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Longo Borghini closes the season in style with Giro Dell’Emilia victory

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini has closed her incredible 2015 season with a stunning solo solo victory in the Giro Dell’Emilia. After attacking no less than three times on the steep climb to the Madonna di San Luca Sanctuary, above the Emilia Romagna capital Bologna, the 23-year-old Italian – dressed in the Azzura-blue of her national team – crossed the line five seconds ahead of South African Champion Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Bigla), with American veteran Amber Neben (BePink-LaClassica) another two seconds back in third.

Riding in the red and yellow of her own national team, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Spanish Champion Anna Sanchis crossed the line in eighth place, in a group 21 seconds behind Longo Borghini.

“It was a pretty easy race because there was only the final climb,” Longo Borghini explained. “It was 2.2km with a ten percent average, so it was pretty hard in the final. Ashleigh Moolman did the forcing at the bottom, just tried to go a bit hard to weaken the others a bit…

“Then with 250 metres to go I started my sprint, because I need to start a bit long because I need a harder sprint, and I came first!

“It was rainy. It was quite cold. But I actually like cold more than the warmth!”

With the peloton all together around the flat 99km course, it was left to the stronger riders to make the difference when the steep climb to the Madonna di San Luca began.

“In the beginning it was Ashleigh who attacked, and we were four, and then it flattened a bit and eleven riders came back. Then I went a bit hard, and we were three – me, Yolanda Neff [Switzerland] and Ashleigh; then I pulled a bit, and Neff blew up, and we were two.

“It was nice because most of the time I’m racing with Wiggle Honda, and this time I was with the National Team. It’s the first time in my life in a normal race. It’s kind of strange because you are looking for the Wiggle Honda jersey, and then you are reminded that you are with the National Team, and you have to look for the blue jersey!”

As with many races in Italy, Longo Borghini was presented with several prizes on the podium, including an enormous mortadella sausage; a Bologna speciality, and known locally as “Il re dei salumi” – the king of the salamis.

“I went out with heaps of presents!” she laughed. “My family really likes [mortadella], and they will eat it for sure!”

Longo Borghini’s victory draws her 2015 season to a close, which has been her most successful to date. Her debut year for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling saw the 23-year-old from Verbania, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, win the Tour of Flanders, and a dominant climb to la Planche des Belles Filles, in the Vosges mountains, completed a dominant victory in the Route de France.

“For me it’s been a really nice season,” she said. “July was a really hard month for me; I had some troubles with my back, and I struggled a lot during the Giro d’Italia, which was one of my goals, but for the rest I’m really happy and satisfied. I’m hitting 2016 with a really positive mood, and a lot of expectations.”

It has not only been Longo Borghini’s own results that have made this season stand out, however, but her contribution to the results of the rest of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team has been immeasurable.

“That’s what makes my 2015 really good because for the very first time I felt like I was really useful for the team,” she said. “This was important because I felt that I was really part of the success of the team, and I could improve myself.

“It’s something that makes me really happy, and makes my 2015 even more nice.”

1. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

2. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Bigla)
3. Amber Neben (BePink-LaClassica)

8. Anna Sanchis (Spain)

Photo Credit: Fabiano Ghilardi


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