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Katie Archibald closes BeNe Ladies Tour with third place overall

Ben Atkins : 22nd July 2018 7:21 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald has finished the BeNe Ladies Tour with third place overall, having won the opening prologue on Thursday and losing out only to bonus seconds on the stage finish lines. The 24-year-old Scot tried a final kilometre attack, in an attempt to escape the peloton, but was pulled back before the finish.

The race was won by European Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling), with Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM) taking second.

“It’s been a bizarre situation,” Archibald smiled. “Taking the prologue win essentially lined up the next few days for us. It maybe shouldn’t be shocking that the person that’s fastest at four kilometres struggles at 135! It kind of took a knock to the time trial, and I’ve just been looked after so well by the girls this week to essentially maintain that position.”

A finish line time bonus saw Vos take the jersey from Archibald on Stage 1, but the Scot was able to close the gap to just one second in the time trial on Stage 2b. The final stage, made up of nine laps of a 12.6km circuit, was to be a battle for bonuses between Archibald, Vos and Klein, with the Dutch and German riders coming out on top.

“I took a one-second bonus sprint in today’s stage, but Lisa Klein took two seconds so we were drawn on time,” Archibald explained. “So we made the decision to go, and I put in a last minute attack; it was a kilo and a half to go – so it was a very last minute attack – I think that was our best chance for the win.

“But I didn’t have the legs so I was happy to still be there at the end and keep that same time for third place.”

The BeNe Ladies Tour was Archibald’s third stage race for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling in 2018, but she was unable to finish either the Tour de Yorkshire or the OVO Energy Women’s Tour due to crashes. Despite hitting the tarmac this weekend, however, Archibald was not only able to complete the race, but come close to winning it too.

“I didn’t quite manage to get through it without crashing, but it was far less dramatic this time,” she laughed. “I’m still going home to see a physio, but in a lot better shape in previous races! Just sore legs, so that’s good.”

Having completed the BeNe Ladies Tour, Archibald’s focus – along with many of her teammates – will turn towards the European Championships at the beginning of August. The flat nature of the Dutch and Belgian race means that she heads to the velodrome with a quality training block in her legs.

“It’s ten days until Euros starts,” she said. “It’s funny, I was just saying goodbye to Julie [Leth] and Rachele [Barbieri], and of course next time I see them we’ll be in different pens, and different kits. Hopefully this has worked well for that. It will be an important week, this week, with team pursuit prep.

“This has been a really useful block in that respect, but much more of a joy to make the podium!” she laughed.

1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)
2. Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM)
3. Katie Archibald (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

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Katie Archibald marks return from injury with BeNe Ladies Tour Prologue victory

Ben Atkins : 19th July 2018 7:44 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald has returned from injury in emphatic style with victory in the opening prologue of the BeNe Ladies Tour in Oosterhout, Netherlands. The Olympic, World and Commonwealth Track Champion completed the 3.9km course in a time of four minutes, 42.36 seconds, with an incredible average speed of 49.7kph, which was 11 seconds faster than the previous best, set by European Road Race Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling). Pernille Mathiesen (Danish National Team) finished in third place, another second back.

“It felt painful until it was confirmed that I was fastest time, and then it didn’t feel so bad!” Archibald laughed. “I think it was an odd kind of pressure because you say, four kilometres for a track rider seems perfect, but of the few prologues I’ve done in the past I’ve had high expectations and not followed through – places like the Tour of Norway, and Elsy Jacobs – so, yeah, I’m really, really happy.”

The BeNe Ladies Tour, which takes its name from the fact it has stages in both Belgium and the Netherlands, is Archibald’s first race since breaking her collarbone in a crash during the second stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. The 24-year-old Scot has regained her form, however, as she works towards her summer targets.

“There were so many crashes in that stage that could have been completely inconsequential, but I just went into the back of somebody’s saddle – someone else that had crashed – so that was a pain,” she explained.

“But I feel good now. I think this is what I feel good for now, we’ve got track Europeans in a couple of weeks and all my prep’s going towards that. This goes really well with that preparation.”

Archibald’s victory means that she will wear the pale blue BeNe Ladies Tour Leader’s jersey into the first stage, which will start and finish in Merelbeke, Belgium. The fast, flat racing should suit Archibald’s track preparation, just as she expects it to be good for her fellow track riders.

“I’ve seen quite a few other European track riders here; people like Jolien [D’hoore, former Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling rider], Elisa Balsamo from Italy, and obviously Rachele [Barbieri] with our team, so I’m obviously expecting some fast racing, the kind you see on the track,” Archibald said.

“The challenge of course will be the cobbles, and if we see any wind this week, with all the tactics around it,” she added. “We’ll see how the team unfolds, and see how everyone else goes and see where that leaves us with jersey to defend or work towards.”

1. Katie Archibald (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

2. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)
3. Pernille Mathiesen (Danish National Team)

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

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Grace Brown: “Really excited to have the opportunity to race La Course”

Ben Atkins : 16th July 2018 8:12 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Grace Brown will lead the black and orange team into La Course by the Tour de France on Tuesday, as the one-day race takes on a mountain course for the second straight year. The 112.5km race will follow most of the route of the tenth stage of the men’s Tour de France, between Annecy and Le Grand Bornand, and take in some of the tough Alpine climbs.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to race La Course,” said Brown, who joined Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling in May as part of the Amy Gillett Foundation scholarship system. “It’s one of the biggest profile races on the women’s calendar, so I’m hoping to be up there amongst the action and show what I can do.”

Brown’s first appearance in the black and orange jersey was at the Amgen Tour of California, in mid-May, where her strong climbing in the mountainous South Lake Tahoe stage saw her gain a good position overall. An unfortunate crash in the second stage of the Lotto Thüringen Rundfahrt, however, saw her sit out the rest of the race with fractured ribs, and she was unable to do any more to help teammate Lisa Brennauer to victory.

With her ribs healed, however, Brown is ready once again to seize the opportunity given her by the Amy Gillett Foundation and Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling in what will surely be one of the highest profile events of the season.

“Unfortunately after crashing out and breaking some ribs at Thuringen Lotto Ladies Tour I’ve had a long period without racing,” Brown said. “But  I’ve turned that disappointment around and put a lot of focus into my training in that time. I am now feeling very fit and ready to tackle the tough terrain at La Course.”

Brown will be joined in the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team by Japanese Champion Eri Yonamine, who has just completed the ten-day Giro Rosa, in Italy. Yonamine first came to international attention with 11th place in the 2017 edition of La Course, at the top of the Col d’Izoard, and looks to go even better over the Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière this time.

Brown’s fellow Australian Macey Stewart returns to racing after her role in Brennauer’s Thüringen victory, with the rest of the team entirely British with sisters Lucy and Grace Garner joined by Olympic and Commonwealth Champion Elinor Barker.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for La Course by the Tour de France
Elinor Barker (Great Britain), Grace Brown (Australia), Grace Garner (Great Britain), Lucy Garner(Great Britain), Macey Stewart (Australia), Eri Yonamine (Japan)

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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Elisa Longo Borghini second in Giro Rosa Stage 8 breakaway

Ben Atkins : 13th July 2018 5:26 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini finished second in the eighth stage of the Giro Rosa, between San Giorgio di Perlena and Breganze, after instigating a three-rider breakaway move in the closing kilometres. The former Italian Champion was outsprinted at the line by European Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling) but managed come around Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) to take second place, 23 seconds ahead of the fast-moving peloton.

“It was a fast and very hot day today, and we managed to stay in the front together,” Longo Borghini said afterwards. “There was Emilia [Fahlin], Audrey [Cordon-Ragot], Kirsten [Wild] and me. There was a GPM with about 8km to go and Allan told me to try to have a go because we had also a very technical descent. So I did and at the end of the descent it was me, Marianne Vos, and Lucinda Brand.

“We rode together to the finish and in the end it was just a sprint,” Longo Borghini explained. “Lucinda Brand was more concerned about getting seconds for the GC, so she started it first, and I managed to pass her in the last 100 metres.”

Longo Borghini had been part of a breakaway early in the stage, but the group was pulled back before it could build a meaningful lead. Despite having proclaimed that she is no longer racing for the Pink Jersey, after losing almost three minutes through sickness on stage six, she was clearly regarded as a threat by many in the rest of the peloton.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot also escaped alone, but was deemed too dangerous and quickly pulled back.

“After the first descent we got away, but they didn’t let us go,” she smiled. “Maybe they are still a little bit worried about me.”

Despite having taken back 29 seconds – including a six-second time bonus – in the general classification, Longo Borghini still confirms that her fight for overall victory is over. With the fearsome Monte Zoncolan at the finish of stage nine, however, the former Italian Champion is still looking for good results in this Giro d’Italia.

“There is a big day tomorrow, and we don’t have to underestimate the final stage,” she said. “But I think the GC hopes are over and now I just focus on some stages.”

As by far the best Italian rider in the race, Longo Borghini’s grip on the Blue Jersey is now even more secure and, having taken maximum points on both of the day’s classified climbs – at Marostica and Fara Vicentino – she has moved closer to taking back the lead in the Mountains Classification.

“I don’t know,” she smiled. “I didn’t see how the points are, but I don’t think so. Amanda [Spratt] is very strong and, I don’t know, tomorrow is maybe an arrival for her.”

1. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb)

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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Elisa Longo Borghini takes Blue and Green Jerseys in Giro Rosa Stage 4

Ben Atkins : 9th July 2018 6:04 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini finished the fourth stage of the Giro Rosa, in Piacenza, Emilia Romagna, with two of the five classification jerseys. The former Italian Champion was first over the climb to Romolo, midway through the fast 109km stage, which was enough to earn her the lead in the Green Jersey Mountains Classification, while she also took the Blue Jersey as the Best Italian Rider in the race.

“I’m really happy to have taken the Mountains Jersey,” Longo Borghini said. “It’s always nice to wear it even if I don’t know how long I’ll keep it because there are many stronger climbers than me.”

The otherwise flat stage was not without its drama, however, with a big crash with less than ten kilometres to go bringing down Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders, Amy Cure, Martina Ritter and stage two winner Kirsten Wild. Longo Borghini was also brought to a halt, along with Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin, and the six riders had the task of rejoining the fast-moving peloton before the finish.

The Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders managed to get back to the front of the race within a few kilometres, but the chase – as well as a slight misdirection in the peloton – meant that Wild was unable to sprint with her full power, and could only manage seventh on the stage behind former black and orange rider Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-Scott).

“Today we were unlucky with Kirsten,” Longo Borghini said. “Because at one point the peloton went on the wrong side of the road and Kirsten was among those riders who had to slow down to get back on the right path.”

Wild’s sprint did earn her enough points to keep hold of the Cyclamen Points Jersey, however, which means the black and orange team holds three of the five classifications going into stage five.

Longo Borghini’s hold on the Mountains Jersey comes just a few weeks after she took the same classification at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

“But the one for giro has a special taste!” she laughed.

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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Second place for Kirsten Wild in technical Giro Rosa Stage Three finish

Ben Atkins : 8th July 2018 5:45 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild was not quite able to match her stage-winning performance of the previous day, as she finished second in the third stage of the Giro Rosa, on a technical circuit around the town of Corbetta. The triple Track World Champion crossed the line just ahead of Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM), but was jut unable to catch former black and orange rider Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-Scott).

“If I look at my history with the Giro I think I can be happy, because I didn’t have the greatest relationship with it,” Wild smiled afterwards. “Especially with these technical finish lines, I’m not so good at, so I think I can be happy with second.

“I felt like I made a little mistake,” she conceded. “I think I was too early in the front, and then we were fighting for the last corner with the three of us. We lost a lot of speed and they came from the back with a lot of speed, and that was a bit unfortunate.”

The flat, but technical 16.5km circuit was completed eight times in the 132km stage, Wild took first place in the Intermediate Sprint at the end of lap two, before a three-rider break got away. The leaders were allowed to open up a gap of almost two minutes before Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling, with the assistance of the other sprinters’ teams, pulled them back in time for the finish.

“It was the same as yesterday,” Wild explained. “There were three riders off the front, with nobody chasing. But today it was a lot more with the other teams; I think the other teams think they have to win and Wiggle High5 already has their win, so if they don’t do it, nobody will do it.

“They did a really good job on the front again, keeping the speed high and chasing the break back. It’s really nice to see team working like this, having all the same goal, it’s really nice.”

With Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Martina Ritter and Japanese Champion Eri Yonamine working to bring the breakaway back once again, Wild was accompanied in the peloton by Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin and Elisa Longo Borghini. The two riders managed to keep Wild at the front of the peloton, but the finish proved to be a little too complicated for her to take the victory.

“It was a really technical finish,” Wild explained. “First of all, with 10km to go, we went into a small part of the course, so we knew we had to be at the front, and so we were – Elisa and me – the other girls did their job before. We decided to stay with just three of us, because it was so technical you couldn’t go with the whole team.

“Elisa and me were together in the last 3km, but it was so technical. There were cobbles, past a church with old cobbles and a square and everything. It was very Italian!” she laughed.

“It was like an elimination,” Wild added, referring to one of the four events in the Omnium, in which she is reigning World Champion. “Every corner there were riders going out of the corner, and we had to pass a gap a few times.

“From 3km to 500 metres it was really technical.”

Wild’s second place finish, added to her victory on stage two, have given the Dutch sprinter a commanding lead in the Points Classification. While the track World Champion is delighted with the honour of continuing to wear the Cyclamen Jersey, she feels it is too early in the race to make it a target in itself.

“Actually I didn’t think about it before, but it might be a good opportunity,” she smiled. “The target was for a stage, and the classement with Elisa, and this is like a nice bonus. It’s still the same goals, we are still going for stage wins, and if we win the jersey like that it’s nice.

“If not we still go for stage wins,” she added.

1. Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-Scott)
2. Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM)

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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Kirsten Wild wins Giro Rosa stage two in dominant sprint finish

Ben Atkins : 7th July 2018 5:01 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild finished off a fantastic display of teamwork with a dominant sprint victory at the end of the second stage of the Giro d’Italia Femminile, the Giro Rosa, in Ovada. The Dutch super sprinter crossed the line well clear of former black and orange rider Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling) and European Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling) at the end of the 120km stage, after Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s riders had chased down a two-rider breakaway.

“This was really a team win,” said Wild afterwards. “The girls chased, and the girls that didn’t chase really helped me in the final, so it was a really good one!

“They really helped me into a good position, then I saw another team going and I followed the wheels. But Elisa and Emilia put me in a really good position.

“I just went as possible, as I could, so yeah!” she laughed.

The stage was dominated by a breakaway from Sheyla Gutierrez (Cylance Pro Cycling) and Alice Maria Arzuffi (Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias). The two riders were still almost three minutes clear with just 20km to go, and seemingly heading for stage victory, when Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s riders decided to act.

“We tried to speak to the other teams, but not a lot of teams were really interested in a sprint, so they said that they were not interested,” Wild explained. “At that point they were riding for the classement, and we were riding for the stage. Because if you want to win you win then it has to be together.

“The girls started chasing, but Emilia [Fahlin] and Elisa [Longo Borghini] stayed with me, and we got them back in the last 500 metres I think!”

Despite the uphill final kilometre, which the peloton had already passed through after 54km, Wild was determined to deliver her teammates the victory that their hard work had earned.

“Before I thought it was nice, but it was a bit of an uphill finish,” she said. “It’s not really good for me, I thought it was a bit too much. But in the end it worked really well!”

Having managed to close an almost three-minute gap to Gutierrez and Arzuffi in less than 20km, Wild was proud of the feat that her teammates had managed.

“The girls did a really good job,” she said. “But of course they were up the road for a really long time. It’s easier to catch a group that has been up the road for a long time, of course, but the team chase was amazing.

“This was another team time trial. I think it was good that we already had a team time trial, because today was another one!

“But yesterday was also really good,” she added, referring to the stage one team time trial. “We had some bad luck with the puncture of Amy [Cure], because she’s one of the motors of the team. But I think we did a good team time trial, and the gap is not so big for Elisa. I think in the end we won’t be talking about seconds, we will be talking about minutes!”

With a stage victory at the Giro Rosa being one of Wild’s big targets of the season now achieved, the triple Track World Champion can look ahead to further opportunities in the remaining eight stages of the race. The win has also earned the Dutchwoman enough points to take the lead in the Cyclamen Jersey classification, which she will wear on stage three.

“It’s really nice, and I’m really happy, and I think there will be some more chances for the team to take a win,” Wild said. “A win in the Giro is a really big one, so I’m happy.

“Happy for the team, happy for the girls, happy for myself.”

1. Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

2. Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling)
3. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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Longo Borghini leads Wiggle High5 to the Giro Rosa “without pressure or stress”

Ben Atkins : 3rd July 2018 12:58 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini will lead the black and orange team into the Giro d’Italia Femminile – the Giro Rosa – which starts on Friday, without pressure or stress in the hunt for the Maglia Rosa. Although the former Italian Champion was unable to successfully defend her green, white and red tricolore jersey last month, she has welcomed a return to her accustomed good form after a tough spring, marred by illness and allergies.

“I’m looking forward to the Giro, but I’m going there with my mind really free,” she said. I’m just going with the flow, because I just don’t want to stress about the GC, especially after such a hard first part of the season. I just want to try to take out the best from everything that comes, and I don’t want pressure and I don’t want too much stress for the GC.

“I will see,” Longo Borghini added. “I will see my level is, and I will see where I stand.”

The ten-stage race begins on Friday with a 15.5km team time trial, in Longo Borghini’s home city of Verbania, along the shore of Lake Maggiore. The 26-year-old has many reasons to look forward to this, as well as the third stage which sees the race return to the area.

“For the TTT I think we have a very strong team, and we can do very well,” she said. “I’m actually looking forward to the TTT. It’s best not to think about [the Maglia Rosa] too much, and just to go full-gas!

“There are two stages at home, and it’s very nice that we I race on my home streets,” the Italian added. “I’m looking forward to it because I know there will be people cheering for me, and it’s always nice to have a crowd and the support.”

As well as the team time trial, there will be a 15km individual race against the clock, on stage seven, on the climb to Dighe di Campo Moro. As reigning Italian time trial champion it should be a stage that suits Longo Borghini.

“Probably I should look forward to it, but I know that it’s going to be very tough,” she laughed. “It’s going to be very interesting.

“I’m also very happy that we’re going to have the Monte Zoncolan,” she added, “but I honestly think that I am a bit too heavy for it. But I will do my best, without any stress.”

Longo Borghini will be supported in the race by an international line up, with French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Australian multiple Track World Champion Amy Cure, Austrian climber Martina Ritter, Japanese Champion Eri Yonamine and newly crowned Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin.

In addition to the mountain stages and time trials, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling will also target the sprints with the Netherlands’ triple World Track Champion Kirsten Wild.

“I think I have a lot of support, but my teammates have been very, very good in every race, and I’m happy to be racing with them again,” Longo Borghini said. “I missed them a bit!

“There are some flat stages that can suit Kirsten, and I think she can get away with a stage win, surely.”

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Giro d’Italia Femminile
Audrey Cordon-Ragot
(France), Amy Cure (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Elisa Longo Borghini(Italy), Martina Ritter (Austria), Kirsten Wild (Netherlands), Eri Yonamine (Japan)

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Emilia Fahlin reclaims and Eri Yonamine retains in first National Championship weekend

Ben Atkins : 25th June 2018 7:59 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Emilia Fahlin and Eri Yonamine both won their National Championship road races this weekend, in Sweden and Japan respectively. It is a third Swedish road title for Fahlin, who previously won it in 2008 and 2013, while it was a fourth Japanese title for Yonamine.

“It’s a relief to be honest!” Fahlin laughed, following her race on Saturday. “I’ve been wanting it for a long time, but for the last few years I’ve not done nationals a couple of times. It was a big goal to try and get the jersey, but it’s never easy to win a bike race. I was probably the favourite for it, but with that you have pressure and people watching you. It can be a really tactical race, and that’s the tricky part with nationals.

“You have to make the race yourself, but today worked out in the best possible scenario, and when I crossed the line I was a bit emotional!

“I can’t wait to get the jersey on for next year, it’s super-cool!”

The tough course around Båstad, on the south west coast of Sweden, was both hilly and windy, and an attack on the first of eight laps from Fahlin was enough to pull herself and newly crowned time trial champion and Olympic triathlon medalist Lisa Nordén away from the rest of the field, and the two of them rode the rest of the race together.

“It was really hard,” Fahlin said. “Now I look at my SRM afterwards and I did something like 2000 altitude metres, in 124km, so it’s one of the most hilly races I do all year! There was one main climb, which was straight after the finish, and that one was really hard because it was steep – it average 11% for the first km – and we needed to do it eight times!

“I was happy we had some sort of hard part, so that you make the race, and make a selection of the race,” she added. “I wanted to put a bit of pressure on early, to make a smaller selection, so I could control it a bit better, but it turned out that I only got company from one girl the first time up the climb!

“She was keen to collaborate with me, and she won the time trial, so I knew she was super strong and was the perfect one to take time together.”

Despite the strength of Nordén, however, Fahlin was confident that her race strategy would pay off. Sure enough, as they hit the cobbled, uphill finishing straight for the final time, the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling rider’s superior sprint saw her take the title with ease.

“I know she’s a crazy athletic person, who has such a good physique and is a super-strong engine,” Fahlin said. “But then I know she doesn’t have that much experience in road racing, and I know I have a good sprint, and I thought I would get the sprint quite easily. So I put my cards on that towards the end and it worked out well!”

Fahlin’s third Road Race Championship, added to her three Time Trial titles, comes at the end of a strong period of racing for the 29-year-old, which included two stages and the overall victory in the Gracia-Orlova stage race in the Czech Republic at the end of April.

“I’ve definitely taken another step this season, and it’s good to get that bit of confidence and knowing that you can be up in the mix at races,” said Fahlin, who spends most races working hard for her teammates.

In Masuda, on the north coast of Japan’s main, Honshu Island, Eri Yonamine rode away from the rest of the field to finish alone and retain her Road Race title for a fourth straight year. The 27-year-old crossed the line three minutes clear of her nearest rival, Hiromi Kaneko, and will continue to wear her White and Red Jersey for another year.

“I’m so proud for me to win the National Championship and to wear my National jersey,” Yonamine said. “It’s always not easy to win but I believed in myself, my supporters and sponsors. This is not only mine but also every single person supporting me.”

Yonamine’s Road Race title is added to the Time Trial Championship that she also retained on the 17th of June. This, her fifth in the discipline means that she will also continue to wear the White and Red Jersey in time trials.

“I’m really happy to be back to Europe as Japanese Champion and I’m looking forward to racing with teammies in second half of the season!” Yonamine said.

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Elisa Longo Borghini wins OVO Energy Tour Mountains Classification

Ben Atkins : 17th June 2018 5:53 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini has finished the 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Tour with a commanding victory in the Queen of the Mountains Classification. The Italian Champion has worn the Black Jersey since the second stage and finished with a total of 44 points, which was double the amount of her nearest rival in the competition.

Despite crashing early in the stage, between Dolgellau and Colwyn Bay, Longo Borghini still managed to take fourth place over the biggest climb of the race, Nant Gwynant after 69km, even though her jersey was already secure. The Italian Champion’s win in the classification is the second consecutive one for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling, after Audrey Cordon-Ragot’s victory in 2017.

“I’m very happy to have won this jersey,” the Italian Champion said. “I think I will dedicate it to my teammates and the staff, because they helped me a lot throughout this week and especially today after my crash. They were very nice, they all waited for me, and Kirsten [Wild] also sacrificed her sprint a bit in waiting for me.”

Having helped pace Longo Borghini up to the peloton, Wild was not able to sprint with her full power in Colwyn Bay, and finished in sixth place behind winner Lotta Lepistö (Cervelo-Bigla). Her efforts had kept her Italian teammate’s position in the General Classification, with Longo Borghini finishing in sixth place overall.

“I’m very, very happy,” the Italian Champion said. “It gives me a boost of confidence after a very strange spring for me. Let’s say strange, because I won’t say disastrous or catastrophic!”

After suffering with illness and allergies through her favourite spring season, Longo Borghini heads into the summer races with her confidence renewed by a performance in one of the World’s biggest stage races. Although the course was not tough enough for the Italian Champion to use her climbing talents to their full effect, she faces her next targets with renewed morale.

“Now I’m looking forward for Nationals, even though I know that repeating the victory will be very hard,” she said. “I now focus on the Giro. I just want to enjoy it as much as I did this week in Great Britain!”

Photo Credit: Vélofocus

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