Stybar wins 2015 Strade Bianche

Van Avermaet outpaced by Czech champion

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) took the win in Strade Bianche, exploding past Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) on the Via Santa Caterina in Siena to win by two seconds on Saturday. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who was dropped on the final 16 per cent climb, finished third.

The trio had broken away with 20km left and despite numerous attempted attacks, came under the flamme rouge together. Van Avermaet was the first to attack in the finale, with Valverde the first to try and close the gap. However the Spaniard, who had been in every significant move of the race and had used his Movistar team to control the peloton for most of the race, was unable to respond to the final two attacks of the race. While Van Avermaet’s initial move proved decisive in the allocation of podium places, it was Stybar’s stinging acceleration that decided the race.

The Czech was quickly moved onto the BMC rider’s rear wheel and when the Belgian began to ease the Etixx rider rose from the saddle once more. Although the gradient had begun to ease, Van Avermaet was forced to concede and could only watch on as his rival ensured Etixx retained their race title from 2014.

“In the final kilometres I thought that Valverde would attack but then Greg surprised me and went really early, at the bottom of the steepest part of the final climb," Stybar said. "I got on his wheel but I knew I’d have to overtake him at the top otherwise I’d be second. I wanted to win today and so did everything I could to overtake him and take this beautiful win."

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It was a near-faultless display from Stybar who had matched an earlier move from Valverde and Peter Sagan on the Monte Sante Marie. The three riders initially worked well together but with over 50 kilometres of racing remaining there was still a large contingent within the peloton with enough strength to muster a chase.

It was Lars Boom and Astana who lit the touch paper just before Stybar, Valverde and Sagan had pushed clear but by the time some of that dust had settled the leading group contained Fabian Cancellara, Sep Vanmarcke, Sagan, Stybar, Rosa, Valverde, Cort Nielsen, Van Avermaet, Daniel Oss and Nathan Haas.

The action saw the early escape of the day, which contained away nearly from Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF), Giacomo Berlato and Daniele Colli (both Nippo-Vini Fantini), Giuseppe Fonzi (Southeast), Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo), David Lozano (Novo Nordisk), Julian Arredondo (Trek) and Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) brought to heel.

When Stybar, Valverde and Sagan managed to break free they established a twenty second lead but their advantage was short lived with the original ten – minute Nielsen establishing a one minute lead over the remnants of the field.

Only Orica GreenEdge were in a position and willing disposition to lead a chase but with such firepower out in front and so many of the major teams represented, capture seemed impossible.

Oss and Van Avermaet traded turns on the front of the leading group with Van Avermaet, Vanmarcke, and Sagan early aggressors as the break attempted to shed passengers. Valverde and Cancellara - the two most experienced in the move – looked to keep the peace until the next section of dirt roads but that tactic was lost when Oss, back from injury, soared clear just before Monteaperti.

Vanmarcke, always a threat, countered with a searing attack soon after. It was a devastating move. Sagan blown away by its sheer ferocity, with Oss caught for good measure.

It meant that with 19km to go a winner would come from either Van Avermaet, Vanmarcke, Cancellara, Stybar and Valverde. That number was reduced further when Cancellara began to pedal squares on the Colle Pinzuto with Valverde applying the pressure this time.

A move from Van Avermaet was countered by Stybar and Valverde but Vanmarcke was unable to follow as Cancellara, Rosa, and Oss formed their own group at just over 30 seconds in arrears.

Valverde, Stybar, Van Avermaet, then the lonesome Vanmarcke ahead of Cancellara, Rosa and Oss - all three groups swapping seconds between them on the final run into Siena but there was no way back for any of the chasers with the three strongest riders in the race proving their worth.

On paper Valverde would be the strongest climber among the trio but early season form can be as deceptive as it can be short-lived and it was Van Avermaet who threw caution to the wind with the first attack on the final climb.

Valverde, obliged to respond, more out of reputation perhaps, managed to hold the gap but it was Stybar who not only had the strongest legs but the freshest mind. He zipped around the Spaniard at the perfect moment, caught Van Avermaet before the crest of the summit and from that moment the race was won.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step5:22:13 
2Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:02 
3Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:18 
4Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:00:46 
5Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:56 
6Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:00:59 
7Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step  
8Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing0:01:02 
9Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida0:01:03 
10Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha  
11Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo  
12Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team Katusha0:01:07 
13Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
14Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:10 
15Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
16Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini0:01:19 
17Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:01:22 
18Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:01:26 
19Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
20Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
21Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge0:01:29 
22Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:01:56 
23Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha0:01:57 
24Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:01 
25Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing0:02:10 
26Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:02:19 
27Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:04:21 
28Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:04:30 
29Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:04:47 
30Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:04:49 
31Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo0:05:13 
32Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo  
33Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling0:05:40 
34Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica GreenEdge0:06:34 
35Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling0:06:51 
36Elia Favilli (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling0:07:35 
37Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
38Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
39Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
40Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
41Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
42Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha  
43Luka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre-Merida  
44Iuri Filosi (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
45Jose Rodolfo Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida  
46Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
47Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky  
48Marco Fontana (Ita) Italy  
49Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha  
50Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha0:07:49 
51Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:08:16 
52Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo0:11:18 
53Ildar Arslanov (Rus) RusVelo  
54Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
55Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step0:11:22 
56Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
57Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:12:12 
58Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:18:31 
59Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:19:20 
60Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
61Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
62Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar Team  
63Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
64Ivan Balykin (Rus) RusVelo  
65Serghei Tvetcov (Rom) Androni Giocattoli  
66Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step  
67Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
68Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo  
69Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
70David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
71Davide Appollonio (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
72Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo  
73Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
74Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
75Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
76Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
77Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge  
78Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team0:22:53 
79Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
80Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
81Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
82Rick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
83Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:23:20 
84Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky0:23:22 
85Manabu Ishibashi (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini0:24:14 
OTLEdoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:27:32 
OTLSimone Velasco (Ita) Italy0:29:20 
OTLValerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:29:24 
OTLArtem Nych (Rus) RusVelo0:31:14 
OTLLuca Braidot (Ita) Italy0:32:51 
DNF Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFHubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFPierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFChristophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFMarco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFTiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAlberto Nardin (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFFranco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFGianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFDario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFFrancesco Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFAndrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFStefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFNicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFBrent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFPeter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFIlia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-Merida  
DNFManuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFMaximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida  
DNFEnrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFMarc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFFrancisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFNicholas Pettina (Ita) Italy  
DNFSeid Lizde (Ita) Italy  
DNFGiacomo Berlato (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFAlessandro Bisolti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFEduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFAntonio Nibali (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFSimon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFAdam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFPetr Ignatenko (Rus) RusVelo  
DNFRoman Kustadinchev (Rus) RusVelo  
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFGiuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFJonathan Monsalve (Ven) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFSimone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFEugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFKevin De Weert (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFJoonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFNicolas Lefrancois (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFJavier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFAndrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFCharles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFMartijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFChristopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFElia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
DNFIan Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFMatteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFJulian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFYaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFJasper Stuyven (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing  
DNSGianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNSRuben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team   

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