CYCLING: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP bronze medalist Elisa Longo Borghini admits Friday’s third stage of the Women’s Tour could be the toughest of the series.
Some of the world’s most talented riders will speed through the country roads and streets of Warwickshire, with thousands of spectators expected to line the streets.
At 151 kilometres in length, Friday’s stage will present a tough challenge to riders and will follow stages in Northamptonshire and Staffordshire.
Borghini, who finished third in last year’s Women’s Tour, will this year race for Wiggle–Honda – who have high ambitions of scooping the team honours.
The team stems from Wiggle, an online cycle retailer that are active supporters of women’s sport.
Borghini won the bronze medal at the 2012 World Championships in the Women’s road race event, arguably her best achievement to date.
But despite the 25-year-old’s lengthy list of honours, she is still expecting Friday’s race to be a tough encounter.
Speaking to The Observer, the Italian national said: “The Women’s Tour is a very big event.
“The peloton is always looking forward to riding this race because it’s well organised and there’s plenty of people on the side of the roads cheering us on.
“Unfortunately I haven’t had chance to look at the stage in detail as yet.
“Closer to the race, the staff prepare a full detailed presentation with the climbs and the crucial points before the team but I haven’t yet received it, it’s too early.
“It’s a long stage of 150km – and this can be already a factor that can break the peloton.
“It’s going to be the third day of racing which is normally the hardest.”
Friday’s race starts in Atherstone before taking in Fillongley, Berkswell, Kenilworth.
Riders will then continue to race south through Warwick and Moreton Morrell before eventually reaching the route’s most southerly point in Lower Brailes.
The race will then travel north up through Kineton, Fenny Compton, and Southam before concluding on The Parade in Leamington Spa.
Borghini highlighted the importance of the Women’s Tour and said Team Wiggle-Honda have a strong chance to compete in all stages.
She added: “I think we are a strong team that can compete for every kind of stage.
“We have sprinters for the fast finals, climbers for the hard routes and very talented workers for making the team to perform at the best.
“Individually, I hope to find in this race my best shape that I will need for the national championships the week after.
“I also hope to have the opportunity to help my teammates to achieve some wins.
“The atmosphere is team is always good and this put you in the best spot for performing well.”
Since the London 2012 Olympic Games, cycling in the UK has gone from strength to strength.
With more people than ever now donning a crash hat and gloves, Borghini said cycling is about enjoyment.
She said: “For somebody who is just starting with cycling I suggest to do small steps and not start with super big and hard rides because the bike can be a killer.
“It takes you fast downhill but then you have to climb up again.”