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Elisa Longo Borghini takes solo win at GP de Plouay

Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Elisa Longo Borghini took the victory in her first race since the Games. The Trek-Segafredo rider attacked earlier on in the race and sustained a gap before being brought back. However, later in the race the Italian National Champion attacked again from a small group and made it stick to the line. 

Team Arkea-Samsic’s Gladys Verhulst won the reduced bunch sprint for second with Kristen Faulkner of Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank in third. 

“The team rode really well and I’m really happy and satisfied about today,” said Longo Borghini. Asked if it was the goal to win, she said, “yeah, I mean it’s always a nice race to win, Plouay is such a great area for cycling plus we have the Bretagne champion Audrey Cordon and today she was really strong but she was really unlucky.” 

How it unfolded

The 20th edition of GP Plouay took place over 150km with 11 laps of a 13.68km circuit containing three climbs, the first of which maxed out at 19 per cent gradient. 

For this year, the race took on a slightly different route, using smaller circuits which made it harder as the climbs came in quick succession.

After two laps, the bunch was all together on a cloudy day in Plouay. With 95km to go Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SD Worx) suffered a puncture but quickly returned to the peloton. 

Shortly after, Lizzie Deignan, who is defending champion of this race having won three times, suffered a mechanical but, like Moolman Pasio, showed her experience and remained calm, quickly rejoining the peloton. 

With 80km to go a select group broke away consisting of Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx), Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo), Franziska Koch (Team DSM), Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma), and Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma). Behind, the peloton was split and strung out as a result of the attack. 

With just over 70km to go, Jade Wiel (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Alena Amialusik (Canyon-SRAM) attacked, quickly gaining a 1:05 gap. 

Soon after, a crash occurred at the back of the bunch involving Coryn Rivera (Team DSM) and Karol-Ann Canuel (SD Worx) but all of the riders who came down were quickly back on their bikes and back in the bunch. 

Amialusik and Wiel’s gap had stretched to 2:57 with 50km to go but attacks started to fly with Julie van de Velde, Eugenia Bijak, Abi Smith, Anna Shackley, Ruth Winder, Elise Chabbey, Evita Muzic, Pauleina Rooijakkers breaking clear. The peloton behind, including Deignan and van der Breggen, slowed down and the front group gained a one minute gap. 

Soon after, with 44km to go, SD Worx started to chase the break down and with 43.5km to go and Amialusik attacked Wiel to go solo. It was Anna van der Breggen chasing on the front as SD Worx missed the move and Weil was caught with 37km to go. 

With just over 36km to go the chasing group was caught and local rider Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) countered but did not stay away.

At 34k.5m to go, attacks at the front saw World Champion Anna van der Breggen caught out and having to pull a group of riders off the back up to the bunch, meanwhile Amialusik remained out front solo with an almost two-minute gap.

Amialusik’s gap started to come down but at 27.5km to go it was still 1:30 with two more laps remaining. Behind, it was Team DSM and Trek-Segafredo putting in the work to bring the lone leader back with Ruth Winder and Juliette Labous on the front. 

The first of Elisa Longo Borghini’s attacks came at 25.6km to go while her teammate Audrey Cordon Ragot crashed. Longo Borghini’s strong move began to eat into Amialusik’s advantage -- which was reduced to just 38 seconds. 

Liane Lippert for Team DSM was close behind the Italian, chasing her down with Coryn Rivera on her wheel. However the impetus went out of the chasing pair and Mavi Garcia counter attacked and successfully bridged to Longo Borghini. 

With just under 22km to go Longo Borghini and Garcia caught Amialusik but Moolman Pasio was on the front of the chasing group working hard to pull the trio back and with 17.9km to go the gap to the three leaders just 21 seconds. 

Liane Lippert was active in the bunch, attacking and getting a small gap but it was Moolman Pasio once again who pulled the bunch back to the leaders and the peloton were all together with 15.4km to go. 

Coming into the final lap a select group of 10 chasers formed with Riejanne Markus of Jumbo-Visma on the front of the group behind.

For the penultimate time over the finish line, with 13.3km to go, Taitana Guderzo (Ale BTC Ljubljana attacked and managed to stay away for a short while. Meanwhile, Niamh Fisher Black (SD Worx) and Rachel Neylan (Parkhotel Valkenburg)  countered together on the climb but were pulled back as Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) and Floortje Mackaij (Team DSM) also attacked together, however the group came back together. 

With 10km to go a group of four managed to break free with Longo Borghini, Guderzo, Lippert, Magnaldi but Olympic bronze medalist Longo Borghini put in yet another solo attack to go clear.

With 7km to go Longo Borghini’s gap had extended to 17 seconds while behind, Mackaij was chasing for Team DSM. Then with 5km to go and Longo Borghini still out in front, Mavi Garcia attacked again.

Going into the final ascent of the Pont Neuf climb, Longo Borghini’s gap was 42 seconds ahead of the peloton and 12 seconds to Mackaij. Meanwhile, Garcia caught up with Mackaij behind and the two began to work together as Marta Cavalli and Liane Lippert joined them.

With under 2km to go Kristen Faulkner brought the rest of the group back up to the four chasers but just as they caught, Marta Cavalli attacked for FDJ but the move didn’t stick and all signs pointed to a reduced bunch kick for second. 

As Longo Borghini crossed the line solo, the group behind began to wind up for a sprint with Coryn Rivera of Team DSM going early, however it was Gladys Verhulst of Team Arkea Samsic, who managed to cross the line second, with Kristen Faulkner of Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank claiming third.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek - Segafredo 4:06:02
2Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team 0:00:12
3Kristen Faulkner (USA) Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank
4Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing
5Evita Muzic (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
6Eugenia Bujak (Slo) Ale' Btc Ljubljana
7Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Trek - Segafredo
8Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Dsm
9Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Team Sd Worx
10Anna Henderson (GBr) Jumbo-Visma Women Team
11Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar - Travel & Service
12Niamh Fisher-Black (NZl) Team Sd Worx
13Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//Sram Racing
14India Grangier (Fra) Stade Rochelais Charente- Maritime Women Cycling
15Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit - Wnt Pro Cycling Team
16Abi Smith (GBr) Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank
17Urska Pintar (Slo) Ale' Btc Ljubljana
18Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale' Btc Ljubljana
19Rachel Neylan (Aus) Parkhotel Valkenburg
20Anna Shackley (GBr) Team Sd Worx
21Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Ale' Btc Ljubljana
22Juliette Labous (Fra) Team Dsm
23Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar - Travel & Service
24Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Dsm
25Soraya Paladin (Ita) Liv Racing 0:00:21
26Marta Cavalli (Ita) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:00:25
27Liane Lippert (Ger) Team Dsm 0:00:27
28Marie Le Net (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:00:51
29Špela Kern (Slo) Massi Tactic Women Team 0:00:55
30Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Liv Racing
31Mikayla Harvey (NZl) Canyon//Sram Racing 0:01:19
32Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon//Sram Racing 0:01:26
33Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon//Sram Racing
34Nina Kessler (Ned) Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank 0:02:38
35Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team
36Stine Borgli (Nor) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
37Lucie Jounier (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team 0:05:51
38Maeva Squiban (Fra) Stade Rochelais Charente- Maritime Women Cycling 0:06:37
39Diana Carolina Peñuela Martinez (Col) Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank
40Manon Souyris (Fra) Stade Rochelais Charente- Maritime Women Cycling
41Amber Kraak (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team
42Tanja Erath (Ger) Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank
43Coralie Demay (Fra) Stade Rochelais Charente- Maritime Women Cycling
44Arianna Pruisscher (Ned) Stade Rochelais Charente- Maritime Women Cycling 0:07:59
45Martina Alzini (Ita) Valcar - Travel & Service
46Elena Pirrone (Ita) Valcar - Travel & Service
47Maaike Coljé (Ned) Massi Tactic Women Team
48Franziska Koch (Ger) Team Dsm
49Pien Limpens (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
50Typhaine Laurance (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team
51Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Ceratizit - Wnt Pro Cycling Team
52Wilma Olausson (Swe) Team Dsm
53Olivia Baril (Can) Massi Tactic Women Team
54Victorie Guilman (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
55Jade Wiel (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
56Laura Asencio (Fra) Ceratizit - Wnt Pro Cycling Team
57Marit Raaijmakers (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
58Julie Van De Velde (Bel) Jumbo-Visma Women Team
59Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon//Sram Racing 0:14:22
60Vita Heine (Nor) Massi Tactic Women Team 0:16:30
61Sophie Wright (GBr) Ale' Btc Ljubljana
62Mireia Benito Pellicer (Spa) Massi Tactic Women Team
63Roxane Fournier (Fra) Team Sd Worx 0:16:31
64Silvia Pollicini (Ita) Valcar - Travel & Service
65Mireia Trias Jordan (Spa) Massi Tactic Women Team
66Kirstie Van Haaften (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFAudrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek - Segafredo
DNFTayler Wiles (USA) Trek - Segafredo
DNFRuth Winder (USA) Trek - Segafredo
DNFChiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar - Travel & Service
DNFSabrina Stultiens (Ned) Liv Racing
DNFSylvie Swinkels (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFBelle De Gast (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
DNFCharlotte Becker (Ger) Arkea Pro Cycling Team
DNFGreta Richioud (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team
DNFMarie Morgane Le Deunff (Fra) Arkea Pro Cycling Team
DNFAnna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Team Sd Worx
DNFKarol-Ann Canuel (Can) Team Sd Worx
DNFLeah Dixon (GBr) Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank
DNFHannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon//Sram Racing
DNFNancy Van Der Burg (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team
DNFAafke Soet (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team
DNFNoemie Abgrall (Fra) Stade Rochelais Charente- Maritime Women Cycling
DNFSarah Rijkes (Aut) Ceratizit - Wnt Pro Cycling Team
DNFLara Vieceli (Ita) Ceratizit - Wnt Pro Cycling Team

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