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Longo Borghini wins the Tour of Flanders nine years after first title

Longo Borghini wins the Tour of Flanders nine years after first title

After two podiums in the 2024 UCI Women’s WorldTour, Elisa Longo Borghini earned her first WorldTour victory of the season, a big score at Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Longo Borghini already had a Tour of Flanders on her palmares, the 2015 edition. Lidl-Trek’s Italian was joined on the podium by her Dutch teammate Shirin van Anrooij. The enthralling 21st women’s edition of Ronde van Vlaanderen was run in miserable conditions.

The Course

The final two of 12 climbs across 163 km were the famed Oude Kwaremont – Paterberg duo. The Paterberg crested 15 km from the finish line on the Minderbroedersstraat in Oudenaarde.

The 2024 course, profile by La Flamme Rouge.

The Lineups

The vibe at SD Worx-Protime was tense after mid-week revelations that 2023 Tour de France Femmes and WorldTour winner Demi Vollering would be leaving the team. Vollering was runner-up to her teammate Lotte Kopecky in last year’s race. Kopecky led the WorldTour with red-hot Elisa Balsamo trailing her by 22 points. Youth classification leader Puck Pieterse would finally road race with great ‘cross rival Fem van Empel.

The Canadian contingent was Maggie Coles-Lyster and Simone Boilard, 10th and 16th at Gent-Wevelgem respectively, and Alison Jackson.

Boilard with a short-lived move near the finish of Gent-Wevelgem.

Like the men’s race, there was crash chaos on Sunday. Only 10 km in, a wreck forced Lizzie Deignan and Marlen Reusser to abandon.

A quintet of breakaways shook loose and bounded towards the first climb Wolvenberg with a 3:15 lead.

With 85 km to go, Longo Borghini crashed and had to chase back on. As the rain pelted down, the escapees were caught and Longo Borghini created the split in the reduced peloton on the slick Koppenberg. Lorena Wiebes, Marianne Vos, Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Pieterse were all part of Longo Borghini’s group, but Kopecky hadn’t made it, a dodgy moment necessitating a foot dab. Kopecky’s chase included Vollering and van Empel.

The Longo Borghini octet had 28 seconds on the Kopecky chase with three tough, cobbled climbs remaining.

Longo Borghini tried to snap the others on the Oude Kruisberg/Hotond. There was a stretch before the Oude Kwaremont where Niewiadoma made a dig and Vollering tried to bridge over, finally making it with 24 km to go. When van Anrooij also joined the group, she immediately attacked.

They hit the Oude Kwaremont in this order: van…

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