In a brilliant display of her indomitable fighting spirit Elisa Longo-Borghini seized a third place on the brutal uphill finish in Assisi and propelled herself to eight place in the overall standings.
After the disappointment of stage two Trek-Segafredo was eager to bounce back on the third day of racing on the Giro Rosa and delivered a cohesive team performance that culminated with a podium finish by the Italian TT champion.
With the temperatures soaring to over 30 degrees and a punishing first half of the stage, the peloton was content to roll together until around 40km to the finish when Rachel Neylan put in an attack, opening a gap for around 20 seconds before being reeled in by Annemiek Van Vleuten, the winner of stage 2, some kilometers later.
Thereafter, the flat terrain and the high tempo dictated that no further moves emerged from the peloton and it all came down to the gruelling final climb in the historic Assisi. Trek-Segafredo did very well to position Longo Borghini at the front just before the road kicked up and UCI World Tour classification leader Lizzie Deignan expertly led out her Italian teammate in the lower slopes. Longo-Borghini looked to surprise her opponents and unleashed her sprint early. In the end, she had to settle for third place after being passed by Marianne Vos and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig who were first and second, respectively.
I was sprinting with the best riders in the world and I’m pretty happy with my third place
“Today I made sure I drank around three litres of water before the stage and during the race I think I probably drank ten bottles and I felt much better than yesterday. The girls delivered me perfectly at 500 meters to the line and I had to start quite early but this was a good chance for me to try to win. I was sprinting with the best riders in the world and I’m pretty happy with my third place. The final climb was really sharp and on a really small road but we were ready for that and knew exactly what to do. The girls had to deliver me on the bottom of the climb and then I would do my own sprint. I tried to manage it the best I could and I think I can be pleased with my third place,” said Longo-Borghini.
With this performance Longo-Borghini climbed to eight place in the overall classification which is still led by Van Vleuten.