Elisa Longo Borghini recounts her emotional win on May 25th, 2019.
A year ago, to this day, Elisa Longo Borghini took one of Trek-Segafredo’s best victories of the season, winning the final stage and general classification of the Emakumeen Bira. Just one day before, Tayler Wiles had soloed to victory, the first win at World Tour level in the team’s debut season. The team was in a strong position heading into the decisive final stage with two riders who could potentially win the race.
In this story, Elisa recounts that special day in her own words.
In her words – by Elisa Longo Borghini
It’s still a very vivid memory, and I was thinking about it just a few days ago when I was choosing a photo to post on social media. But it happens often, even when people ask me a memorable moment: the first one that comes to mind, and only because it is the most recent one, is from that day. It will always remain a beautiful and unforgettable memory of my career.
The uniqueness of the moment is hard to explain. There was a super synergy, a perfect understanding among teammates. And not only that May 25th, but the whole race was incredible for the team. Of course, also in other races we had a strong feeling but that day everything worked incredibly well.
There was a desire to win, starting with Giorgia (Bronzini) and Ina (Teutenberg) who motivated us from the start. We had the right level of pressure to show how strong our team was. We were hungry to win, to attack, to leave a mark on the race and an impression of strength on our rivals. We knew we had something more than the others and we showed it on the road.
On a personal level, although I hadn’t been on the top step of the podium for about two years, I didn’t feel the need to win. Rather, there was a desire to give the team a success. I remember perfectly that in the morning I woke up and, thinking about the stage, I kept repeating myself as a mantra “today I win, today I win”. And I wasn’t doing it to energize myself, but because I was absolutely convinced of it.
During the race, with Anna in the breakaway and with a chance to win, I told her, “if you feel it, go and try.” The team objective is always the most important thing. But inside me, although Anna is a very good friend and teammate and I would have been delighted to see her win, I knew it would be my day. And, as if there was a plan already written, it happened.
With 18 kilometers to the finish, with all riders together, I attacked alone, pushing as hard as I could to prevent anyone from following me. I didn’t want to ‘just’ win. I wanted to do it alone, with time to raise my arms and enjoy the moment, pulling ahead of all the rivals and leaving no room for them to come back. It was pure emotion.
The key moment was three kilometers from the finish line. I was starting to feel the fatigue and the peloton was pushing to come back. The games were still open. So, I turned my head to see if I could see the peloton in the distance. I didn’t even have time to turn around again when Giorgia, who was following me from the car, shouted “Don’t turn around anymore!” and various other things… Really, I felt afraid. (laughing) But that was the shock I needed to pull out everything.
That day, but actually the whole race in general, was a team masterpiece. Two stage wins, the general classification, won by me but thanks to the decisive sprint for Tayler’s bonus seconds. We couldn’t have hoped for more. We proved to ourselves and our rivals what we are really capable of.