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Regardless of the rising specialization in ladies’s biking, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) believes that it’s nonetheless potential to take goal on the cobbled classics and grand tour GCs.

Lengthy gone are the times when Marianne Vos might win any race on any parcours, with even the so-called “GOAT” of biking specializing in a smaller variety of races.

Whereas succeeding in one-day races and concentrating on main stage races is turning into a finer line to steadiness, Longo Borghini says that correct planning can see you discover success throughout each.

“The extra years we’ll move, the extra we’ll see specialised riders, however I’ll let you know with periodization you are able to do properly within the spring, after which you are able to do properly in stage races. Possibly you need to focus just a little bit extra on levels as an alternative of the GC, however you’ll be able to nonetheless do properly,” Longo Borghini advised VeloNews.

“I believe the important thing [for me] was to take a great relaxation after the after spring and to construct up once more in Could, on altitude, after which making ready properly for the summer time.”

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Longo Borghini put her cash the place her mouth was final yr with huge performances throughout some drastically completely different terrains. She took a solo win at Paris-Roubaix in April, having completed on the rostrum the yr prior, and would go on to win the GC on the Ladies’s Tour earlier than scoring fourth and sixth total on the Giro d’Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes respectively.

The Paris-Roubaix win was a whole shock for the Italian as she had been affected by sickness all through the spring and virtually pulled out of the race earlier than the beginning.

“I look again there with a whole lot of emotion to be honest, and I nonetheless smile after I have a look at it. I nonetheless get emotional after I see the images,” she mentioned. “With the victory of Paris-Roubaix in 2022, it took me one other approach, I don’t know tips on how to clarify it. From then on, I believe it was actually profitable, and I believe I can put it among the many high three of my finest seasons.”

Forward of the 2022 season, Longo Borghini had advised VeloNews that she needed to be extra surgeon-like in her strategy to racing. In her thoughts, that meant concentrating on her assaults with extra precision in an effort to mop up some main victories.

Whereas she did rack up a formidable win tally, the season didn’t go as she had hoped when she was making her plans final winter.

“That’s one thing I fully failed at as a result of all of the objectives that I set disappeared. However 2022 was loopy and I received in many various methods and surprising methods as a result of I received the Ladies’s Tour with a dash,” Longo Borghini mentioned, referencing her remaining stage dash on the Ladies’s Tour to beat Grace Brown on bonus seconds.

“It was an incredible yr. It was actually unusual, however in a pleasant approach as a result of I didn’t obtain something of what I set as a aim. However I achieved a whole lot of different issues in several methods, they usually have been wonderful.”

Getting extra GC wins

Regardless of a profession of massive outcomes, which has seen her podium on the Giro d’Italia Donne, the Ladies’s Tour success was Longo Borghini’s first-ever basic classification success. Although she nonetheless loves her one-day racing, the 31-year-old want to construct on her GC success and has her eyes set on a return to the Tour de France Femmes to higher her sixth-place end in 2022.

“I believe I could be a good GC rider as a result of I’m all the time up there and I’m fairly regular with my efficiency,” Longo Borghini mentioned. “I’d certainly attempt to focus extra on the primary objectives. Now we have such a powerful workforce that we will cut up all of the objectives between many riders, and I can have my races and I may also help in different races.

“I would love to do properly at Strade Bianche as a result of it’s one in every of my favourite races, after which the Tour de France.”

The 2023 Tour de France Femmes route will probably be a really completely different problem to what she and her rivals confronted final season, with a 90km stage to the highest of the Tourmalet and a 22km time trial into Pau to complete the race off.

As a six-time Italian nationwide time trial champion, the addition of a take a look at in opposition to the clock will play into Longo Borghini’s arms as she seems to realize time on the purer climbers within the pack. Whereas she’s acquired a great probability of ascending the GC on the ultimate day of racing, she believes that a lot can have been selected the brutal climb up the Tourmalet.

“I believe it’s a really attention-grabbing route additionally as a result of the final the final stage is a time trial so you’ll be able to win or lose some place within the GC,” she mentioned. “Now we have the Tourmalet stage and there the GC will probably be dictated already, however then, for another positions within the high 10, it could actually change within the time trial.”

Will probably be the primary time the ladies’s peloton has raced up the Tourmalet with few races even going close to the Pyrénées. The two,115-meter large is an icon of the boys’s race and has featured virtually 100 instances. Its inclusion within the eight-day route could be sufficient to strike concern into many a rider, however Longo Borghini is just not afraid.

“I’ve by no means made and perhaps I’ll go and recon it, however I’m not fearful of it. We’re coaching and racing for the Tour de France,” she mentioned.

One factor she is comfortable to not see come up once more is an extended valley street between the climbs, with only a quick flat part between the Col d’Aspin and the Tourmalet. Longo Borghini’s GC problem virtually exploded, alongside together with her legs, on the penultimate day of the 2022 Tour de France when she made an ill-fated choice to chase down an assault by Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering.

She was left in no ladies’s land for kilometer after kilometer earlier than she hit a wall and misplaced virtually seven minutes.

“It’s nonetheless a nightmare. Typically I take into consideration the valley, and I take into consideration Demise Valley. It was unending,” she mentioned with a wry smile.

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