The unofficial sixth Monument, one of the most beautiful and elegant races in the cycling calendar – and my second favourite race of the year. Yes, it was Strade Bianche, and edition 13 went mano a mano … a mano with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) going under the flamme rouge together on that magnificent final climb into Siena’s main square. While the men had to duke it out on the final kilometre, Annamiek Van Vleuten (Michelton Scott) time trialled her way to a solo victory in the women’s edition of the race. A fantastic achievement considering that she is coming off a broken kneecap from last year!
Strade Bianche is always a great race – but it really gave the fans something to cheer about on Saturday, with the men’s and women’s pelotons facing rain, wind, mud and last kilometre cramping. So jump into the muddied waters of the Twitterstream for this week’s TWEETS OF THE WEEK!
It was cold and rainy, which meant we had a mudfest in Tuscany for the 12th edition of Strade Bianche. Race favourites Peter Sagan, Michal Kwaitkowski and Zdenek Stybar missed the decisive selection, when Romain Bardet (Ag2r) attacked on the eighth sector, but Wout Van Aert (Verandas Willems-Crelan) did, joining the Frenchman in front. Working together to hold enough of a gap to crush the spirits of various chasing groups, it was only the Belgian rider Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) who could catch them – and ultimately drop them – on the way into Siena. In the rain-soaked women’s race, Anna van der Breggen sounded a warning to her rivals with an emphatic solo win over Kasia Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini.