Olympic Games: Wiggle High5 celebrate Johansson and Longo Borghini medals
Abbott in fourth
While the riders compete for their national teams in the Olympic Games road race, with the Netherlands winning gold via Anna van der Breggen, Wiggle High5 came up trumps from the trade teams with Emma Johansson adding a second silver to her Beijing success and Elisa Longo Borghini winning bronze for Italy.
It was close to an all Wiggle High5 podium with American Mara Abbott caught in the final few hundred metres by van der Breggen, Johansson and Longo Borghini to finish in fourth place.
"To come away with a medal is fantastic. I'm very pleased," Johansson said after the race. "I came back because I'm pretty damn strong in the head. I'm really satisfied."
Abbott and Annemiek van Vleuten led the peloton over the Vista Chinesa, the final climb of the race, with the Dutchman crashing out of the crash having dropped the American on the fast and technical descent. The accident saw Abbott become the leader on the road but she would be overcome by the chasing trio who never gave up hope on battling for gold.
"For a while it looked really dark out there. I almost saw the medals rolling away," Johansson said of the final kilometres. "But I came back at the end and Emilia [Fahlin] was great and did a really good job. Maybe I should have launched my sprint a little earlier but I'm very happy.
"Now I will be 'Silver Emma,'" Johansson joked of the Sweden nickname after her first silver medal eight year's ago behind Nicole Cooke. "That's my strength to never give up until the finish line is passed. It's fun to finish with a silver."
Just as Johansson was celebrating her silver medal, Longo Borghini expressed her delight with her bronze.
"I am happy for this medal, because I won it in a race with the very difficult course," Longo Borghini said. "I couldn't believe it was so hard."
The medal was the third for Italy in a women's Olympic road race after Tatiana Guderzo's bronze in 2008 and Imelda Chiappa's silver in 1996. For Longo Borghini, it matched her bronze from the 2012 Valkenburg Worlds but she explained her Olympic success was a more fulfilling result as it was wholly unexpected.
Having seen compatriot Vincenzo Nibali crash out a day before when in a potential racing winning position, Longo Borghini explained she spoke with the Astana rider about how best to tackle the Vista Chinesa descent.
"Just yesterday I talked with Nibali. And he told me that it was a very technical descent, but also deceptive. So I went very carefully. I know what it's like to have a bad accident, because I had one three years ago and I still carry the scars. But now I'm too happy to think about it," she said in reference to her 2013 Italian national championships crash.
Johansson, Longo Borghini and trade teammate Audrey Cordon (France) are provisional starters for the August 10 time trial with the trio aiming to add more medals to Wiggle High5's haul.
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