Kwiatkowski and Longo Borghini conquer Strade Bianche - Weekend Wrap

Demare wins windswept Paris-Nice opener, Adam Yates claims second GP Industria & Artigianato, Van Emden opens 2017 account

Strade Bianche

Former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski took a second career victory at Strade Bianche for Team Sky's first WorldTour win of the 2017 season. The win was the first in almost a year for the 26-year-old, who made his decisive move with 15km to go.

Kwiatkowski held off the chasers to finish 15 seconds clear of Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal). Former winner Zdenek Štybar (Quick-Step Floors) was fourth, with Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) in fifth.

"I was maybe pushing myself to the limit too much to impress everyone last year," Kwiatkowski said.

"I'm not a machine, and sooner or later you pay the bill. I wasn't happy but had great support from the team with my health problems and not finishing races, they always believed in me. I didn't lose my talent, I just had to wait and work hard to get back on the level."

For the full race report, results, photos, tech gallery and news, click here.

The 2017 Strade Bianche podium: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Strade Bianche Women

After two year's of Boels Dolmans dominance at Strade Bianche, Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) became the first Italian winner of the Women's WorldTour opener. The Olympic Games bronze medallist was first through the final and decisive corner into Siena's Piazza del Campo to take the victory ahead of Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) and defending champion Lizzie Deignan (Boels Dolmans).

"After Rio, I realised I don't need to fear anyone," said Long Borghini. "I've realised my true abilities. Before I was fearful of my rivals. Now I respect them, but I'm not afraid."

The Wiggle-High5 rider overcame the inclement weather, a crash on sector five of the 'white roads', as well as her rivals, and gave thanks to race organiser RCS for bringing the action to the spectators.

"What perhaps is missing from women's cycling is media attention," said Longo Borghini. "I want to thank RCS for showing the race live today. It's a good sign, and let's hope it happens more and more. Strade Bianche has helped the women's movement, and we're all so happy to honour the race."

For the full Strade Bianche Women race report, results and photos, click here.

The 2017 Strade Bianche Women podium: Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3), Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) and Elizabeth Deignan (Boels Dolmans)(Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Paris - Nice

The possibility of crosswinds before stage 1 of Paris-Nice suggested an entertaining day of racing but, come Sunday afternoon, few could have predicted the chaos that unfolded. It proved to be a good day out for FDJ's Arnaud Demare, who made the front echelon and went on to take the stage win and first yellow jersey. However, for the likes of former two-time winners Richie Porte (BMC) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), it was a day to forget.

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), though, was the biggest loser, with the Frenchman ejected from the race for receiving illegal assistance from his team car. Bardet was attempting to rejoin the peloton after crashing with 22km remaining.

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Under the flamme rouge Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) attacked the select front group, and Demare was the only rider capable of tracking the move. In the two-up sprint, it was the FDJ man celebrating victory, just as he did in 2016. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) won the bunch sprint for third place.

"It was an attacking race today, and we took the initiative. I enjoyed the whole stage," Demare said. "There were fewer riders than we expected in the finale but it was a crazy race. We were chasing to bring down the break and so when we hit the crosswinds, we were already at the front before the split happened. I think that caught a lot of people out."

At the end of the eventful stage, Dan Martin (Quick-Step), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and Sergio Henao (Team Sky) are the best placed of the general classification riders.

For the stage 1 race report, results, video highlights and photos, click here.

FDJ's Arnaud Demare in the first Paris-Nice yellow jersey of 2017 (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

GP Industria & Artigianato

Adam Yates gave Orica-Scott its 11th win of the 2017 season as the  Briton claimed victory for the second time at GP Industria & Artigianato. When Yates won the race in 2014, he was a promising neo-pro, while in 2017 he is one of the leading young generation classification riders in the peloton.

Yates infiltrated a six-man group following the capture of the day's breakaway, biding his time before launching the race winning attack in the finale. He held off Movistar's Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) for the victory.

"I wasn't lucky, but I'm not renowned as a sprinter, so it's a good win for me," Yates said. "I tried to give it some welly on the last climb and have a few digs, but I couldn't get away from the other guys and had to wait for the sprint. It's really good to come back here and get a second win, the team were fantastic, and it's a great way to go into next week's Tirreno-Adriatico."

For the full race report, results and photos of GP Industria & Artigianato, click here. 

The 2017 GP Industria & Artigianato podium: Movistar's Richard Carapaz, Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Dwars door West-Vlaanderen Johan Museeuw Classic

Dutchman Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) enjoyed his first career victory on Belgian soil at the Dwars door West-Vlaanderen Johan Museeuw Classic on Sunday, holding off BMC's Silvan Dillier in a two-up sprint. Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) rounded out the podium in third place.

The wet and windy conditions that greeted the peloton for the start of the 203.6km race never dissipated, and would play a vital role in the race as the peloton splintered into numerous groups, due to the crosswinds. Van Emden and Dillier were active in the winning nine-man breakaway before the duo went clear and held a 35-second advantage with one final 12km lap of the finishing circuit to come.

"I did not want to head into the sprint because my first kick is not that fast, but when I stood on the pedals to sprint, I felt strength in my legs and overtook the normally faster Dillier," van Emden said. "It's always nice to win this way. It helps if you've already ridden some finals as I did last Wednesday in Le Samyn. You learn from it. I am now nine years professional and it's my third win in a classic. All the other victories, I achieved in time trials."

For the full race report, results and photos of Dwars door West-Vlaanderen Johan Museeuw Classic, click here.

 Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) celebrates victory (Bettini Photo)

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