Watch the Pro Men’s and Women’s 2021 Strade Bianche
For a race so young, the Strade Bianche has quickly made its way into the highlights of the cycling season. This year, back in its original March slot in the calendar, the fifteenth edition of the race followed a 184km route over the white roads of Tuscany. The relentlessly choppy roads would tire the riders, while the gravel sectors would bring with them choking dust clouds and the risk of punctures. With the sun in the sky, the race set off from Siena with the break not forming until an hour after leaving the city, with three riders making the move, to be joined by five others shortly after. While this group’s advantage went out to four minutes, the peloton behind wasn’t troubled by the escape, keeping a close eye on them but ready to pull them back when the right time came.
The BORA-hansgrohe team’s tactics were working well, with riders close to the front to keep the speeds high and stay in contention. As the race dipped below 100km to go, the break began to splinter on the climbs while the peloton upped the pace, dropping the gap to less than a minute. While the number of punctures and technical problems in the race was rising, the gap continued to fall, the catch coming just before 50km to go, before a select group went off the front, this lead group containing the race’s favourites. With luck being one of the deciding factors in who wins this race, it wasn’t on BORA-hansgrohe’s side today, the team just missing the pivotal move with Patrick Konrad suffering from a mechanical, forcing him to change bikes as the move went while his teammates waited to bring him back to the front of the race. The nine riders on the front maintained their slim lead and as the race neared its final 10km, began the attacks and the nine became three, as Bernal, Alaphilippe and Van der Poel fought it out, the latter taking the win in a noticeably empty and silent Piazza del Campo. First to cross the line for BORA-hansgrohe was Patrick, the Austrian rider finishing in 35th position.
1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 4:40:29
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:05
3 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:20
1 Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) Team SD Worx 3:54:40
2 Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:07
3 Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Team SD Worx 0:00:09
Photos © BORA – hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto