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Philly Classic: Longo Borghini second; Abbott Queen of Mountains and Sprints

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini finished in second place for the second straight year in the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, as the race once again came down to the final sprint up the fearsome Manayunk Wall. The Italian was able to outsprint Belarusian Champion Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) as the two of them raced for the line behind the winner, US Champion Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans).

Having expertly shepherded her team leader into the early metres of the final climb, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Olympic Champion Dani King still managed to hold on to finish in seventh place. Having been forced to change her bike just as the race was beginning to accelerate into its closing stages, French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot crossed the line in 20th.

“The race was really good,” Longo Borghini said. “I’m pretty satisfied for my performance, because I’ve been a month without racing. I’ve been at altitude training, so no specific intervals. It’s been a really good return to competition for me!

“The team rode really, really well. We were such a small team, but we achieved everything that we wanted to. Mara won the QOM and the Sprint Classification, which is pretty amazing for Mara because she’s not a sprinter!

“Audrey was a bit unlucky because she broke her rear derailleur, but she was so strong,” Longo Borghini continued. The speed was really high but she still managed to get back to the peloton. And Dani was really, really strong because she rode me into the best position before the Wall, and then she went with her pace and managed to be seventh!

“I’m satisfied and I really thank Wiggle High5!” the Italian concluded.

The 119km race, made up of six laps of a 19.8km, Schuylkill River circuit – with the climbs of the Manayunk Wall and Lemon Hill at either end – was animated by two-rider attack that included Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Mara Abbott. Despite a stiff challenge from Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), Abbott was able to secure both the Mountains and Sprints competitions; all the while allowing her teammates to sit in the peloton behind her.

“Philly is a really special race for us Americans,” Abbott smiled. “It is one of the biggest ones for us historically, so to be able to do well there means a lot.

“It was fun to get to race so aggressively knowing that Elisa was in the bunch behind me,” Abbott added. “The whole team rode so well. It was a great day!”

1. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM)

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