Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) stood entrance and centre on the UAE Excursion Ladies pre-race photoshoot with the Abu Dhabi Biking Membership on Wednesday afternoon, retaining the heptagonal winner’s trophy. She used to be surrounded through Silvia Persico (UAE Group ADQ), Mavi García (Liv AlUla Jayco), International Champion Lotte Kopecky, Lorena Wiebes (each SD Worx-Protime) and Alison Jackson (EF Schooling-Cannondale).
Following the click convention, Longo Borghini luckily reminisced concerning the 2023 version of the race. She used a victory at the level 3 climb to Jebel Hafeet, with teammate Gaia Realini using simply at the back of in 2d position, for the duo to take the highest spots and lock up 1-2 at the ultimate level.
“Crossing the end line on Jebel Hafeet in conjunction with my teammate Gaia Realini closing 12 months used to be particular. It used to be some of the gorgeous recollections I’ve from 2023, it used to be simply an incredible feeling to move the end line with a teammate and have fun in combination,” the protecting champion stated.
Within the 2024 version, the Jebel Hafeet climb will once more make a decision the overall classification as level 3 finishes at the 10km climb to the highest of the mountain overlooking al-Ain. Averaging 9% and achieving 11% on the 3km mark, this can be a tricky check for the climbers and GC contenders this early within the 12 months.
“My wintry weather coaching went OK. It is going to be attention-grabbing to be again racing after mainly seven months clear of the peloton. I have no idea the place my form is as a result of I have never been racing for a very long time, however I am wholesome, which is crucial factor. I am truly taking a look ahead to in spite of everything being again within the peloton the place I belong,” stated Longo Borghini after having to take a seat out lots of the 2d part of the 2023 season because of accidents.
As a result of this less-than-ideal preparation, GC management at Lidl-Trek might as a substitute fall to Realini. At the Jebel Hafeet a 12 months in the past, Realini seemed like the more potent climber of the 2 already, and the minuscule 22-year-old Italian has advanced even additional since. However Longo Borghini stated that it used to be too early to make this kind of name, pointing to the potential of echelons at the first two phases.
“First, we need to see how the primary phases spread. I’m at all times satisfied to let Gaia pass if she drops everybody. However it is a choice that the group chief is making, and it is not as much as me to make a decision,” she stated.
Whoever finally ends up being the group chief, Longo Borghini and Realini have their paintings reduce out for them as there is not any scarcity of competition. Persico completed 3rd total closing 12 months and is again and hungry for extra in the house race of her squad, UAE Group ADQ.
“We can see if I will be able to do even higher, however why no longer? It’s a dream. We began this season in an effective way with two victories. We’re right here to do our best possible to constitute this nation,” Persico stated.
García is some other sturdy contender for a GC podium spot. Slowly however incessantly development her shape for the season, García is nevertheless able to provide it her best possible within the UAE.
“I am going step-by-step, no longer too rapid. I’m really not in my best possible imaginable situation at this time, however I am feeling excellent. I used to be on the races in Mallorca to test my shape, and I felt superb,” stated García, regarding a 3rd and a 6th position in two of the 3 new ladies’s one-day races on her house island.
García is referred to as an competitive rider, just about at all times making an attacking transfer when racing. The 40-year-old wouldn’t promise an assault within the UAE Excursion Ladies, despite the fact that, preserving her playing cards on the subject of the chest.
“I’m satisfied to be right here, it is my first time on this race. As for attacking, it’s a little bit other right here as a result of there are 3 flat phases, the one probability for me is the 3rd level. I can opt for the overall classification, however I don’t know but if I can assault or no longer,” she stated.
Look ahead to Excursion de France Femmes level winner Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon-SRAM) and robust all-rounder Amber Kraak (FDJ-SUEZ) within the GC combat. There are the natural climbers who can use level 3 to stake a declare at the GC, corresponding to Pauliena Rooijakkers, Petra Stiasny (each Fenix-Deceuninck) and Claire Steels (Movistar Group).
Different abilities corresponding to Lizzie Stannard (EF Schooling-Cannondale), Silvia Zanardi (Human Powered Well being), Sigrid Ytterhus Haugset (Group Coop-Repsol), Usoa Ostolaza, and Debora Silvestri (each Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi) whole a various GC peloton, promising a impressive showdown at the Jebel Hafeet on Saturday.