After the amazing 1-2 result on the queen stage, Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini put the cherry on top of the team's great performance by winning the General and the Best Young Rider classifications respectively.
After four stages, the first edition of the UAE Tour Women came to a finish in Abu Dhabi and for Trek-Segafredo, the race ended in the best possible way with Longo Borghini sealing the overall victory ahead of teammate Realini (+7″) and Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ, +1’18”).
In addition to stepping onto the final podium at her first race with Trek-Segafredo, the young and very talented Realini also celebrated winning the white jersey as the best young rider of the race.
Longo Borghini has clearly started her fifth season with the Team in amazing form and today’s result was the 37th win of her professional career and her sixth General Classification victory in a stage race.
A glowing Elisa gives her reaction: "A GC win is always a team win”
I did not expect to start my season so strong. I came back from an intense training camp at Teide with my coach Paolo Slongo. I knew I had worked well, the feedback was encouraging, but feeling so good was a pleasant surprise. I return to Italy with an important victory, a weighty one given the starting list, and a lot of morale and confidence for the big events I’ll face over the coming months.
I approached the race with the goal of testing myself, sort of the final part of the training done at Teide. I wanted to put in the effort and get the most out of my current race shape. I raced aggressively just to test myself to the maximum.
I rode strongly, I’m happy about that, but this overall victory would never have come without the support of the team. And in that, I also include yesterday’s 1-2 with Gaia in Jabel Hafeet. Without the work of Lauretta, Ilaria and Elynor during the stage, yesterday’s outcome would surely not have been so clear-cut. Every GC win is always the result of a superb team performance. In our sport, only the winner stands on the podium, but in these situations the glory should be shared with everyone in team, staff included.
Cycling is a team sport, that’s never in doubt, and today we are all very happy with our performance. The success in the GC finishes off yesterday’s work on the queen stage. We are a strong and united group, capable of working exclusively for the good of the team. Every choice is only made with this in mind. Everyone plays a key role in reaching the final goal. The role of a captain is to finalize what is built by everyone. I will not forget the effort of my teammates and I will be overjoyed to repay their sacrifices, like Gaia’s on the climb. After yesterday’s stage some criticism got to me. But I also think it is difficult to perceive certain group dynamics and situations without experiencing them firsthand, judging from the outside, and without considering all the factors. Cycling races are not Playstation games. Nothing, however, will ruin the joy of this victory and the serenity of our group.
It was a dream debut for me. In just a few months my professional life has changed dramatically. I made a huge leap forward and starting the new adventure in this way is amazing. I want to enjoy this result with the team, but I am fully aware that we are just at the beginning. There is still a way to go, but I think I am on the right path to make myself grow more and get even stronger.
Besides the white jersey and the final podium, what makes me happiest is to have been part of a great team performance. We had a goal and we achieved it. Helping Elisa was my role, and I am proud to have accomplished it in the best possible way. That, for me, is all that matters. I have so much respect for her, she’s always been my role model. Yesterday, Elisa wanted me to win the stage, but it would have been a problem for her success in the overall standings. My priority was to have her take the jersey, and I was the first to insist that we do whatever necessary to make it happen. There is no need to add anything else. I am over the moon now and I am looking forward to the next challenge at the Setmana Valenciana.