Kocjan finished just a few seconds behind winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) after being in the key selection of riders that emerged at the end of the 190km race, which includes 60km on the famous Tuscan dirt roads.
"In the last 15km I was watching Cunego and (Italian national champion Giovanni) Visconti because I knew they were strong at the finish,” Kocjan said in a team press release. “Some other teams missed the break, and I knew they would chase hard, so it was the perfect option to wait behind those guys for the sprint."
“The last climb into Siena was 300 metres uphill, and then a right turn. I was very happy to be in such good company, but I have never felt fatigue like that on a bicycle."
Team Type 1 director sportif Vassili Davidenko called the Montepaschi Strade Bianche “a brutal race, a really tough day in the saddle. Lots of very talented riders were taken out by the hills or the roads or by bad luck. We kept our heads when the race picked up and had the right people in the right places when they needed to be there.”
He also pointed to Martijn Verschoor as being “exceptionally strong” in the race, although the American did not finish. Verschoor has type 1 diabetes and must constantly monitor his blood glucose level, which he did before, during and after the race.
Early on his blood glucose level was good, at 175, but fell to 120 halfway through. "I ate some food when I was at 120 and that brought me up to around 220 at the end of the race, which is good," he said.
"The race had some steep climbs that tore things apart. Sector five was where it all started to go really fast, and where most of the peloton lost contact. Today's race was really important for us to get up in the front and push the speed. We have a lot of talent, and we're motivated to race," Verschoor said.