Longo Borghini and Paternoster win the élite and 17- to 18-year-old women’s road titles.
The rider Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) is the new Italian Road Champion, after a distance of 236km from Asti to Ivrea (Gran Piemonte). Aru soloed in the last climb and maintained the lead of the race until the finish line in Ivrea. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Rinaldo Nocentini (Club-Sporting/Tavira) finished second and third.
Earlier this afternoon Elisa Longo Borghini, claimed her first national title for road racing after she soloed the final climb with 20km to go. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) won the sprint for second place ahead of Soraya Paladin (Alè Cipollini).
Letizia Paternoster (S.C. Vecchia Fontana) won the 69km 17- to 18-year-old women’s road race and is the new Italian champion of this category. Martina Fidanza (Eurotarget – Still Bike) and Elena Pirrone (GS Mendelspec) finished second and third. It is Paternoster’s second national title after her ITT victory on Friday.
Éite Men’s Road Race (Gran Piemonte)
1 – Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) – 236km in 5h52’31”, average speed 40.168km/h
2 – Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) at 40″
3 – Rinaldo Nocentini (Club-Sporting/Tavira) s.t.
Élite Women’s Road Race
1 – Elisa Longo Borghini (G.S. Fiamme Oro) – 111km in 3h04’37”, average speed 36.074km/h
2 – Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) at 1’51”
3 – Soraya Paladini (Alé Cipollini) s.t.
17- to 18-year-old Women’s Road Race
1 – Letizia Paternoster (S.C. Vecchia Fontana) – 69km in 1h42’37”, average speed 40.344km/h
2 – Martina Fidanza (Eurotarget – Still Bike) at 1″
3 – Elena Pirrone (GS Mendelspec) s.t.
The new Italian Road Race Champion Fabio Aru said: “Initially the course might have looked easy but the climb was really hard. On Tuesday, I came to recce it with Paolo [Tiralongo]. From then on, I believed I had my chance to become the Italian champion. I never experienced that before. In the u23, I finished second. That was my best result so far. I’m really happy to have made my dream come true today. It’s an immense satisfaction. The competition was so high with [Gianni] Moscon, [Damiano] Caruso, my friend Diego Ulissi and many others on good form. My plan was to go flat out from the bottom of the climb in the last lap. Once I made a gap, I was informed kilometer by kilometer. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that I was 40 seconds ahead. Looking at the speed, I was always between 50 and 52km/h. During a training ride in Sierra Nevada, Michele Scarponi and I exchanged jerseys because I had the xs size and I wanted to try the s. I haven’t told anyone but since I’ve resumed racing, I’ve been racing with Michele’s jersey. I wanted to offer it after my first victory to his wife Anna and his children Giacomo and Tommaso. Here it is.”
Diego Ulissi said:“I’m happy because Fabio [Aru] was really strong. He showed that he has better legs than anyone else. Even though we were chasing hard, he increased his lead. He deserves the win. As for myself, I can go to the Tour de France with ambition. The good work is paying off.”
Rinaldo Nocentini said:“It’s very important for me to make the podium of the Italian championship. Being part of a Portuguese team, I almost never race in Italy. Two months ago I didn’t know if I’d ride the nationals or not. When I decided to do it, I prepared well for it. When I saw Fabio Aru going as strongly as at the Dauphiné, I understood he would be hard to beat. He impressed me really.”
Elisa Longo Borghini, the new Italian Women’s Road Race Champion said: “Finally I made it in the road race as well. In the past few years I either crashed or came second. Today, on the other, I started with the firm intention of winning and I took a big stone out of my shoe. Winning in Piedmont, my region, is special but winning an Italian championship in my region is fantastic. I had prepared for the road race more than for the time trial. I also won the time trial because I’m on good form even though the course didn’t suit me well. My initial plan consisted of attacking 2km before the end. But as we suspected, we caught the breakaway at the bottom of the climb. [Team-mate] Elisa Balsamo rode really strong at the front of our group, followed by Giorgia Bronzini. At the moment I looked behind, there was no one in our slipstream so I kept going. My idea was to crest with 30 seconds advantage but in reality I had a 1.12 lead so I was able to handle my advance. But the truth is that I rode flat out, always worrying that a group would catch me, who knows, if they’d be racing at 60km/h in the last 3km.
Since I got an Olympic [bronze] medal [in Rio last year], I’m more serene. Giorgia [Bronzini] is also always there to tell me to stay calm or to wake me up if she feels I needed to race more aggressively. This Italian title isn’t the ultimate achievement though. I take it as a starting point with the world championship in Bergen as my next big objective in September. I went with the national team to recce the course in May. It suits me although I’d have like a more difficult finale. I’ll go to Norway with big ambitions.”