Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) increased her precious metals collection Saturday at the European championship road race, adding a bronze medal to the one she won at the Rio Olympics in August. Borhgini made it into a four-rider move that slipped away at the end of the race and then finished third in the group sprint, crossing the line behind winner Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) - the Olympics road race winner - and Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland).
"I'm very happy about the result," Longo Borghini said afterward. "I was ill the past week and I didn't expect to be in shape today, also because I wasn't 100 percent at the Time Trial [on Thursday]."
A breakaway that included Séverine Eraud (France), Olena Pavlukhina (Azerbaijan), Anna Stricker (Italy), Nicole Hanselman (Switzerland), Anisha Vekemans (Belgium), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Anna Plichta (Poland) and Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands) animated the early racing, but when the peloton caught the leaders in the closing laps of the 109.6km race on a 13.9km circuit, the race reshuffled once more. Itally massed at the front in the finale, hoping to set up sprinter Giorgia Bronzini, but Niewiadoma jumped away on the final climb before the finish, Longon Borghini marked the move.
The Polish rider was also quickly followed by van der Breggen and Belarus' Alena Amialiusik. Lithuania's Rasa Leleivyte tried to reach the group as the finish line approached, but the others had already begun to sprint.
"My national team worked very well and until the end we were sure to go for Gio," Longo Borghini said. "I had to cover van der Breggen's and Niewiadoma's attacks, and in the end we were four to the finish line to sprint."
Bronzini took the field sprint for sixth behind Leleivyte.