It was a thrilling ending to Emakumeen Bira, the four-day WorldTour race in the Basque Country, as Elisa Longo Borghini rode away on the final climb of the day and just held off the bunch to win the stage by four seconds. It was enough to give her the overall win over Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton Scott) by two seconds.
Longo Borghini: “Today we rode super well. First, we had Anna (Plichta) in a break, then Audrey (Cordon-Ragot) in the next one. She was the virtual leader on the road, so that put a lot of pressure on Mitchelton-Scott. Then on the last climb, Garcia of Movistar attacked, and I followed. I went by instinct and just continued fast as I could to the top, and all of a sudden, I had 28 seconds.”
Longo Borghini crested the final climb alone and used her descending skills to increase her lead over the ensuing downhill kilometres. As she reached the last flat eight kilometres, her gap had fallen, and it was touch and go if she would hold off the chase behind.
“The last 15 kilometres were a hell! I tried to push everything I had, I really wanted to win the stage. In the end, I found myself winning the race, the GC and the mountains jersey…it’s a dream,” continued Longo Borghini.
“It’s just super, super nice. I was thinking so much about my teammates, all my family, my boyfriend, and my mom that came here yesterday; everyone was giving me from home and the side of the road a lot of power in those last kilometres. It’s just incredible. It’s doesn’t seem possible that this happens to me – I am not this type of rider!
“I really want to thank my teammates and all the staff who work 24 hours this week for us, and to Luca (Guercilena, general manager Trek-Segafredo) for giving me a contract and really believing in me.”