Elisa Longo Borghini: "I return with ambition"
August 30 th 2021 - 12:21 [GMT + 2]
Elisa Longo Borghini, third of the UCI world ranking, third in the road race of the Tokyo Olympic Games, will be one of the big favourites of the 7th edition of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta (September 2-5). She expressed her enthusiasm ahead of her trip to Galicia.
Elisa, what are your memories from your participation in the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta last year ?
I loved it! It was a really beautiful experience. It was the last race of the season and it truly went well. The last stage was proper fun because Giorgia (Bronzini), our DS, basically told us we had to ride it as if it were a points race on the track, but a bit longer. And when I asked her: "Excuse-me, but I'm not fast in the sprint, what should I do?", she said: "Just like a point race, you lap them!" So I spent three quarters of the race in the breakaway. It was an interesting experience from a technical point, and mostly, it was a very beautiful week-end because it was my first race with the tricolore jersey [as the Italian national champion]. It was very emotional.
When you won Strade Bianche Donne in 2017, you spoke about the historical and cultural background of a race set in the city of Sienna. Did you feel something similar in Madrid?
Yes, absolutely. We were in the centre of Madrid, with a great historical and cultural setting, you can feel it in the air. Actually, I enjoyed this trip to visit some museums and palaces. It was extraordinary because we usually don't have time for this kind of things. But since it was the end of the season...
How did you perceive the exposition offered by this event?
I believe it's really important to have an event like the CERATIZIT Challenge at the same time as La Vuelta. This year, there's a step forward as the race expands over four days, with as many stages, offering a varied course. It's even more valuable. The new format has a good distribution with mountain stages, on the flat, and the 'cronoscalata' [uphill time-trial]. It's exciting. I would like to have even more stages in the coming years to make it an even bigger event that will attract even more contenders. But it's already a success.
What do you want to do with the end of the season after your bronze medal in Tokyo?
I prepared well for the end of the season. I'm ambitious, and it begins with the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta where I hope to do well again. After the Olympic Games, it was an easier month in August, but I trained very well, especially with an altitude camp. I feel ready for the European and World championships that will come right after the Challenge.