Longo Borghini powers to dominant win at Trofeo Alfredo Binda

It was 'il Tricolore', the national championships jersey sported by Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), that illuminated the final stages of a fast-run race at Trofeo Alfredo Binda with the climber and classics specialist attacking with still 26 kilometres to race.

Elisa Longo Borghini, Trek-Segafredo, Trofeo Alfredo Binda

Elisa Longo Borghini of Trek-Segafredo wins Trofeo Alfredo Binda in style Source: Getty

Longo Borghini jumped clear of the peloton after a series of attacks over the preceding laps of the Cittiglio course had softened up the main bunch. Her surge saw immediately gain an advantage as the peloton tackled the Orino climb.

The runner-up at the recent Strade Bianche after team tactics from SD Worx saw her marked by eventual winner Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak, Longo Borghini made sure that she was clear solo this time. Despite being chased by a strong group of five riders just a few seconds back initially, the Italian star was able to make the most of her strength and some indecisiveness behind growing her lead steadily until it stood at over a minute with five kilometres remaining. 

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and her sprinting prowess was a hampering presence on the cohesion of the chase, with Soraya Paladin (Liv), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Mavi Garcia (ALE BTC Ljubljana) not able to bring back Longo Borghini. 

The 2017 Tour of Flanders winner in the end powered to a massive winning margin of a minute and 42 seconds as the chasing group concentrated on who would take second on the day, with Vos comfortably outsprinting the group with Uttrup Ludwig in third.

"It’s all or nothing. Jasper inspired me yesterday with that, so I also thought about ‘it’s all or nothing,’” said Longo Borghini, referencing men's Trek-Segafredo teammate Jasper Stuyvan's Milan-San Remo win.  “Sometimes you have to play poker. If there’s an option to attack, I will always choose to attack.”

Longo Borghini has been a consistent presence at the pointy end of a lot of races for a decade at Women's WorldTour level, but the 29-year-old has taken the next step to be a consistent race-winner in recent years with her attacking style both aesthetically pleasing and practical.

“It was planned that I would attack the second last lap and spare Lizzie (Deignan) for the finale because she’s the fastest," said Longo Borghini. "As soon as I got a little gap I was thinking about Jasper and what he said, sometimes its all, often nothing, and today was all. As a team we couldn’t be happier. We did a great job, we moved as the best team today in my opinion.

“My legs felt good from the beginning and I could actually feel that I was strong on the climb which I did in my big ring. I expected someone to follow me when I attacked, and then when I saw I opened a little gap I just went again. I knew this would be a good move for Lizzie if I could make the others suffer if it would be a sprint finish. If they would have caught me, I would have just gone again. I really like aggressive racing. Every time there is a chance to attack, I do it because I like it.”

As it was, Deignan wasn't present to hamper the chase, but Longo Borghini was too strong for her opposition on a sunny day in northern Italy that saw the Italian flags flying in the finishing straight matched by one crossing the line in triumph. 

Australians Sarah Gigante (TIBCO-SVB) and Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) were prominent in the aggression leading into the final two laps, with Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange) and Gigante finishing 22nd and 23rd as the highest-placed Australians in the second chasing group. 

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4 min read
Published 22 March 2021 at 7:54am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS