Kwiatkowski wins Strade Bianche

Polish champion drops Sagan on final climb

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) claimed the biggest one-day race victory of his career in Strade Bianche, distancing breakaway companion Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on the final climb to the finish with a blistering attack.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) rounded out the podium to take third place.

"I didn't expect to drop him," Kwiatkowski said after he crossed the line.

"I knew the final pretty well. As a team we were so good today, we had five riders in the front with 50km to go and we controlled the race. I can't describe how I feel. Winning in Siena is an amazing feeling.

"I didn't have any problems in the winter and was focused on my work. I started late compared to last year but I'm really happy with my condition."

Kwiatkowski and Sagan, clearly the two strongest riders in the race, broke clear with 21km remaining after a dangerous move including Cadel Evans (BMC) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) was caught inside the final 30 kilometres.

Sagan, who was riding with little team support in the final 50 kilometres, was the first to attack, with Kwiatkowski the only one capable of bridging across to the Cannondale rider.

From there the pair set about building on an advantage that peaked at over one minute over the final three sections of gravel roads ahead of the finish in Siena.

Alejandro Valverde, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), who all had no answer when the leading pair broke clear, formed a late chasing move but they were unable to reel back the two leaders.

Approaching the final climb, and with Sagan and Kwiatkowski working well together throughout their break, it was the Slovak champion who lead onto the final ascent with the gradient rising to over 16 percent. However, Sagan, who has been subject to numerous transfer stories in recent weeks, had no answer when the Polish champion unleashed a ferocious attack.

Four-man early escape

Earlier in the race Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli), Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF), Davide Frattini (UnitedHealthcare) and Andrea Fedi (Yellow Fluo) formed the early break, with the foursome quickly establishing a lead close to 11 minutes.

At the half-way point the lead dropped to just under eight minutes, with the majority of the difficult gravel sections still to come. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) was a high-profile retiree, pulling out at the feed zone, but Sagan, Evans, Kwiatkowski and last year's winner Moreno Moser (Cannondale) were still in contention with 70 kilometres remaining.

Kwiatkowski punctured on the sixth section of dirt roads but the Pole was quickly paced back to the peloton just as the favourites began to play their hands.

Team Sky, without Bradley Wiggins, who pulled out on the eve of the event, along with BMC set to work on the front of the peloton but it was on the longest section of gravel - 11.5km in total - where the race began to fracture.

The leaders had an advantage of a little over two minutes, but the break began to splinter as the road ramped up with sections close to 20 percent and would soon be neutralised.

Evans and Valverde went out on the attack, joined by Stannard, Kreuziger and two riders from QuickStep. While the moved spelled danger for an isolated Cancellara and Sagan, the pair were soon back with the leaders at the conclusion of the sector. However, it was now a vastly reduced bunch with less than 40 riders still in contention.

Only Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli), Damiano Cunego and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Michal Golas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels, Matteo Trentin and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Warren Barguil, Tom Dumoulin, Simon Geschke and Georg Preidler (Giant-Shimano), Angel Vicioso (Katusha), Salvatore Puccio and Ian Stannard (Sky), Daniele Bennati, Christopher Juul Jensen, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Angelo Pagani (Bardiani-CSF), Alejandro Valverde and Andrei Amador (Movistar) had made the split but with five riders in the front group, QuickStep quickly took control.

After setting the initial pace the Belgian team sent Trentin clear with Stannard, Amador, Evans, Geschke and Vicioso bidding to chase.

As the move peaked at an 18-second advantage, Kreuziger took off. However, the Czech only succeeded in bringing the race back together and providing Sagan and Kwiatkowski with their launch pad to attack.

Full Results
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team5:20:33 
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale0:00:19 
3Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:36 
4Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:40 
5Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo  
6Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing0:00:59 
7Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:01:44 
8Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano0:02:02 
9Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:11 
10Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:02:51 
11Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
12Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
13Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:54 
14Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
15Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Team Katusha0:03:02 
16Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky0:03:16 
17Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team0:05:40 
18Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:05:56 
19Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
20Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Shimano  
21Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:06:12 
22Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:09:15 
23Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
24Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Colombia  
25Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
26Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
27Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
28Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing  
29Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
30Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling  
31Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
32Sergio Pardilla (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka  
33Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling  
34Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
35Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha  
36Dmitriy Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha  
37Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale  
38Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team  
39Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
40Rodolfo Andres Torres Agudelo (Col) Colombia  
41Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky  
42Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team  
43Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team  
44Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale  
45Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
46Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
47Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia  
48Mauro Finetto (Ita) Yellow Fluo0:12:05 
49Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) IAM Cycling0:12:15 
50Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Shimano  
51Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
52Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
53Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky  
54Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo  
55Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
56Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:12:18 
57Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
58Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:14:08 
59Paolo Colonna (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
60Martijn Maaskant (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
61Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
62Simone Ponzi (Ita) Yellow Fluo0:16:41 
63Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
64Marc de Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
65Nicola Testi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
66Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
67Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
68Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
69Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
70Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
71Lawrence Warbasse (USA) BMC Racing Team  
72Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano  
73Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky  
74Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha  
75Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka  
76Edward Fabian Diaz Cardenas (Col) Colombia  
77Jonathan Paredes (Col) Colombia  
78Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team  
79Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
80Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing  
81Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
82Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
83Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli  
84Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky  
85Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
86Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale  
87Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
88Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
89Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
90Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:17:37 
91Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky0:20:07 
92Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:20:17 
93Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
94Andrea Fedi (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
95Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha  
96Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:20:33 
97Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale0:20:47 
98Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale  
99Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky0:22:17 
100Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
101Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia  
OTLMarco Coledan (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
OTLDonato De Ieso (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNSVladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFKristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale  
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFMatteo Di Serafino (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFFredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFDarwin Ferney Pantoja Tobar (Col) Colombia  
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFPatrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFNiccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFLuca Dodi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFManuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFPablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFEnrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFFrancisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJani Tewelde (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFAdrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFMeron Russom (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFSongezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFDennis van Niekerk (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFMark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFMark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFThomas Peterson (USA) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFMaxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFRudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha  
DNFSergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFYaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFRiccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFBenjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFLucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFChristopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFKiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFSamuele Conti (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFFrancesco Failli (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFFabio Taborre (Ita) Yellow Fluo  
DNFMirko Tedeschi (Ita) Yellow Fluo  

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