Prior to this May, when Longo Borghini won a stage and the overall title at Emakumeen Bira, her last victory was at the Mediterranean Games the previous summer, and before that, it was at the National Championships in 2017. The 27-year-old joined the newly formed Trek-Segafredo women's programme at the start of this season, after four years at Wiggle-High5, and credits her new team with having a positive change on her approach to racing.
Longo Borghini has steadily been building form throughout 2019. After finishing fifth at both the Women's Herald Sun Tour and Cadel Evans Road Race in January, she finished in the top 10 at Dwars door Vlaanderen and Liège-Bastogne-Liège before winning the final stage and overall GC title at Emakumeen Bira in the Basque Country. Then at the OVO Energy Women's Tour in June, she played a vital role in her teammate Lizzie Deignan's victory and went on to finish 10th overall herself.
"I'm pretty different than last year, and I'm more confident that my shape is better, but for sure the Giro is a completely different race than this one," Longo Borghini told Cyclingnews at the OVO Energy Women's Tour.
"Right now, I am feeling fine, and I am feeling good, and this is the best that you can hope for heading into a hard race."
This year's 10-stage Giro Rosa is set to be a classically climber-heavy race, featuring two summit finishes - one atop the Passo Gavia on stage 5 and one on Montasio on stage 9 - as well as a hilltop time trial on stage 6. Longo Borghini has raced her home tour seven times previously and finished runner-up in 2017, as well as in the top 10 overall a further four times. However, this year she says she's hoping to play an opportunist role for her team and make the most of chances when they come.
"Let's see what the Giro will bring me, I don't want to predict anything because there are many strong girls out there and I am not a pure climber, we have so many summit finishes there," she continued. "Maybe a stage would be nice."
Longo Borghini was among a star-studded line up signed to the newly launched Trek-Segafredo team for this season, along with Deignan, Ellen Van Dijk, Ruth Winder and Lotta Lepistö, with former racers Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Giorgia Bronzini leading the staffing squad. So far the team has 16 victories – more than any other team in the women's peloton.
"I went into Bira already with big confidence, I knew already I was good," Longo Borghini said. "I just kept the motivation high, and the team was working very, very well. We were happy together, and you know when you are happy, and you are working well together that helps.
"We are working very well together, and we melted very well together, and this is all to Ina and Giorgia's credit because they are directing us very well. Plus, the staff that is around us is performing super well, and they're all kind to us – so it's easy to stay in this team."
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Sophie Hurcom is Procycling’s deputy editor. She joined the magazine in 2017, after working at Cycling Weekly where she started on work experience before becoming a sub editor, and then news and features writer. Prior to that, she graduated from City University London with a Masters degree in magazine journalism. Sophie has since reported from races all over the world, including multiple Tours de France, where she was thrown in at the deep end by making her race debut in 2014 on the stage that Chris Froome crashed out on the Roubaix cobbles.