By Gregor Brown in Siena
Two of Team Slipstream Chipotle-H30 younger riders, Ryder Hesjedal and Steven Cozza, were pleased with what they considered a "cool" Monte Paschi Eroica. The 181-kilometre Italian race, organised by RCS Sport, takes in le strade bianche ("white gavel roads") around the Tuscan town of Siena.
"It was one of the coolest races I have done," said Hesjedal to Cyclingnews. He was happy with the day's efforts, which started when he entered the escape group of 25 at 26 kilometres from the start town of Gaiole in Chianti. The 27 year-old of the USA Professional Continental team, which will race the Giro d'Italia in May, attacked his escape companions with 27 kilometres remaining and remained solo for another 18 kilometres. "I was just happy to be at the top of the climb, but they came by so quick," he added of the Fabian Cancellara and Alessandro Ballan winning move.
"I am building for Tirreno-Adriatico, so it was a good sign. It was awesome out there – a great environment."
23 year-old team-mate Cozza confirmed the race's beauty, "The race is meant for me, it is a cool race, I loved it."
He finished 16th for the day. "I was starting all the sections in the back and then I would work my way to the front. The team did well today, and Ryder kicked some butt." The team's highest place rider after the efforts of Hesjedal was Martyn Maaskant, who finished in fourth behind Linus Gerdemann of Team High Road.
After racing in Belgian and in Italy on Saturday, Cozza will head to Spain's Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of Monte Paschi Eroica.