The mud, the drama, the pain and the glory. Strade Bianche was MAGNIFICENT!!
Women : Siena to Siena, 136km
Anna van der Breggen (Boels -Dolmans) opened a gap on the penultimate gravel section and just stamped away on the pedals to take a superb solo victory. Behind her Canyon SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma got the better of last year’s champion Elisa Longho Borghini (Wiggle High5) on the final climb to the Piazza del Campo, the third time she has been runner up in Siena. IT WAS MAGNIFICENT!!!!
Full race report from Cycling News
Love these images from Thomas Maheux of Cervelo Bigla’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig at the start and gritting it out mid race…
Men: Siena to Siena, 184km
Lotto Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot took his first professional race win on the most heroic of races. The Belgian found his strength and sparkle amongst white mud of the sterrati. Bridging to the unlikely race leading duo of Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) before dropping them on the final gravelled climb to ride solo, triumphant and caked in mud into the finish. Bardet gritted his teeth on the leg breaking climb to the Piazza to take second from a Van Aert in a whole world of cramp pain. IT WAS MAGNIFICENT!!!!
Video. I’ve posted the highlights, the full race can be found here
“I felt really strong today and I’m proud to say I felt like a hero. I’m proud to have won this race.” Tiesj Benoot
“Strade Bianche is hard for everyone; you can’t hide, you can’t lie, because at the end it’s all about the energy you have in your legs and everyone finishes totally empty. That’s something I love.” Romain Bardet.
“It was a really tough race, fast right from the start and the gravel sections were in bad condition, actually a lot worse than I thought. It was really muddy in places. For me it was good because I was able to go on the front on the gravel sections using my skills and I was not afraid compared to others. I had a nice day.” Wout Van Aert
We lost TV images of the battle between Wout and Romain on the last climb, it was only later that fan footage showed us exactly what happened.
When you arrive over the time limit to find your teammate is the winner. All smiles from Lotto Soudal’s Tomasz Marczynski
Header image: Strade Bianche mud – Tim de Waele/Getty Images)