Longo Borghini climbs to 3rd on first Vuelta mountain test

Italian champion moves up to 2nd overall after a strong performance in Jaca

How it happened

Stage 5 marked the first serious climbs of La Vuelta Femenina, including the first summit finish of the Spanish Grand Tour. Before duking it out on the Alto del Fuerte Rapitán, in Jaca, the peloton first had to overcome the Alto del Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña. Unfortunately for Lidl-Trek, Gaia Realini was distanced on the descent of the category 2 climb, and subsequently crashed, effectively taking her out of the GC fight.

Lidl-Trek’s hopes were pinned on Longo Borghini, who was in fourth place overall heading into the stage, thanks to the team time trial win and an excellent ride in the crosswinds of Stage 4. Amanda Spratt positioned Longo Borghini to the front as a strong pace was being set, and from there Elisa could follow the wheel of Demi Vollering who continued to increase the pace as the climb intensified. With 700 meters to go, the Italian Champion lost contact with Vollering, along with Kastelijn, but gave every ounce of strength she had until she reached the finish line. Kastelijn jumped around Elisa in the final meters to take the second spot, leaving Elisa to round out the podium.

Gaia Realini was checked by the team doctor on the finish line, and although the first assessment was positive, Gaia will be monitored overnight to make sure she is fit to race the next stage.

A word from Elisa

“I felt quite ok, Demi was the strongest today. It was a climb just 700 meters too long for me, but I felt ok the whole day. The Team really protected me, keeping me in a good position the whole day. We were a bit unlucky because Gaia crashed so at the end I didn’t have her alongside me for the finish. Fortunately, Spratty was really strong and she positioned me at the bottom of the climb in a very good way.

“The long climbs in the next days will be decisive, and you interpret the longer climbs in a different way. On a 3.5km climb like today, you just have to go full gas, meanwhile on a long climb you have to pace yourself, which is something that suits me better. We’re looking forward to the next stages.”

The day’s photos

Courtesy of Getty Sport