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Tre Valli Varesine: Elisa Longo Borghini beats Veronica Ewers to second win in four days

The Italian soloed away from the pack following an aggressive race into Varese.

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Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) continued her post-Worlds form with her second win in four days at the Tre Valli Varesine, beating American star Veronica Ewers (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB).

Longo Borghini already notched up a win in the last week with her third Giro dell’Emilia title, where she also bested Ewers with a late solo attack.

The Italian attacked inside the final 10 kilometers of an aggressive race and held off the chasers to take a clear victory 26 seconds ahead of the chasers. Ewers led Ane Santesteban (BikeExchange-Jayco) across the line to complete the podium with Italian champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) leading the next group home at 34 seconds back.

It is the fourth victory for Longo Borghini this season, with spring and summer victories at Paris-Roubaix and the Women’s Tour earlier this year.

“It was definitely a nice win, on a route that suited me well with a hard and hectic final circuit which served as a launch pad to get the solo win,” Longo Borghini said. “I knew the Montello climb well, the decisive point the race, and I knew I could make the difference there. It was a challenging but fast circuit and I needed a few efforts to make the difference.

“I’m good in this finale of the season. The form is there and I think I’m having a boost of determination pushing me in these last races. Emilia on Saturday and today’s Tre Valli Varesine are the proof. For me, it’s a sort of revenge for some key events of my season that didn’t go as I wanted, like the Tour de France and the Worlds. It’s like a relief. I’m really facing every race with the desire to have fun on my bike, to compete, and race to win. I’m really enjoying this moment.”

At just 88.9 kilometers, the women’s Tre Valli Varesine was one of the shortest days of racing for the female peloton in 2022, but the truncated parcours made for a very active race throughout the day.

The race route took the peloton from Busto Arsizio and headed north toward the finish in Varese, riding over the climb at Morazzone. The women’s race would not take on the final laps of the larger circuit and would, instead, conclude with four loops of the shorter circuit.

With two climbs per lap, it was still a challenging finale and would set up a platform for several attacks in the closing kilometers.

Inside the final 40 kilometers, Sophie Wright (UAE Team ADQ) led the race into the Varese circuits with a 20-second advantage over a chasing group of eight riders with the main peloton around 10 seconds further back.

The chasers would soon catch Wright to form a nine-women breakaway and built up a gap of close to a minute over the peloton.

The new lead group contained Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange), Elena Pirrone (Valcar Tavel & Service), Jelena Erić and Sara Martin (Movistar), Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo), Jade Wiel (FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope), Morgane Coston (Arkéa), and Kirstie van Haaften (Parkhotel Valkenburg).

Longo Borghini and Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ) sensed danger and attacked to bride across to the leaders, but their presence in the group was too risky for those behind and they were reeled back in by the bunch with around 20km remaining.

With just over 10 kilometers to go, the bunch had thinned out dramatically to about 15 riders with small chase groups behind. Longo Borghini and Erić made an attempt to go clear with 11km remaining but that was soon shut down, as was another attack from Garcia.

Longo Borghini would try again with a little over five kilometers to go and it would prove to be the winning move. With a lack of cohesion in the chase group, she had done enough to hold them off all the way to the finish.

Ewers and Santesteban were able to jump clear of the main chasing group, but could not bring back the flying Longo Borghini.