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Giro Rosa stage 8: Elisa Longo Borghini triumphant in San Marco la Catola

The Italian from Trek-Segafredo outsprinted new GC leader Anna van der Breggen to win stage.

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It was pure elation as Italian Elisa Longo Borghini crossed the finish line first in San Marco la Catola today.

The Trek-Segafredo rider spent one day in the maglia rosa after her team won the Giro Rosa’s opening team time trial last Friday, yet the Longo Borghini had yet to celebrate an individual victory at the Italian stage race. Today, she outsprinted Boels-DolmansAnna van der Breggen on the steep finish into San Marco la Catola today. Mikayla Harvey of Équipe Paule Ka was third.

“It’s very emotional,” Longo Borghini said. “I knew that I was strong when I came here, and first of all, I found myself in pink, which was incredible. And in the second stage, I lost a lot of time, so we decided to go for stages, and I tried for the win many times this week, and it never worked out. This win is really special, especially after this very tough period and after the lockdown when I was thinking about my country a lot. I just really want to give emotions to people here. And it’s also the first victory of the season for me! I am very happy.”


After Annemiek van Vleuten’s race-ending injury yesterday, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) started as the race leader in today’s 91.5 kilometer stage. With almost 1,800 meters of ascent, the stage featured two early climbs early and midway through the stage, but the decision came on the final climb.

The pace was high from the beginning of the stage, with a three-kilometer climb greeting the peloton right out of the neutral start. After ten kilometers, riders raced a long section of intense crosswinds.

A group of GC favorites started the steep final climb to San Marco La Catola together. At 3.3 kilometers, with an average gradient of 12 percent, the climb shed only the most adept ascenders. Soon, there were nine female cyclists left in the front, including Longo Borghini, van der Breggen, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Mikayla Harvey, Liane Lippert, Niewiadoma, Niamh Fisher-Black, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, and Lizzie Deignan.

Then, van der Breggen and Longo Borghini attacked and distanced the elite group by half a minute. Niewiadoma wasn’t able to close the gap and ultimately lost her lead position to van der Breggen, who finished second in the sprint.

“On the last climb Lizzie led me out and after one kilometer, Anna attacked and I just followed her,” the Italian rider said. “I knew that she was going for the GC and it would be a good opportunity for a stage win and it worked out.”

Longo Borghini now sits in third overall, at 2:23.

Saturday’s final stage is a circuit race with four 27.5 kilometer laps, each including an ascent of Motta Montecorvino.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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