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Longo Borghini Solos into Route de France lead with Stage Three Victory

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini soloed into the overall race lead with a stunning victory in the third stage of the 2015 Route de France, between Nevers and Avallon. After escaping on the final climb of the day, the Italian Tour of Flanders winner crossed the line 13 seconds ahead of a 12-rider group, with Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) winning the sprint for second place, ahead of Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara was fourth.

Despite the lack of time bonuses, the gap was enough for Longo Borghini to take the yellow jersey from Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur), who crossed the line in fifth.

“Mayuko and me were free to attack on the local laps,” Longo Borghini explained. “Giorgia [Bronzini] was feeling good too, but she unluckily crashed on the downhill of the second last lap.

“I’m really happy to have won,” she smiled. “I still need to re-find my shape, and to heal from my back problems, but of course a victory gives me motivation.”

As she crossed the line, Longo Borghini pointed to the sky in tribute to her young Italian compatriot, Chiara Pierobon, who tragically lost her life while en route to the Sparkassen Giro earlier this month.

“I wanted to remember Chiara,” Longo Borghini said.

After two sprint-friendly stages – where Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson finished second in the first, and Giorgia Bronzini won the second – the 113km third stage of the Route de France was decidedly hillier. With a 4.6km finishing circuit, based on the climb to the finish, Longo Borghini was able to take her chance to attack.

“I tried at the second last lap, after the finish, but I found that I had two Liv-Plantur riders with me [race leader Pieters and Claudia Lichtenberg] so I couldn’t work,” she explained. “I did the same attack on the cobbles just after the finish at the last lap and I went really fast downhill because I knew it was technical.

“I was with Lichtenberg, and at the last kick uphill before the finish I attacked again and soloed to the finish.”

Her 13-second gap to the group that contained yellow jersey Pieters means that Longo Borghini goes into stage four with a two-second lead over the Dutch rider.

“I want to live day by day without pressure,” Longo Borghini said. “This stage is really good preparation for the upcoming World Cups, but of course I want to defend this jersey!”

1. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
3. Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)
4. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)


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