When the dust settled on the final gravel sector of the 2016 Strade Bianche, there were four men left at the head of the race, and two were from Etixx-Quickstep. Defending champion Zdenek Stybar had his teammate Gianluca Brambilla, who had been part of an earlier breakaway, and that should have been enough to give him the advantage over two-time champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).
On paper, Brambilla's heroic attack in the closing kilometers would have allowed Stybar to force Cancellara and Sagan to chase, the team would have been happy for the young Italian to stay clear to win - and he very nearly did.
Cancellara's powerful surge on the final climb not only wiped out Brambilla's lead, it also kept Stybar from getting to the front at the final bend and gave the Czech no time to pass in the final 100 meters.
Win number four for Cancellara shows that even though he's in his final season as a professional racer, he has not lost any of his strength.
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