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Hosking third in Gent-Wevelgem as Longo Borghini just misses Binda Podium

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Chloe Hosking took third place in what has been described as an epic edition of Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, while Elisa Longo Borghini narrowly missed the podium in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda Comune di Cittiglo in Italy. The black and orange team was in action on two fronts, with riders making the selections in both races, but was just unable to match the success of the two previous weekends.

Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) won Gent-Wevelgem with a late solo attack, with Hosking just beaten into second by Janneke Ensing (Parkhotel Valkenburg) a few seconds later. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore won the sprint for fourth place at the head of the next group.

The race was run in strong wind and heavy rain, which caused many to call for the men’s WorldTour race – which was being run concurrently – to be neutralised.

“It was awesome!” Hosking exclaimed. “I think maybe the wind got stronger in the day, for the guys, but for sure there were girls being blown off the road, and I had a few sketchy moments where girls that had too deep wheels on almost took me out. I just love this kind of racing though. Maybe it was a little bit dangerous, but it was real Belgium spring classic racing. Maybe I’m just crazy!

“The peloton was already pretty small when we hit the Kemmelberg for the first time. It got select over the hills, but it was really the crosswinds that did the damage. I suddenly looked round and there was a group of about ten, and some of the big names weren’t there.

“It wasn’t until the second time over the Kemmelberg and Monteberg that it really split up. Only five girls went over the top together – Jolien was up there for us, which was great – and I was the sixth rider, just hanging off the back, but I knew the descent and I knew that I’d be able to get back on.”

The group was reduced to just nine riders, with Hosking and D’hoore present, but late attacks split the group further in the final run to the finish in Wevelgem.

“I said straight away ‘this is Gent-Wevelgem, this is Jolien’s race,’” Hosking explained. “But, in the end, Liv-Plantur had the numbers and made it count. They started launching attacks, and I think I covered maybe three or four – and Jolien covered one – but Mackaij attacked with about three-k to go and I just hesitated.

“I was so exhausted. It was me and Ensing, but we just couldn’t close the gap. I rolled through with about a kilometre to go, and she left me stuck on the front and took me for second place. Finishing third wasn’t fantastic for us because Jolien really had the legs and would have been able to take the sprint if it had stayed together, but Liv-Plantur had the numbers and played it really well.

“It wasn’t the best, but it’s nice to finish on the podium, and we’re really looking good for the Tour of Flanders next Sunday.”

The Trofeo Binda was won by Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) at the head of a selective group of six riders, with the Rabo-Liv duo of World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Anna van der Breggen outsprinting Longo Borghini to the final podium spots.

“I’m satisfied with the form I have, because I was sick in the days before this race and I didn’t know what my condition is,” Longo Borghini said afterwards. “I’m there, and I’m happy that I was there in the front group today.

“I’m just feeling a bit sad because I really wanted to get a podium place for my team, because they worked really, really well and everyone did their job. I just couldn’t sprint fast enough for third place, but I’m happy.”

Racing in fine weather, the peloton stayed largely together during the opening long lap – with only solo attacks from Simona Frapporti (Alé-Cipollini) and Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) breaking the deadlock. On the four hilly 17.1km finishing laps, however, the race came to life.

Longo Borghini was part of a six-rider move that included Armitstead, Ferrand Prevot and van der Breggen, as well as Alena Amialiusik (Velocio-SRAM) and Yolanda Neff (Switzerland), which proved to be the winning move of the race. Ferrand Prevot made a solo bid for glory, but was chased down by Longo Borghini, Armitstead, Ferrand Prevot and van der Breggen, with the other two just managing to rejoin in the final kilometres.

“The last three laps we were on fire, it was an explosion!” Longo Borghini exclaimed. “There were a lot of attacks and I managed to counter and follow and to be there until the last corner. I have to admit that I took the last corner wrong. I was the last one, and I had to sprint, and I couldn’t reach the third place.

“I’m happy, but I wanted to give a podium place to the girls that worked for me,” she added. “We will be really strong in [next week’s Tour of] Flanders, I’m so sure. My condition is growing, I feel confident and I feel strong.”

Result Gent-Wevelgem
1. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur)
2. Janneke Ensing (Parkhotel Valkenburg)
3. Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
4. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

Result Trofeo Binda
1. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo-Liv)
3. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

Gent-Wevelgem Photos Credit: Dick Soepenberg/

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