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Jolien D’hoore leads Tour of Norway after Stage One Sprint Victory

Ben Atkins : 18th August 2017 8:00 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore sprinted to victory in the opening stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway, between Halden and Mysen. The Belgian Champion was perfectly placed at the head of the peloton by teammate, former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin, shortly before the final corner, then outpaced the rest of the sprinters in the uphill race to the line. Australian Gracie Elvin (Orica-Scott) took second place, with Luxembourg Champion Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) third.

Time bonuses on the line meant that D’hoore, who finished eighth in the previous day’s prologue, also took the overall race leader’s Yellow Jersey.

“The last lap was quite dangerous, and you had to be in front the whole time,” D’hoore explained after the stage. “Together with the team I could do that. Luckily I was in a good position, and my teammate Emilia Fahlin – my Swedish teammate – she brought me into the perfect position coming into the last corner, and it was just great.

“This was the stage that I wanted. We were there the whole time, and the brought me in front, and that’s how I could win.”

The 115km stage’s rolling parcours meant that there were several attacks from riders, wanting to avoid a bunch sprint. A number of small groups managed to get a few seconds clear – including one that featured D’hoore that followed the second of the stage’s intermediate sprints – but none was able to build a meaningful lead.

The speed increased on the final finishing circuits in the countryside around Mysen, as the sprinters’ teams began to line up their fast-finishers. Into the final kilometres, however, D’hoore was expertly led to the front of the bunch by Fahlin, and the Belgian Champion was the class of the field on the uphill finishing straight.

“It was beautiful,” D’hoore said of the Norwegian course, that featured some spectacular lake a river views. “Once in a while I tried to look around me, at the landscape, and it was really beautiful. We were riding alongside the lake, and it was nice.

“I couldn’t see the landscape here in the last lap,” she laughed. “But I think it’s pretty nice!”

Ten seconds on the line for D’hoore, along with one second gained in an intermediate sprint, meant that the Belgian Champion leapt over the riders that finished ahead of her in Thursday’s prologue to take the Yellow Jersey.

1. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

2. Gracie Elvin (Orica-Scott)
3. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

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Julie Leth: “August has been like a small Tour of Scandinavia”

Ben Atkins : 16th August 2017 10:22 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Julie Leth is looking forward to this week’s Ladies’ Tour of Norway, which starts with a Prologue in the streets of Halden on Thursday afternoon. The four-day race will be the next round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, and sees a continuation of a Scandinavian campaign for the women’s peloton, following the European Championships in Herning, Denmark, and the Team Time Trial and Road Race in Vårgårda, Sweden.

“It’s my first time racing here in Ladies Tour of Norway, and I am very much looking forward to it,” Leth smiled. “With the Europeans being in Denmark this year, August has been like a small Tour of Scandinavia.

“Unfortunately the weather hasn’t been all that great, but that’s the thing about Scandinavian summer,” the former Danish Champion laughed. “You never know what you’re gonna get!

“Even though traveling to Holland takes pretty much the same time as the travel to Halden, it sort of feels closer to home, and for now Sweden and Norway is the closest I get. I cannot help but dream about a women’s UCI race in Denmark.”

The Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team in Norway will be similar to that which rode in Vårgårda, with Emilia Fahlin the team’s second Scandinavian rider. The former Swedish Champion finished eighth in Sunday’s road race, despite going against some of the best sprinters in the World, and so will be looking to build on that performance.

The black and orange team’s full sprinting power will once again be presented the line in Norway, however, with former two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini and Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore. Former double track World Champion Nettie Edmondson will also be present to help out her two teammates, but the Australian has proved that she is also well capable of taking the chance herself.

The one change from the Swedish line up is the presence of tough German climber Claudia Lichtenberg, who steps in to replace Audrey Cordon-Ragot.

“Being new to this race, it’s hard to say what to expect,” Leth explained. “We are here with a strong team, and I hope we can go for stage wins. The stages here going up and down all day, also the weather will have an impact on the race.

“As of now, it looks like rain for the first stages, which will make it more challenging.”

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling Team for the Ladies’ Tour of Norway
Giorgia Bronzini
(Italy), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark), Claudia Lichtenberg (Germany)


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Emilia Fahlin: “I’m very excited the Vårgårda weekend is coming up!”

Ben Atkins : 10th August 2017 10:43 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling will line up at this weekend’s Crescent Vårgårda Women’s WorldTour races with the winners of the two previous editions of the road race, in former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin and current Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore.  Fahlin, always an active and aggressive rider in the two biggest races in her home country, took her biggest one-day victory as part of a breakaway last year, while D’hoore won what was a much-reduced bunch sprint in 2015, as her second victory in what was that year’s World Cup.

“I’m very excited the Vårgårda weekend is coming up!” Fahlin exclaimed. “Obviously I got some pretty incredible memories from last year and I can’t wait to come back again and race on ‘home’ soil!

“There is always a good vibe to this race and the crowds are so enthusiastic to have us there and it’s a special feeling being Swedish and showing all the girls my country for once!”

Alongside the two previous winners, Fahlin and D’hoore, the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team will also feature the second place rider from 2015 in Giorgia Bronzini. The former two-time road World Champion tasted recent Scandinavian success with a Silver Medal in the European Championships, in Herning, Norway, and will carry that good form across the border into Switzerland.

“We have some good statistics from the road race race within our lineup, with Jolien also having won this race two years back and Gio going second it’s a course that suit us really well with plenty of options depending how the race plays out,” Fahlin explained.

“It’s gonna be almost impossible repeating such a once in a lifetime moment for myself as last year, but I’m so looking forward to just soaking up the atmosphere and having fun, race to my best abilities and I think we got a good chance of coming away with a great result this weekend!”

Ahead of Sunday’s 152km road race, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling will ride the 42.5km Crescent Vårgårda Team Time Trial. With Fahlin, D’hoore and Bronzini will be some of the team’s strongest riders in the discipline, with Australian former track double World Champion Nettie Edmondson, who has two World Championship Team Time Trial Medals.

The black and orange team will field a second Scandinavian rider in the form of former Danish Champion Julie Leth, and French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who were among the most aggressive riders in last week’s European Championships.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Crescent Vårgårda Team Time Trial and Road Race
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark)


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Giorgia Bronzini wins Silver Medal in European Road Race Championships

Ben Atkins : 5th August 2017 7:57 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini has won the Silver Medal in the European Cycling Championships Road Race, in Herning, Denmark, in a close sprint with big World Championship rival Marianne Vos (Netherlands). Clad in the white and blue of Italy, Bronzini was just unable to come past the rider that she beat to the line in Geelong, Australia, in 2010, and Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2011 as the two fast-finishers arrived at the finish with Russian Olga Zabelinskaya.

“Marianne is always Marianne!” Bronzini laughed. “Today she had a really good shape so I tried to follow her. There was nothing more to do.”

Despite the flat course the exciting 120km race saw several promising groups get away from the peloton, with Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders Audrey Cordon Ragot of France, Julie Leth of hosts Denmark, Emilia Fahlin of Sweden and Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore all represented. With a number of powerful teams present, however, no break was able to get a decisive advantage.

The winning group had originally numbered six, with Bronzini joined by compatriot and Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling teammate Elisa Longo Borghini, former black and orange rider Charlotte Becker of Germany and Poland’s Kasia Paw?owska. The riders got away with around 25km of the race remaining; with most of the major teams represented, and with Longo Borghini working hard for her teammate, the group soon had a lead of around 45 seconds that proved impossible to close.

“From the beginning we tried not to have any Netherlands girl get away without us,” Bronzini explained. “We tried, and in the end when I was in front with Elisa it was perfect for us, because I could recover a bit and Elisa did the hard work. Also, if I would have to take my turns like Marianne did, I don’t know how tired I would be in the end.

“There wasn’t enough recovery to try to beat her anyway, so it was perfect for us. Better than the other teams for sure.”

Into the final 10km Paw?owska touched Zabelinskaya’s back wheel and crashed, then Becker was dropped shortly afterwards leaving four up front. Longo Borghini then used every last drop of her energy to hold onto the break’s slowly decreasing advantage before she too was forced to sit up with just over a kilometre left.

“I’m now going to prepare for the end of the season,” Bronzini continued. “For sure to try to get a spot in Worlds, and we’ll see what will my job will be over there. For sure Elisa is going to prepare for Worlds, because she loves the cold weather, the rain and the hard lap, so maybe I’ll give back the favour that she did for me today.”

1. Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
3. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia)
6. Jolien D’hoore (Belgium)
10. Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)

Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo


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D’hoore: “I’m looking forward to a fast and flat race” in Prudential RideLondon

Ben Atkins : 27th July 2017 10:15 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling will be led by the sprinting power of Jolien D’hoore and Giorgia Bronzini in the Prudential RideLondon Classique, in the centre of the British capital, on Saturday afternoon. Former two-time road World Champion Bronzini won the 2014 edition of the Women’s WorldTour event, and comes to the race after two third place finishes in the Giro Rosa. Belgian Champion D’hoore won a Giro Rosa stage shortly after having reclaimed her classic black, yellow and red national jersey.

“I’m looking forward to a fast and flat race especially after my last race I did, the Giro Rosa,” D’hoore smiled. “I’m excited to get back in the mix.

The RideLondon Classique route is based on a circuit of St James’s Park, in front of Buckingham Palace, with the addition of out and back legs along Strand and Constitution Hill. The criterium-style race is almost certain to finish in a sprint on the Mall, one of the most prestigious and iconic roads in London, with the top teams all expected to bring their fastest riders.

“We will have a strong team with previous winner Giorgia Bronzini,” D’hoore continued. “We have many options and a lot of experience will back our team this weekend.

“I have some good memories of London,” she added, referring to her victory in the final stage of this year’s Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, as well as her experiences at the 2012 Olympic Games. “I can’t wait to race and test my legs against some of the best sprinters in the world.”

Alongside D’hoore and Bronzini will be the finishing speed and power of former double track World Champion Nettie Edmondson. The Australian has also been finishing fast this season, with a victory in the Pajot Hills Classic in March, and will be an invaluable teammate to the two sprinters, but will be able to step up if either should falter.

The Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team will also include the Scandinavian duo of Sweden’s Emilia Fahlin and Denmark’s Julie Leth. Fahlin’s return from the illness that kept her out of her National Championships and the Giro Rosa saw her finish fourth in the recent BeNe Ladies Tour, while Leth will be an integral part of the black and orange sprint train which showed itself to be so successful in the Tour of Chongming Island back in May.

The final member of the team will be Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s youngest rider Grace Garner. The 20-year-old was also a part of the Chongming Island sprint train, and will be again in London; as a junior in 2014, Garner finished in eighth place behind the victorious Bronzini.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for Prudential RideLondon Classique
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Grace Garner (Great Britain), Julie Leth (Denmark)

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Elisa Longo Borghini finishes in third place in La Course Marseille Chase

Ben Atkins : 22nd July 2017 5:25 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini finished in third place in the Orange Velodrome, the football stadium of Olympic Marseille, at the end of the La Course by Le Tour de France High Speed Pursuit race, to repeat her fantastic result from Thursday’s stage to the Col d’Izoard. The Italian Champion was just beaten in a sprint for the line by British Champion Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans), as the finished one minute and 52 seconds behind Izoard winner Annemiek van Vleuten.

“The race was exciting,” Longo Borghini said. “It’s a nice new format, but it’s just a pity that Annemiek had such a big time gap because it would have been very, very exciting it we had been closer.

“I worked with Boels at the beginning; I went through in some turns to show them that I was interested in going, but I let them do the most of the work.”

Starting one minute and 23 seconds behind van Vleuten, the Italian Champion soon caught up with Deignan, who was waiting for fourth-place teammate Megan Guarnier, and the three riders rode together in pursuit of the lone Dutchwoman. Pressure from Longo Borghini on the climb to Notre-Dame de la Garde left Guarnier, but van Vleuten managed to hold on to her lead. The Dutchwoman crossed the line alone, and Deignan outsprinted Longo Borghini for second place.

“I knew I could drop Guarnier on the climb so I went pretty hard, and in the end it was all about sprinting with Lizzie,” Longo Borghini explained. “Maybe I should have taken first place at the last corner, but I didn’t really recognise or remember how the turn was. So Lizzie went first and she finished before me.

“That was a nice couple of races that I’ve done, and now it’s time to head home and focus on the next one,” she smiled.

Photo Credit: ASO/Bruno Bade

1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
2. Elizabeth Deignan (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

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Elisa Longo Borghini third on the Col d’Izoard in La Course by Le Tour de France

Ben Atkins : 20th July 2017 2:14 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini has finished in third place on the top of the Col d’Izoard, one of the most mythical mountain passes in cycling, in La Course by Le Tour de France. The Italian Champion finished just one minute and 23 seconds behind race winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott), with British Champion Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) taking second on the 2360 metre high finish.

“I’m happy about my result considering that after the Giro I haven’t trained and I felt pretty tired,” Longo Borghini said afterwards. “Today was very nice to climb up the Izoard which is a historic climb for the Tour de France.”

Longo Borghini was part of a select group that formed as the peloton rapidly thinned out on the steadily steepening slopes of the Col d’Izoard. She was supported for some time by teammates Claudia Lichtenberg and Audrey Cordon-Ragot but, as the group was whittled down to just the favourites, she was left with just the leaders from other teams.

Van Vleuten escaped with just over four kilometres to go and Longo Borghini followed at her own pace. As she approached the iconic “Casse Déserte” the Italian Champion was in fourth place, behind Shara Gillow (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) but she managed to ride past the Australian.

There was a late challenge from Deignan’s teammate Megan Guarnier, but Longo Borghini held off the American to take her place on the podium.

“I had to manage my ascent,” Longo Borghini explained. “I looked at my SRM powermeter and always went steady. I’m not a rider who’s expecting to attack, especially on a long climb – especially if it’s at altitude – so I think I was smart.”

With her third place on the mythical Col, Longo Borghini has earned an invitation to the second stage of this year’s La Course, which will take the form of a chase-style time trial in the city of Marseille.

Riding on the same course as the men’s Tour de France once again, the Italian Time Trial Champion will start the 22.5km course a minute and 23 seconds behind van Vleuten, with the first rider to cross the line declared the winner.

“Thinking about how many kilos of ice cream I ate after the Giro, I’m pretty satisfied!” Longo Borghini laughed. “I’m now heading to Marseilles for the TT relay and I’m looking forward to it.”

“It will be fun!”

Race Photo Credit: Anton Vos
Podium Photo Credit: ASO/Bruno Bade

1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
2. Elizabeth Deignan (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

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Elisa Longo Borghini excited for Col d’Izoard challenge in La Course by Le Tour

Ben Atkins : 18th July 2017 11:32 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini will lead the black and orange team in La Course by Le Tour de France, between Briançon and the Col d’Izoard, on Thursday. After three editions around the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, the event run alongside the biggest race in the men’s calendar offers a different challenge as it switches to one of the most iconic mountain passes in the Alps.

While the Paris event suited sprinters, with last year’s event won by then Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling Australian Chloe Hosking, the 2017 course makes Italian Champion Longo Borghini one of the big favourites.

“I’m very excited about La Course,” Longo Borghini said. “I’m curious to see how the race will go. I’m truing to recover after the Giro, which was tough of course. I’m trying to get as much rest as I can, together with some small, but good training rides, so I don’t lose my shape from the Giro.”

While the Col d’Izoard stage will constitute the latest round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, race organiser ASO has added an extra day to the event alongside the penultimate day’s individual time trial in the city of Marseille. The first finishers on the Izoard will race the time trial in a chase-style pursuit, with the winning rider starting first; the first rider to cross the line in the Orange Velodrome – the stadium of the Olympic Marseille football team – will be declared the winner of the event.

“I’m looking forward to the race,” Longo Borghini said, “and I especially want to be in the top twenty so I can do the second stage in Marseille because I think it’s pretty exciting.”

With Longo Borghini’s best-ever second place in the Giro Rosa making her one of the big favourites, Claudia Lichtenberg’s ninth place overall also makes the German climber one of the big names to watch. While none of the climbs tackled in the UK were anything to compare to the Izoard, Audrey Cordon-Ragot’s QOM jersey at the Women’s Tour is an indication that the French Time Trial Champion has some of the best climbing form of her career and would relish the opportunity to show her blue, white and red time jersey in the Marseille chase.

“I think it’s nice to change a bit the format of the race and to give the opportunity to the climbers,” said Cordon-Ragot. “We have obviously good chances with Claudia and Elisa to get two spots for Marseille and I’m looking forward to see how this new race takes place.

“It will be so intense to climb this mythical col with the same public as the men, I expect goosebumps!”

Riding her second edition of La Course will be Amy Cure, who made a successful return to the peloton in last week’s BeNe Ladies Tour, after the knee injury that forced her out of the Tour of California. Britons Amy Roberts and Lucy Garner will complete the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team, both of whom also make their second appearance in the race, having helped Hosking to victory in 2016.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for La Course by Le Tour de France
Audrey Cordon-Ragot
(France), Amy Cure (Australia), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Claudia Lichtenberg(Germany), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Amy Roberts (Great Britain)

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Nettie Edmondson wins Opening Prologue of BeNe Ladies Tour

Ben Atkins : 13th July 2017 9:24 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson won the opening prologue of the BeNe Ladies Tour to take the first leader’s jersey of the 2017 race. The former double track World Champion completed the 1.9km course, along the seafront of Vlissingen, on the very south-western tip of the Netherlands, in a time of two minutes, 25.47 seconds, in an average speed of 47.172kph. Edmondson was four seconds faster than Janneke Ensing (Alé-Cipollini) in second place, and five faster than former black and orange rider Elinor Barker (Great Britain) in third.

“It was really, really good today,” Edmondson said. “I really wanted to focus on this prologue because it suits me. It’s really short and fast, and was all about power, so it was perfect for me. It was a little bit technical at the start, but then it was all about powering home for the last kilometre. It was into a headwind so I made sure I had a little bit left in the tank, and then came home as strong as I could.

“So yeah, I was really happy with the ride!”

Edmondson takes the first pale blue jersey of the race, which has been won by Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore in the last two years. In the absence of D’hoore, Edmondson herself will look to overall ambitions in the three day race, but the Australian knows what a challenge that will present.

“We have three road stages to go and a 10km time trial,” Edmondson explained. “The road stages are flat with cobbles, so they’re going to be nice and tough, but we’ve got a really strong team here so we’re looking to hold the jersey as long as we can, and I’ll just give it a crack in the time trial.

“It’s 10km, so a little bit longer than I prefer, but we’ve just got to do what we can and hold on to the jersey as long as possible.”

Edmondson arrived at the BeNe Ladies Tour after having ridden eight stages of the Giro Rosa. The planned withdrawal from the ten-day Italian race was specifically to allow the Australian to prepare for the opening prologue, which has paid off in spectacular style.

“I wasn’t sure about how I’d go with the Giro for preparation, but I really needed to get some racing in the legs,” she smiled. “It was all about taking it easy for the last five days, but I just didn’t know what to expect here. I was really hoping for a good one, but you never know until you’re out there. It’s such a fine line with only a few seconds in it, so I just had to give it everything, and luckily I pulled it off!”

1. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

2. Janneke Ensing (Alé-Cipollini)
3. Elinor Barker (Great Britain)


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Elisa Longo Borghini finishes second overall in final Giro Rosa standings

Ben Atkins : 9th July 2017 10:12 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini has achieved her best ever finish in the Giro d’Italia Femminile – Giro Rosa – with second place overall at the end of her ten-day home tour. Finishing the tenth and final stage in Torre del Greco, in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, in an elite group of six riders that had escaped the bunch on the slopes of the volcano secured the Italian Champion her final podium position, and cemented her the Best Italian rider in the race by some considerable margin.

Longo Borghini finished just one minute and three seconds behind Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), with Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) in third place, another 36 seconds back.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s German climber Claudia Lichtenberg finished her final edition of the race in ninth place, completing the 2009 winner’s excellent relationship with the Italian race.

“It was a very, very nice Giro and I’m really glad that I could ride to second in GC,” Longo Borghini said. “It was a lot of work from the team for ten days.”

Longo Borghini’s position in the General Classification was built upon a fantastic ride from the whole of the black and orange team in the Stage One Team Time Trial between Aquileia and Grado. Van der Breggen’s team took the stage, but finishing just 24 seconds behind meant that the Italian Champion was never far behind the Dutch rider overall.

Breaking away with van der Breggen and van Vleuten on the second, hilly stage, between Zoppola and Montereale Valcellina pulled the three riders clear of the pack and set up the final podium overall.

“There was a very good effort in the Team Time Trial,” Longo Borghini said, “because there I could be in a good position for the entire week.”

Although Longo Borghini has spent every day since that Team Time Trial racing in the Blue Jersey of Best Italian Rider, she has been able to mount the podium after every stage in the Italian Champion’s Jersey that she took in such a dominant fashion just a week before the race.

Having been denied that championship so many times, and so cruelly on occasion, each trip to the podium in this Giro Rosa has felt extra special.

“It’s very nice to have the tricolore and to be on the podium,” she smiled. “For me it means a lot. It’s something that makes me very proud.

“What can I say?” Longo Borghini added “I’m very satisfied about this week and I really have to thank every single rider in the team, and all the staff, because they all worked so, so, so good!

“A special thought goes out to Claudia Cretti, who is fighting for her life in the hospital,” the Italian Champion added, referring to her young compatriot, who was seriously injured in a crash on Stage Seven.

Photo Credit: Anton Vos

Final General Classification
1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)

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