The Italian champion powers to victory atop Black Mountain
Elisa Longo Borghini made no mistake in the uphill sprint that ended Stage 5, jumping in the last 150 meters and powering over the line for the win.
When you know you have good legs, the confidence is also high, and it allowed Longo Borghini to play an aggressive finale. After teammate Ellen van Dijk led the pace in the first kilometers, Elisa launched her first attack.
“I felt really strong, and I wanted to pay back all the work that my teammates did,” explained Elisa. “This climb is long but not steep and it’s hard to make the difference, plus we had a headwind, so it was like attacking and hitting a wall. In the wheel you stayed really comfortable actually, so I attacked to try and make the others tired.”
Elisa tried again moments later, but it was soon apparent the headwind was playing against her efforts.
“I tried a couple of times, but with the headwind it was hard to make a selection, so then I trusted my sprint,” continued Longo Borghini.
Elisa sprinted to 3rd in Stage 4 and afterward admitted that she had made a mistake by jumping too early. This time, she made sure to time it right.
In the final kilometer the road turned, and with the wind now to the side, Elisa had the edge she needed. She followed a few attacks, and waited.
“I went shorter than yesterday – at 150 meters I opened my sprint,” she said.
It was perfect. The final 150 meters were all hers.
“I just wanted to finish off the teamwork that started already at the beginning of this week. And this is also for the staff who works from morning to evening for all of us – this is for the entire Trek-Segafredo team,” said Elisa.
Trek-Segafredo has been a force all week and didn’t sit back in the Queen Stage. In their usual aggressive style, the Team played in the action with Elynor Bäckstedt and Ellen van Dijk joining key breakaways.
When the race came together ahead of the final Black Mountain climb, the team rallied in front of Longo Borghini, and then van Dijk went to work on the climb.
It was the first win for Longo Borghini in the Women’s Tour.
“My first win, but I felt like I had already won a stage in 2019 when we won with Lizzie (Deignan). It’s a nice feeling, and it’s nice to race in the UK with all the great fans here, and all the kids on the side of the road, that’s nice to see. Such a good way to educate them on health and sport and its importance.”
The Women’s Tour ends tomorrow with a flat stage and it will undoubtedly see a big fight for the intermediate time bonuses with race leader Grace Brown and Longo Borghini tied on time, and Katia Niewiadoma in third at two seconds.
But Elisa was not thinking about that quite yet.
“Right now, I will relax and enjoy this win and we will think about the last stage tomorrow – tomorrow is tomorrow,” she smiled.