Elisa Longo Borghini relishes overall victory at UAE Tour
Trek-Segafredo teammate Gaia Realini and UAE Team ADQ’s Siliva Persico round off an all-Italian podium in inaugural tour.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Elisa Longo Borghini and her Trek-Segafredo teammates put in a GC masterclass at the four-day UAE Tour Women that saw them stay entirely out of trouble in the crosswinds and set Longo Borghini and teammate Gaia Realini on course for a dominant performance in a one-two finish on Jebel Hafeet.
Predictably, it was the stage three mountain top finish that determined the GC after stage four with an all-Italian podium with Longo Borghini claiming the red jersey, seven seconds ahead of Realini and 1:18 ahead of Silvia Persico of UAE Team ADQ.
“I feel actually really proud to be the first woman to win this tour and I’m looking forward to the next edition. I hope this tour will become a classic of the February calendar because it’s been really well organized and it’s a tour that can show a lot the women’s calendar and give the riders the attention that they deserve,” Longo Borghini said after the stage.
The Italian was quick to thank her Trek-Segafredo teammates, who kept her safe in the crosswinds and delivered her and Realini to the climb on stage three.
“My teammates were amazing. Especially yesterday they were really there when it was needed, especially in the flat part where we basically made the difference because we did cut off some of the main contenders for the GC because of the wind,” she said.
“Lauretta [Hanson], Elynor [Backstedt], and Ilaria [Sanguinetti] were going full in the echelons and Gaia and I just had to finish it off on the climb. Yesterday Gaia was the ‘MVP’ in my opinion of the day and she was incredibly strong and it was an honor to be together with her at the finish line, celebrating together with your teammate is something that you always dream of.”
#UAETourWomen is over! Mood of the day 🤪 pic.twitter.com/W00Jdqh3CQ
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) February 12, 2023
By winning a mountain top finish, Longo Borghini cements her position as one of the peloton’s most versatile riders, able to win races such as Paris Roubaix and take victory on climbs too.
“I’m a very good all-rounder,” she explained. “I can ride a little bit well everywhere. Maybe I’m not a super climber and not a super classic rider but I can defend myself on every single field and also I think I can be a good asset for the team because I can also help my teammates who are more specialized in different races to win them. So I feel proud of what I am. Of course riding the cobbles it’s much different than Jebel Hafeet but it is anyway a maximal effort that you have to do.”
She also explained that her focus would now turn to the classics before moving to stage races and the Tour de France Femmes later in the season. For now, though, she will celebrate her victory in Abu Dhabi:
“We have the plane very late tonight so we are planning to go out together with the staff and have some drinks and some ice cream with the girls because it’s nice to celebrate with the ones who are always working in the background ad they are never shining like the mechanics and the soigneurs and the sports directors and everyone who is involved in the team so it’s really nice to be together and to spend some time together,” she said.