Elisa Longo Borghini races with legs and heart at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Second place for the Italian in La Doyenne. “I’m a bit emotional to be standing on the podium today after the job that the Team did.”

Trek-Segafredo is never a team to sit back and especially today, in the 7th edition of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, raced with an aggressive plan to fight for the victory on the hills of the Ardennes. At the end, Elisa Longo Borghini took a remarkable second place, battling to the last meter in a sprint with Vollering (SD Worx). Behind them was the chasing group containing seventh-placed Gaia Realini at 22 seconds, another impressive result for our young Italian.

Whilst Vollering proved to be the strongest again today, Elisa Longo Borghini and the Team did everything they could to break the dominance. Just as we saw on Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne, the strategy chosen by DS Ina Teutenberg and put into action by the riders was an aggressive one and based on teamwork. First with Spratt in the breakaway, then with Elisa Longo Borghini in the lead, covered in the chasing group by Realini.

The Roche-aux-Focons, the last categorized climb of the day, was the key moment of the race. Having caught the last attacker, Reusser (SDWorx), the finale was a two-women breakaway with Elisa and Vollering. The sprint rewarded the Dutchwoman, but the signal was clear: Elisa is coming back.

A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

Elisa's reaction

I’m very happy it’s been a nice race for me and the Team. We had a good Ardennes campaign with two third place with Shirin van Anrooij in Amstel and Gaia Realini in Flèche, and me second in Liège. We have such a strong team with many cards to play and this is our strength. I’m looking forward to my next race with the Team. I’m a bit emotional to be standing on the podium today after the job that the Team did.

I really want to thank my Trek-Segafredo teammates, they were amazing today. We executed the plan as Ina Teutenberg told us to yesterday. We had Amanda Spratt in the early breakaway and she stayed away. Lizzie Deignan and Lucinda Brand were always keeping me and Gaia Realini up the front. When we caught Amanda we were bombing down the descent with her and Shirin. We got to Roche aux Faucons with a small gap and I paced myself there because I knew Vollering would have gone. When she moved I tried to keep her pace. We ended up in a sprint which I’m a bit unsatisfied about, but in the end she was stronger, chapeau to her. I tried to get to 150m, and I knew the wind was coming from the right so at least she had to stay in the wind, but she was faster. I hope to have another sprint with her next time, I’ll have to train a bit more in the sprints.

Maybe the final was a little bit misplayed by me because I needed to put pressure on Vollering, and I take this into account. Also, when you come from a period where you don’t know where you’re standing, you try your best to play it and I just didn’t want the others to come back. I needed to play it cooler, but on the other side if the group came back I don’t know if I would have finished on the podium.

I felt good all race long. I never had a single moment when I didn’t see blue around me. Everyone was motivating me. Obviously the Roche aux Faucons was really hard but I never doubted to finish on the podium today. About the route, they took out parts where you can normally recover so the race became much more intense. You had to go on and on, it was really hard also to organise a chase. It was quite hard to catch the break because there were no points where a Team could really go fast and close the gap.

A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

After La Flèche I said I was still struggling with my recovery after Covid. There are some days like today where I feel better than others, and today I felt great to be honest. I’m still going with my up and downs and I don’t know how I’ll be when I wake up. Today is a good day and we need to be happy about it.