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ROUBAIX, France (VN) – Trek-Segafredo faces now occupy four of the six podium portraits from Paris-Roubaix Femmes after the American-Italian team throttled the race Saturday.
Elisa Longo Borghini and Lucinda Brand went one-three in the Roubaix velodrome in an echo of the Lizzie Deignan-Longo Borghini result of the inaugural 2021 edition, and due reward for a day at the front of the bunch.
“I’m proud – we were the favorites, everybody was looking at us and still we managed to do it again,” Brand told reporters at the finish.
“What Lizzie did last year was super special, and it will probably never happen again in history to win in that way. To do it a second time as a team is often harder. That’s so cool.”
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If Longo Borghini baked Trek-Segafredo a sweet cobblestone cake with her huge solo victory Saturday, third-place for Brand and seventh for superdomestique Ellen van Dijk made for the perfect icing.
The team took control of the race with its multi-leader play, and even a DQ for world champion Elisa Balsamo didn’t make a difference for a team that was on a tear.
“It’s the biggest result of Elisa’s career I think, and to do it like this, two years in a row, first and third, it’s pretty incredible. It couldn’t have been any better,” van Dijk said. “With Brand on the podium as well, first and third like last year – what more could we wish for?”
Longo Borghini hailed her teammates, supporting staff, and sponsor Trek after her victory Saturday.
Brand was similarly stoked by her new Domane bike and the manufacturer’s commitment to refining its multi-surface machine.
“We are super lucky with a great sponsor Trek, who constantly wants to improve the bike to make it fast and comfortable,” she said. “Same story with the tires of Pirelli, riding on low pressure. We did some recons, partial bits. Because of the good equipment, we have confidence.”
Van Dijk overcomes concussion consternation to play superdomestique
Van Dijk didn’t hit the podium like her teammates Longo Borghini and Brand, but the European champion was never far from the camera’s lens.
First came a series of huge pulls that decimated the peloton in the middle of the race. Then came a puncture and a long chase back. Finally, van Dijk and Brand teamed up to play watchdogs for Longo Borghini after the Italian galloped away at 35km to go.
“It was quite easy in the final because we were two [i.e. van Dijk and Brand] in a small group, and we didn’t have to do anything except just follow wheels, so that was the easiest job of the day, I have to say,” van Dijk joked.
The 35-year-old blew away concerns about returning to Paris-Roubaix Femmes after sustaining a severe concussion in the mud-drenched inaugural edition by racing in the safest place Saturday – at the front of the bunch.
“Personally I’ve had a very different experience than last year, and I’m way happier than this time last year,” she said.
“I took everything from the front in the beginning – the first few kilometers I was just riding in the front, which is the safest place so I was happy with that.
“But then unfortunately I got a puncture and it took a very very long time to get back. But that gave me some extra fire because all the other teams were working against me, all the cars and everything, so I thought ‘we have to get this done!'”
Turns out van Dijk, Longo Borghini, and Brand sure did “get it done.”
Three riders in the top-10 and a second consecutive cobblestone trophy makes Trek-Segafredo the team to beat at Paris-Roubaix Femmes.