gent-Wevelgem on the same day.

Second place in the Tour of Flanders, behind Longo Borghini, meant that D’hoore has retaken the World Cup lead, and she is excited to display the jersey in her home nation on Wednesday.

“It’s obviously a big honour for me to race in the World Cup leader’s jersey, in a World Cup race in Belgium, so that’s special and new for me,” she said. “But I won’t race there to get my own result, I will help Elisa and the others of the team and try to do as much as I can on that type of course.”

Riding alongside Longo Borghini and D’hoore will be former US Champion Mara Abbott, whose victory in last week’s Redlands Classic highlighted her status as one of the strongest climbers in the women’s peloton. The two-time Giro d’Italia winner will be joined by former Spanish Champion Anna Sanchis, Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara and Frenchwoman Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who has recovered from the illness that forced her to sit out best friend Longo-Borghini’s Flanders victory.

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for La Flèche Wallonne Femmes (22nd April)
Mara Abbott (United States), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Mayuko Hagiwara(Japan), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Anna Sanchis (Spain)


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