Longo Borghini out of Strade Bianche with flu

Former winner forced to skip Women's WorldTour opener on home soil

Elisa Longo Borghini was slated to toe the start line at Strade Bianche in Siena on Saturday but was forced to pull out of the race, citing flu symptoms. Lauretta Hanson will replace Longo Borghini on the Trek-Segafredo team at the opening event of the Women's WorldTour.

"No @StradeBianche for me this year due to the flu which put half part of my family KO. Really sad to miss my favourite race but I'll be cheering for the @TrekSegafredo squad from home!," Longo Borghini posted on Twitter Wednesday.

Longo Borghini moved from Wiggle High5, after the team folded last year, to the newly launched Trek-Segafredo team for the 2019 season. She is a former winner at Strade Bianche and was preparing to have a strong performance on home soil.

She started her season early, in Australia, at the Women's Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Women's Herald Sun Tour. Although she did not secure a win there, she helped her teammate and compatriot Letizia Paternoster to the opening stage win at the Tour Down Under.

The team have had a strong start with three additional wins at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, where Ruth Winder won the opening stage and Lotta Lepistö won two stages.

The team would have been looking to Longo Borghini for a strong opening result on the Women's WorldTour, but they have more than one option for the race. Their line-up will now include Hanson, Anna Plichta, Tayler Wiles, Ellen van Dijk, Ruth Winder and Audrey Cordon-Ragot.

Last year, Anna van der Breggen won Strade Bianche under rain and cold weather conditions. It was a solo victory ahead of Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Longo Borghini was third. Van Dijk finished ninth.

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