Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) did her best to anticipate the attacks everyone expected to come from Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) in Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, and the Trek-Segafredo team raced very well tactically. In the end, Longo Borghini lost the sprint to Vollering, but she was not disappointed with her second place.
“To be honest, I’m very happy. We had a good Ardennes campaign with two third places with Shirin van Anrooij in Amstel and Gaia Realini in Flèche, and me second in Liège. We have such a strong team with many cards to play,” Longo Borghini said after the race.
“I want to thank my Trek-Segafredo teammates, they were amazing today. We executed the plan as Ina Teutenberg told us to yesterday evening. We had Amanda Spratt in the early breakaway, and she stayed away. When we caught Amanda, we were bombing down the descent with her and Shirin,” she explained.
“We got to Roche-aux-Faucons with a small gap, and I paced myself there because I knew Vollering would have gone. As soon as she went, I tried to keep her pace. We ended up in a sprint which I’m a bit unsatisfied about, but in the end, she was stronger, chapeau to her,” Longo Borghini described how her team had put their pre-race plan into action perfectly, acknowledging that Vollering just had the better sprint.
In a two-rider move with the overwhelming favourite, Longo Borghini still did her share of work instead of only sitting on Vollering’s wheel. This was partly due to Longo Borghini’s own aggressive approach to racing but also because she wasn’t quite certain of her own strength after a COVID-19 infection in March that kept her out of the Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda.
With that in mind, Longo Borghini preferred a certain podium spot to racing the final more tactically.
“Maybe the final was a little bit misplayed by me because I needed to put pressure on Vollering, and I take this into account. When you come from a period where you don’t know where you’re standing, you try your best to play it, and I just didn’t want the others to come back. I needed to play it cooler, but on the other side, if the group came back, I don’t know if I would have finished on the podium,” she explained.
“After the Flèche Wallonne, I said I was still struggling with my recovery after COVID. There are some days, like today, where I feel better than others, and today I felt great, to be honest. I’m still going up and down, and I don’t know how I’ll be when I wake up. Today is a good day, and we need to be happy about it,” Longo Borghini finished.