Trek-Segafredo worked to thwart the faster legs in the peloton but came up 300 meters short.
The Trek-Segafredo women went on the offensive in Gent Wevelgem from the last climb of Kemmelberg to the final meters, animating the race in a brilliant and thrilling team effort. Despite the calculated teamwork, 17th place was their top result. Cycling can be so beautiful and, at the same time, so cruel.
Elisa Longo Borghini kicked off the action with a strong attack on the Kemmelberg, and a seven-rider leading group formed with Ellen van Dijk also present. However, it was not long before two chase groups rejoined.
This brought Lizzie Deignan and Ruth Winder back into the game, and the four Trek-Segafredo teammates came to the front in a crosswind section with 25 kilometres to go and exploded the race.
It allowed Longo Borghini – who was clearly the strongest in the race – to power off the front with Soraya Paladin (Liv Racing), and the two quickly built a 25-second lead. There was still a long way to go to the line, but the Team had Lizzie Deignan, Ruth Winder and Ellen van Dijk in the chase group.
A few teams organized behind, but the duo resisted—right to the final 500 meters. Elisa, who did most of the work to hold off the bunch, started sprinting in a last desperate effort. But 300m from the line, it was over.
The 35-strong bunch came over her and Trek-Segafredo, after a dominant performance in the final part of the Belgian Classic, was left with only crumbs.
It may have been heartbreak for the Team, but it’s also what makes cycling a thrilling sport: the Trek-Segafredo women gave a performance that had everyone on the edge of their seats.
The race is not finished until the end. This is cycling. It happens. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win.
– Elisa Longo Borghini
We were in a good place after the Kemmelberg, and we had the numbers and not a perfect sprinter, so we decided to put everyone in the gutter. And all of a sudden, I found myself in front with a gap, and I had a go. Paladin joined me, and we worked pretty well together to the finale. In the end, she was not cooperating, which was understandable. And we got caught at 300m to go.
I am a bit disappointed, but you can do nothing but give your best. Sometimes your best is a victory, and sometimes you get caught with 300m to go. That’s cycling. We have to go on; there’s another race Wednesday and another interesting one Sunday. It’s cycling, and we take it like it is.