Strade Bianche – Live coverage
All the action from the first men's WorldTour race of the season restart
1 Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:58:56
2 Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:30
3 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:32
4 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 0:01:31
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:02:55
6 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:03:59
7 Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:04:25
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team 0:04:27
9 Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT Pro Cycling 0:06:47
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:07:45
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- The contenders
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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Strade Bianche. It's the first WorldTour race since the pro cycling season restarted in late July and the peloton is packed with big names in Tuscany.
It's the first hectic day of what will no doubt be many of this packed autumn racing season here at CN Towers, as we bring you full live coverage, race reports and news from both Strade Bianche races as well reporting at the final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos.
Here are the estimated timings for today's action in Italy:
Women's race: 12:00 - 16:00 CEST
Men's race: 13:45 - 18:30 CEST
Peter Sagan heads to the sign-on in Siena
We're about 20 minutes from the start of the race.
2019 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) returns, as do past winners Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos), Tiesj Benoot (Team Sunweb) and Alaphilippe's tteammate Zdenek Štybar.
Other big names on the start list include Sagan, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team), Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
Here's Vincenzo Nibali at the stage start, wearing his team-issue face mask
It's 36°C in Tuscany today. The riders are spending as much time out of the sun as possible before racing gets underway.
We're also running full live coverage of Strade Bianche Women today. The race got underway just under an hour ago. Click here to check it out.
184km to go
The racing is underway!
The riders are off 😍😍 #StradeBianche pic.twitter.com/m83jHdxPKzAugust 1, 2020
176km to go
Riders are trying to get away in the early kilometres.
Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Corne Van Kessel (Circus-Wanty Gobert) are out front at the moment.
The duo only have an advantage of 20 seconds.
Van Kessel has now been caught, leaving Pellaud out front on his own.
Siamo tornati. It feels good to be back.#StradeBianche @eolo_it pic.twitter.com/dehrFOJ5TcAugust 1, 2020
A crash in the peloton saw riders from Mitchelton-Scott, Trek-Segafredo and Israel Start-Up Nation hit the deck. They are all back up and running without problem, though.
164km to go
Five more riders have joined Pellaud at the front of the race.
159km to go
We don't have the full rundown of the break yet, but we do know they've reached the second sterrato sector.
Pellaud is out front with Nicola Bagioli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), Iuri Filosi (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Corné Van Kessel (Circus-Wanty Gobert) and Benjamin Declercq (Arkéa-Samsic).
The group is two minutes up the road as Julian Alaphilippe has a problem in the peloton.
Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere, who famously opposed adding gravel sectors to races such as Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours, has come round on Strade Bianche, he writes in Het Nieuwsblad today.
"I was not a big supporter of this race in the early years. But I learned to love Strade Bianche. What the audience does not see, however, is that adversity lurks around every corner: falls with serious abrasions... But the final has acquired a mythical status.
"I'm not going to deny that the race is important to us. I delivered a few winners anyway – Kwiatkowski, Štybar, Alaphilippe last year. And today we also start with a very strong team. It would be nice if we could start again with the victory. I'd like to pick up the thread again where we had to leave it thanks to [COVID-19]."
150km to go
Sam Bewley (Mitchelton-Scott) has abandoned the race.
The riders hit the third sector of sterrato.
Astana lead the peloton, 1:10 down on the escapees. Their co-leaders Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko finished second and seventh last year.
Vincenzo Nibali had a mechanical problem but now he's back in the peloton, no worries.
139km to go
Pellaud has put in a dig at the front. Bagioli, Pacher and Declercq are chasing. The gap to the peloton is around 45 seconds now.
The leaders are on the fourth sterrato sector now. Pellaud leads solo ahead of the chasers and a minute up on Van Kessel.
60km of racing done, and the riders hit the fifth sterrato sector.
The peloton has let Pellaud and the break go now – they're 2:40 down.
Pellaud is 3:30 up on the peloton and 1:40 up on the chasers.
There's 20km remaining in the women's race, and one rider is going solo.
107km to go
Another sterrato sector for Pellaud, who is now 3:45 up on the peloton.
The chasing trio have now been caught by the peloton with just over 100km to race.
A rather empty – for obvious reasons – Piazza del Campo awaits the riders at the finish in Siena.
Il Campo is waiting for the riders 🇮🇹 @StradeBianche as 🇳🇱 @cornevankessel is still opening the road in the breakaway !#StradeBianche #StradeBianche2020 pic.twitter.com/CiXGa4dUFRAugust 1, 2020
101km to go
Pellaud is 2:15 up on the peloton now.
It's looking like a very dramatic finish in the women's race.
Back in the men's race, the riders pass the 100km to go mark.
Here's a shot of the break from earlier on – Pacher, Pellaud and Declercq. Only Pellaud remains out front now.
95km to go
The peloton is closing in on Pellaud. The gap is 1:10 now.
Over in the women's race, they're tackling the final climb to the finish in Siena. It's looking very empty, spectator-wise, a far cry from the usual scenes of the race finale.
Alaphilippe and Van der Poel have reportedly put in an attack.
The women's race has just finished.
85km to go
Pellaud is almost back with the peloton now. They've really pushed on here.
Elswhere, it's the grand finale of the Vuelta a Burgos as the peloton tackle the climb of Lagunas de Neila.
Van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) are still pushing the pace at the head of the peloton, which lies 25 seconds behind Pellaud.
78km to go
Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) have gone on the attack. Pellaud's solo effort won't last much longer.
Astana and Team Ineos are making the pace at the head of the peloton.
Drama in the peloton as Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) falls. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has suffered a puncture, too.
70km to go
And now there's a larger crash in the peloton. We'll wait to get confirmation of who went down.
Terrible timing for bad luck to strike in the peloton just as the pace hots up ahead of the finale.
Pellaud, Burghardt and Craddock remain 30 seconds in the lead.
Nibali and Alaphilippe both seem to have been involved in that large crash...
Van der Poel is with them after his puncture.
68km to go
Correction: Alaphilippe had punctured. Both he and Van der Poel are back in the peloton now.
The 'peloton' has slimmed down a lot. There are only around 25 riders left now.
A look at the peloton out on the road earlier on
Only four sterrato sectors remain now. The next one, at Monte Sante Marie, is 8.8km long.
The final trio are shorter, at 0.7km, 3.3km, and 2.6km. They'll all come in the final 25km.
Team Sunweb are unlikely to have a presence in the finale, as team leaders Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen abanoned earlier on.
59km to go
Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling) puts in an attack off the front of that lead group. He's solo now.
The ramp on sector 7 was a beast. Step forward @WoutvanAert with a MASSIVE effort!An average of 520W over 1min 36 sec, on an 8.5% average gradient. That's helped to thin the field out further...________🇮🇹 #StradeBianche @JumboVismaRoad pic.twitter.com/Qm4nHd9TDxAugust 1, 2020
54km to go
Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott) and Michael Gogl (NTT Pro Cycling) are also off the front of the main group. The quartet are chasing Clarke as they hit the 8.8km sterrato sector of Monte Sante Marie.
The four chasers have caught Clarke now. They're 20 seconds up on the peloton.
The groups have merged together again on that gravel section. Jakob Fuglsang pushes on at the front.
Alaphilippe is off the back.
A rough rundown of the lead group – Davide Formolo, Jakob Fuglsang, Wout Van Aert, Alberto Bettiol, Greg Van Avermaet, Max Schachmann, Michael Gogl, Michał Kwiatkowski
Van der Poel and Alaphilippe were in trouble on that incline. Fuglsang leads the way down the descent. He yells at the moto camera, which has been kicking up dust clouds in front of the riders, as he passes by.
49km to go
Just the eight men out front now, seven of them chasing Fuglsang on the sterrato.
Max Schachmann slips out of the pedals at the side of the road. He and Gogl are at the back of the seven-man chase group.
Kwiatkowski slips back as the road heads uphill. That chase group is thinning out kilometre by kilometre.
47km to go
Schachmann, Van Avermaet, Van Aert, Bettiol and Formolo remain in the chase now.
The group aree making headway into Fuglsang's lead. It's 15 seconds at the moment.
Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel chasing back after their punctures. They're out of contention for now.
41km to go
The chase group have caught Fuglsang now. Time for some (relative) respite now, as the group hits the tarmac.
Time for riders to take drinks from their team cars now.
A reminder of the lead group: Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team), Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The chasing group is reported at 1:50 down. It's unclear whether that's the next group on the road or not, though.
It does seem like that is the time gap to the next group!
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Zdenk Śtybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Brent Bookwalter (Mitchelton-Scott) and Michaeel Gogl (NTT Pro Cycling) are in there.
36km to go
The chase group is 1:35 down now. The leading sextet are still all together.
Formolo is the Italian national champion and finished second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year. Fuglsang won that race and finished second at Strade Bianche earlier in the spring.
Schachmann completed the podium at Liège, and earlier this year won Paris-Nice. Van Aert sprinted to a stage win at the Tour last year and has two Strade Bianche podiums to his name.
Bettiol won the 2019 Tour of Flanders. Van Avermaet is a Paris-Roubaix and Olympic champion, and has finished second here on two occasions.
The leaders are rotating and working well together. They're losing a few seconds to the chasers but with 1:30 in hand and 31km to race it'd be a shock if they didn't contest the finish between them.
The chase group continue to gradually close in. The gap is 1:15 now, so a 15-second gain in 3km if the GPS is to be believed.
26km to go
2km to go until the leaders hit the next sterrato sector, which is 0.7km in length.
Vincenzo Nibali has abandoned the race. He was suffering from a pain in his left hand after his crash.
23km to go
The leaders hit the short but rough sterrato sector. Still all together.
The chasing group have closed in further – they're 55 seconds down now.
Štybar is leading the chasing trio.
22km to go
There was no action on that sterrato sector. Another sector at Colle Pinzuto follows in 2km. The chasers remain 52 seconds down.
Max Schachmann goes for it on the tarmac! Van Aert is quickly on his wheel.
The German was at the rear of the group, catching all but Van Aert by surprise.
19km to go
The leaders hit Colle Pinzuto, the 3.4km sterrato sector. Schachmann and Van Aert are ten seconds up the road. The Štybar group is a minute down.
Van Avermaet has been dropped from the lead group.
Fuglsang, Formolo and Bettiol make it up to the attacking duo. Bettiol immediately has a go off the front.
17km to go
Five up front now then – Formolo, Fuglsang, Bettiol, Van Aert and Schachmann. 1:10 back to Štybar and co.
The Štybar group is now just Zdenek Štybar as the Czech rider has gone solo.
Štybar is with Van Avermaet now. They're 1:15 down. The finish will be contested between the lead quintet.
13km to go
The leaders enter Le Tolfe, the final sterrato sector.
Van Aert attacks!
He quickly gets a nice gap. Bettiol attempts a chase.
12km to go
The leaders exit the sterrato. Van Aert in front.
There are a few lumps and rises to go but the main obstacle between them and finish is the steep climb into the centre of Siena.
11km to go
Seven seconds between Van Aert and the chasers.
9km to go
It's just Schachmann, Formolo and Bettiol chasing now. Fuglsang was dropped.
8km to go
Van Aert is 14 seconds up on the chasers. Schachmann gives it a go behind as Bettiol struggles.
Now it's Formolo and Shachmann making the chase. They're 10 seconds down.
7km to go
Victory will be decided between Van Aert, Schachmann and Formolo in the finale. Here's a look at the run to Siena.
6km to go
The gap is still 10 seconds. The pair can see Van Aert just up the road.
5km to go
The gap isn't really moving, just fluctuating between 9 and 12 seconds.
4km to go
15 seconds now. It's swinging in Van Aert's favour.
3km to go
The gap is only increasing. If Van Aert can avoid a repeat of his 2018 finale – where he cramped on the climb up into Siena – he should hang on and take this.
2km to go
Van Aert making his big attack. Will he hold on to see it to the finish?
Van Aert is heading uphill now. 30 seconds between him and the Schachmann-Formolo chase group.
1km to go
Under the flamme rouge for Van Aert.
Van Aert hits the narrow, final climb between the terraced houses.
It's in the bag for Van Aert now. He's over the top and riding towards the finish. Who will take second, though?
We're neaering five hours of action now. 250 metres to go for Wout Van Aert.
Wout Van Aert wins Strade Bianche!
Formolo is leading Schachmann through the streets.
The Italian champion beats the German champion to the line, arounud 32 seconds down on Van Aert. There's your final podium.
Van Aert sits against the barrier, pouring water over himself and smiling. He took two third places here in the past, but this time he's moved up two steps on the podium.
Alberto Bettiol takes fourth, just over 1:30 down.
Here's Van Aert taking the win
Jakob Fuglsang takes fifth place.
I don't think ten riders have finished yet. Van Aert finished almost 7 minutes ago. What a brutal race.
Here's what Van Aert had to say after the finish:
"If you get two third places in a row, of course you have confidence to come here. Today was one long day of suffering and nobody felt that great. The heat was exhausting but I really focussed on hydration and keeping cool and, in the end, I got something left.
"Maybe there was not really a guy that I had to be afraid of in the last uphill but I think the attack is always the best offence. I knew from the previous edition that attacking is never a disadvantage here and I started attacking in a downhill and came with a little advantage on the steep part. From there, it was a man-to-man fight and it worked.
"I think the victory in the Tour de France was really big but victory at Strade Bianche is one of the nicest one-day races on the calendar. I really fell in love with this race two years ago and it was my goal to win. I’m 25 and I’ve already done it. I’m really happy."
Our man on the scene, Stephen Farrand, took this shot of Van Aert celebrating shortly after taking the win today.
Here's the top ten. A full 7:45 between first and tenth... Brutal.
Our brief report is up already. Keep checking back for our full race report, along with a photo gallery of all the action and full results.
Our reports on today's other races – Strade Bianche Women, stage 5 of the Vuelta a Burgos, and the opener at the Route d'Occitanie – are up now, too.
Van Aert, Formolo and Schachmann on the final podium today
That's all from us today. It was a hectic one, with four major races and three different live minute-by-minute reports from us.
You can look forward to more of the same throughout this rescheduled autumn season, so keep coming back to get all the latest news, reports and interviews for the 2020 season.
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