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Johansson and Longo Borghini third and fourth in Strade Bianche

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emma Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini took third and fourth places respectively in today’s second edition of the Strade Bianche, in the iconic Piazza del Campo, in the centre of the beautiful, historic Tuscan city of Siena. The 121km race, which was the first ever event in the Women’s WorldTour, was won by World Champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) with an attack in the final, steep kilometre into the centre of Siena, ahead of European Champion Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv). Swedish Champion Johansson was just unable to go with Armitstead’s acceleration as the three riders approached the finish, while Longo Borghini led the first chasing group home.

“It was good,” Johansson said. “I did the best I could in the situation. I was feeling pretty good. I had a good day, but it’s just that Lizzie’s flying at the moment. We knew before that we can’t let her get 50 metres, because then she’s gone, so when her and Niewiadoma went – I don’t know exactly what kilometre it was – I knew that we needed to have one there, and I managed to go with them.

“I also knew that if I could win from this group it would be a miracle, so I just tried to sit on as much as much as I could and just save myself, and hopefully a smaller group was going to get across or something. Then I could have had Elisa there, and we’d maybe be able to race a bit more aggressively again.

“But then we got a good gap and it was never going to come back,” Johansson added. “Then coming in for the final kilometre, I just tried to hang on for as long as I could, but I had to let them go in the end.”

The opening kilometres of the race saw the peloton stay together, but as the sections of unpaved Tuscan white roads began, the race started to split. An initial group of ten riders escaped, and included both Johansson and Longo Borghini, but this was joined by a larger group that contained more Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders, including Olympic Champion Dani King.

Johansson was able to follow the attack from Armitstead on the fifth section of Strade Bianche, with just under 25km to go, and the trio rode clear of the rest. Only on the final, steep, paved climb up to the historic centre of Siena was Armitstead able to escape.

Longo Borghini led the chasers home, while King finished 14th as part of the same group.

“I think we did a good race,” Johansson said. “Elisa was up there – she was fourth – and Dani was also there. So the whole team has been racing strong today. It was a really good race from us, and I think we definitely did everything we could.

“It’s such a nice race. We were really lucky with the weather too – it started drizzling a bit bit at the beginning, bit we managed to stay dry for almost the whole race, then when we were at the podium it started raining!

“It’s a really nice race, a hard race,” the Swedish Champion concluded. “It’s a bit disappointing that there was no live coverage, but at least we were in it!”

1. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv)
3. Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

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