More crosswinds and another podium for Elisa Longo Borghini at La Vuelta Femenina

Great teamwork ensured Lonogo Borghini was supported in the front echelon and able to fight for the podium in the penultimate stage

How it happened

On paper, Stage 7 was relatively unassuming – slightly uphill all day, but nothing serious, before a ramp to the finish in Sigüenza. The reality played out fairly differently, as the crosswinds, which have blown for most of the race, came to the fore once again. A nervous peloton pushed the pace throughout the stage, with each team desperate to position themselves well in case the peloton were to split.

And it did.

38 kilometers from the finish, in an exposed section of crosswinds the elastic snapped in the group, leaving 28 riders at the head of the race. Lidl-Trek were well represented with three riders: Brodie Chapman, Amanda Spratt, and Elisa Longo Borghini, after great teamwork by Lizzie Deignan and Elynor Bäckstedt to position them ahead of the split.

Spratty and Chapman were attwntive in the group, chasing down attacks and springing a few of their own, but ultimately the group remained together as it approached the finish – a 500 meter-long wall at a gradient of 10%. Longo Borghini took on the climb from the front, then slotted in behind the wheel of Kristen Faulkner. The pace was high from the bottom of the ramp, but not enough to exhaust Marianne Vos who was able to jump ahead of Longo Borghini and Faulkner and take the stage win.

With one stage to go, Longo Borghini sits in second overall.

A word from Elisa

“We knew that at kilometer 98 there was a possibility of having an echelon, and we were really attentive. Lizzie positioned us very well along with Elynor so we were three in the first split. The girls did a great job covering mores and trying to attack themselves. We knew the final was uphill and it could end up in a punchy sprint. I went for it and got 3rd and I’m pretty satisfied with this stage. It was overall a really nice teamwork, and I’m really honoured to be here riding with these girls.

“I try to follow Faulkner, then I tried to pass her. I tried to go hard from 300m. I knew it was a bit far from the finish line but I had to make it hard, and in the end it’s a good third place.”

The day in photos

By Twila Muzzi