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Strade Bianche dependably delivers the drama – Gallery

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Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) makes his winning move at Strade Bianche

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) makes his winning move at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Anna van der Breggen attacks a gravel climb at Strade Bianche

Anna van der Breggen attacks a gravel climb at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tom Dumoulin covered in the Tuscan mud

Tom Dumoulin covered in the Tuscan mud (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon-Sram) sheds the glasses at Strade Bianche

Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon-Sram) sheds the glasses at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Romain Bardet and Wout Van Aert chase Tiesj Benoot at the 2018 Strade Bianche

Romain Bardet and Wout Van Aert chase Tiesj Benoot at the 2018 Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan makes his way to the finish in of Strade Bianche Siena

Peter Sagan makes his way to the finish in of Strade Bianche Siena (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The 2018 edition was exceptionally cold and muddy

The 2018 edition was exceptionally cold and muddy (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tiesj Benoot celebrates his 2018 Strade Bianche win

Tiesj Benoot celebrates his 2018 Strade Bianche win (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Timely roadside assistance for Team Sky riders at Strade Bianche

Timely roadside assistance for Team Sky riders at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Bardet, Benoot and Van Aert on the 2018 men's Strade Bianche podium

Bardet, Benoot and Van Aert on the 2018 men's Strade Bianche podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Benoot and Van Aert celebrate a job well done at Strade Bianche

Benoot and Van Aert celebrate a job well done at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tiesj Benoot wins the 2018 Strade Bianche

Tiesj Benoot wins the 2018 Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Anna van der Breggen share a drink on the Strade Bianche podium

Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Anna van der Breggen share a drink on the Strade Bianche podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Anna van der Breggen and Elisa Longo Borghini on the 2018 Strade Bianche podium

Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Anna van der Breggen and Elisa Longo Borghini on the 2018 Strade Bianche podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The Strade Bianche peloton rides among the grapes

The Strade Bianche peloton rides among the grapes (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Robert Power cleans off after a gravel section at Strade Bianche

Robert Power cleans off after a gravel section at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The cold weather at Strade Bianche disagreed with Greg Van Avermaet

The cold weather at Strade Bianche disagreed with Greg Van Avermaet (Image credit: Getty Images)
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A Canyon-SRAM rider in the mud of Strade Bianche

A Canyon-SRAM rider in the mud of Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Strade Bianche takes its toll on another rider

Strade Bianche takes its toll on another rider (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The gravel roads of Tuscany make Strade Bianche a crowd favourite

The gravel roads of Tuscany make Strade Bianche a crowd favourite (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) on the move at Strade Bianche

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) on the move at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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An AG2R La Mondiale rider struggles at the finish of Strade Bianche in Siena

An AG2R La Mondiale rider struggles at the finish of Strade Bianche in Siena (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tiesj Benoot riders to victory at Strade Bianche

Tiesj Benoot riders to victory at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Wout Van Aert shows the strain of his podium effort at Strade Bianche

Wout Van Aert shows the strain of his podium effort at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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 Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) slides out at Strade Bianche

Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) slides out at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) puts a foot down on a muddy descent at Strade Bianche

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) puts a foot down on a muddy descent at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alena Amialiusik, Eleonora van Dijk and Chantal Blaak crest a hill in Strade Bianche

Alena Amialiusik, Eleonora van Dijk and Chantal Blaak crest a hill in Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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 Lucy Kennedy leads the Mitchelton-Scott effort at Strade Bianche

Lucy Kennedy leads the Mitchelton-Scott effort at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Michal Kwiatkowski attacks on a short gravel climb

Michal Kwiatkowski attacks on a short gravel climb (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Riders on a ridge at Strade Bianche

Riders on a ridge at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Peter Sagan doesn't appear to be enjoying the cold, wet weather at Strade Bianche

Peter Sagan doesn't appear to be enjoying the cold, wet weather at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Colorado native Sepp Kuss powers through the mud at Strade Bianche

Colorado native Sepp Kuss powers through the mud at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Svein Tuft (Mitchelton-Scott) shows the pain that Strade Bianche delivers

Svein Tuft (Mitchelton-Scott) shows the pain that Strade Bianche delivers (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The peloton makes its way through the mist and mud of the 2018 Strade Bianche

The peloton makes its way through the mist and mud of the 2018 Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) wins the 2018 Strade Bianche

Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) wins the 2018 Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Mechanics wait with spare wheels for riders on the gravel of Strade Bianche

Mechanics wait with spare wheels for riders on the gravel of Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The leaders at Strade Bianche descend a muddy gravel road

The leaders at Strade Bianche descend a muddy gravel road (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Wout Van Aert attacks the Strade Bianche leaders on a gravel climb

Wout Van Aert attacks the Strade Bianche leaders on a gravel climb (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Truis Korsaeth waits for assistance at Strade Bianche

Truis Korsaeth waits for assistance at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Sunweb's Eleonora van Dijk gets some mechanical assistance

Team Sunweb's Eleonora van Dijk gets some mechanical assistance (Image credit: Getty Images)
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 Puck Moonen waits for assistance alongside the route of Strade Bianche

Puck Moonen waits for assistance alongside the route of Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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 Eleonora van Dijk attacks at Strade Bianche

Eleonora van Dijk attacks at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski and Leonardo Basso share during Strade Bianche

Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski and Leonardo Basso share during Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Anna van der Breggen attacks a gravel climb at Strade Bianche

Anna van der Breggen attacks a gravel climb at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gracie Elvin descends through a corner at Strade Bianche

Gracie Elvin descends through a corner at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)

Strade Bianche has quickly become a crowd favourite during its first 12 years on the UCI calendar. Is it the often-muddy conditions on the white gravel roads of Tuscany that draws the fans? Is it the epic finale over the series of gravel climbs leading back to Siena that's responsible for the race's quick ascent in the hearts and imaginations of the cycling public? Or is it the predictably frenetic excitement that only an important one-day race can conjure as the potential winners balance on a thin line of luck, preparation and stubborn resilience?

The 2018 edition of Strade Bianche had all that and more as the inclement weather kicked the drama up several notches. The precipitation caused no shortage of Tuscany's slippery 'white' mud for riders to deal with, and the cold temperatures knocked the fight out of more than a few of the favourites. 

In the end, it was Lotto Soudal's Tiesj Benoot who rode alone into Siena's Piazza del Campo to take the 2018 men's race ahead of Romain Bardet and cyclo-cross star Wout Van Aert. Benoot attacked a select group on a climb between gravel sectors 8 and 9, bridged to Bardet and Van Aert up the road, dropped the duo in the last gravel section and then held them off to win what was an especially nasty edition.

In the women's race earlier in the day, Anna van der Breggen took her first win of the season for Boels Dolmans before going on to finish up her spring with wins at the Tour of Flanders, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria.

The Dutch rider attacked with 2017 Strade Bianche winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) on the penultimate gravel sector and then rode on unabated when Longo Borghini dropped back due to a mechanical. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) took up the chase, but it was too little, too late, and the Polish rider finished as runner-up in Siena for the third consecutive time. Longo Borghini rounded out the podium.

With the 2019 race set to roll out of Siena on Saturday for the 13th edition, we've put together a gallery of the 2018 races to whet your appetites. Swipe or click through the gallery above for a glimpse of the 2018 action.