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)
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day