Anna van der Breggen wins Strade Bianche in heroic solo

Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) started her 2018 race programme with a cagey victory in Strade Bianche. She and last year's winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) attacked on the penultimate gravel sector, and when Longo Borghini dropped back due to a mechanical, Van der Breggen continued unabated. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) took up the chase, but it was too little too late, and the Pole finished as runner-up in Siena for the third time in a row. Longo Borghini rounded out the podium.

After a week with snow and temperatures below zero, the temperatures climbed above the freezing point on race day. Just before the neutral start, the rain began to come down and didn't stop for the whole 136km race turning the eight sectors' 31.6km of white roads of Tuscany into a brownish mixture of gravel, slush and water.

Mayuko Hagiwara (Alé-Cipollini), Sara Penton (Team Virtu Cycling), and Katia Ragusa (BePink) attacked early. After Hagiwara lost contact with the other two on the first gravel sector, the gap to the peloton stood at 1:17 minutes. This dropped again on the following sector, and the front duo was caught by the peloton after 39 km.

After the feed zone with around 75km to the finish, the star-studded Boels Dolmans team led the race onto sector five, the longest gravel sector at 9.5km. Here, Elisa Longo Borghini suffered a puncture which forced her to chase back on for a while after getting a spare wheel from a teammate. Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) put in an attack and got a small gap, she was soon joined by World Champion Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) and Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb).

This trio kept a gap of around 40 seconds throughout a 34km stretch with no gravel but was eventually caught by what was left of the peloton just after sector six. With 22km and two short but steeply-climbing gravel sectors to go, around 25 riders remained in contention.

Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini attacked into the seventh gravel sector, Colle Pinzuto, closely followed by Van der Breggen. At the end of the sector, it was Van der Breggen and Longo Borghini who opened up a gap of maybe 20 seconds. With 17km to the finish, Longo Borghini got something stuck in her wheel, leaving her unable to follow Van der Breggen.

On the final gravel sector of Le Tolfe, Niewiadoma went solo from the eight-strong chase group in an attempt to reach the front, but Van der Breggen paced herself well. At the 10-kilometre mark, she was a minute ahead of Niewiadoma who had caught Longo Borghini. The Dutchwoman held this advantage into Siena where she could celebrate victory on the Piazza del Campo. Niewiadoma left Longo Borghini behind on the final kilometre to take second place.

With this victory, Anna van der Breggen takes the lead in the 2018 Women's WorldTour, a classification that she already won in 2017.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam4:10:48
2Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM Racing0:00:49
3Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High50:00:59
4Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:01:32
5Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton Scott WomenRow 4 - Cell 2
6Janneke Ensing (Ned) Ale Cipollini0:01:37
7Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton Scott Women0:01:41
8Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:02:25
9Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:02:36
10Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:02:50
11Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale Cipollini0:04:10
12Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Hitec Products-Birk SportRow 12 - Cell 2
14Angelica Brogi (Ita) Aromitalia Vaiano0:04:14
15Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM RacingRow 14 - Cell 2
16Liane Lippert (Ger) Team Sunweb Women0:04:16
17Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:04:22
18Georgia Williams (NZl) Mitchelton Scott Women0:04:24
19Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM Racing0:04:26
20Alicia Gonzalez (Spa) Movistar Team Women0:04:28
21Riejanne Markus (Ned) Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team0:04:31
22Abby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Trek-Drops0:04:37
23Anouska Koster (Ned) Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team0:04:40
24Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team0:04:43
25Rachel Neylan (Aus) Movistar Team Women0:06:32
26Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini0:07:21
27Tayler Wiles (USA) Trek-Drops0:07:31
28Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana0:07:42
29Ruth Winder (USA) Team Sunweb Women0:08:01
30Rozanne Slik (Ned) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope0:08:20
31Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:10:47
32Lourdes Oyarbide (Spa) Movistar Team WomenRow 31 - Cell 2
33Juliette Labous (Fra) Team Sunweb WomenRow 32 - Cell 2
34Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women0:10:54
35Lotta Pauliina Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:11:00
36Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:11:35
37Erica Magnaldi (Ita) BePink0:11:50
38Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:11:56
39Julie Van De Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies0:12:48
40Eva Buurman (Ned) Trek-Drops0:12:51
41Victorie Guilman (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling0:12:56
43Elizabeth Holden (GBr) Trek-DropsRow 42 - Cell 2
44Jip van den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:12:59
45Eri Yonamine (Jpn) Wiggle High50:13:01
46Martina Ritter (Aut) Wiggle High50:13:03
47Vita Heine (Nor) Hitec Products-Birk SportRow 46 - Cell 2
48Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Canyon-SRAM Racing0:13:08
49Ann-Sophie Duyck (Bel) Cervelo - Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:13:10
50Christina Malling Siggaard (Den) Team Virtu CyclingRow 49 - Cell 2
51Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM Racing0:13:22
52Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar Team Women0:13:51
53Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women's Team0:15:45
54Natalya Saifutdinova (Kaz) Astana Women's Team0:15:50
55Demi de Jong (Ned) Lotto Soudal Ladies0:15:53
56Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar PBM0:18:40
57Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton Scott WomenRow 56 - Cell 2
58Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton Scott Women0:18:43
59Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle High50:18:49
OTLBarbara Guarischi (Ita) Team Virtu Cycling0:24:12
OTLPaulien Rooijakkers (Ned) Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team0:24:55
OTLKatia Ragusa (Ita) BePink0:25:42
OTLLija Laizane (Lat) Aromitalia Vaiano0:25:51
OTLNicole d'Agostin (Ita) Still Bike Team A.S.DilettantisticaRow 63 - Cell 2
OTLSofia Beggin (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
OTLMichela Balducci (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 65 - Cell 2
OTLFrancesca Pisciali (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 66 - Cell 2
OTLMarta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar PBMRow 67 - Cell 2
OTLYevgeniya Vysotska (Ukr) S.C. Michela FaniniRow 68 - Cell 2
OTLAnna Ceoloni (Ita) SC Michela Fanini0:25:55
OTLShara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope0:26:06
OTLAnastasiia Iakovenko (Rus) BTC City Ljubljana0:26:17
OTLSara Penton (Swe) Team Virtu Cycling0:26:45
OTLThea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products-Birk SportRow 73 - Cell 2
OTLSusanne Andersen (Nor) Hitec Products-Birk SportRow 74 - Cell 2
OTLUrska Zigart (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana0:31:27
DNSMarta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 76 - Cell 2
DNFAudrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle High5Row 77 - Cell 2
DNFJulie Leth (Den) Wiggle High5Row 78 - Cell 2
DNFMayuko Hagiwara (Jpn) Ale CipolliniRow 79 - Cell 2
DNFKarlijn Swinkels (Ned) Ale CipolliniRow 80 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Trevisi (Ita) Ale CipolliniRow 81 - Cell 2
DNFRasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Aromitalia VaianoRow 82 - Cell 2
DNFGiulia Marchesini (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 83 - Cell 2
DNFNicole Nesti (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 84 - Cell 2
DNFSofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
DNFJeydy Pradera Bernal (Cub) Astana Women's TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
DNFLara Vieceli (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
DNFFrancesca Pattaro (Ita) BePinkRow 88 - Cell 2
DNFLisa Morzenti (Ita) BePinkRow 89 - Cell 2
DNFNikola Nosková (Cze) BePinkRow 90 - Cell 2
DNFMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) BePinkRow 91 - Cell 2
DNFPolona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 92 - Cell 2
DNFUrska Pintar (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 93 - Cell 2
DNFHanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City LjubljanaRow 94 - Cell 2
DNFTiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM RacingRow 95 - Cell 2
DNFGiorgia Bronzini (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 96 - Cell 2
DNFSheyla Gutierrez (Spa) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 97 - Cell 2
DNFOmer Shapira (Isr) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFLauren Stephens (USA) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFGloria Manzoni (Ita) Still Bike Team A.S.DilettantisticaRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFDebora Silvestri (Ita) Still Bike Team A.S.DilettantisticaRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFAlice Gasparini (Ita) Still Bike Team A.S.DilettantisticaRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFAna Maria Covrig (Rom) Eurotarget-Bianchi-VitasanaRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFEugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFLauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFGreta Richioud (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFIngrid Moe (Nor) Hitec Products-Birk SportRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFCamilla Møllebro (Den) Hitec Products-Birk SportRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFPuck Moonen (Ned) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFKelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFJenelle Crooks (Aus) Mitchelton Scott WomenRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFAlba Teruel (Spa) Movistar Team WomenRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFFrancesca Balducci (Ita) SC Michela FaniniRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFLilibeth Chacon (Ven) SC Michela FaniniRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFMónika Király (Hun) SC Michela FaniniRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFOlga Shekel (Ukr) SC Michela FaniniRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFArgiro Milaki (Gre) Servetto - Stradalli Cycle - AlurecyclingRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFKatja Jeretina (Slo) Servetto-Stradalli Cycle-AlurecyclingRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFRosalia Ortiz (Spa) Servetto-Stradalli Cycle-AlurecyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Potokina (Rus) Servetto-Stradalli Cycle-AlurecyclingRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFPaula Sanmartin (Spa) Servetto-Stradalli Cycle-AlurecyclingRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFSara Casasola (Ita) Servetto-Stradalli Cycle-AlurecyclingRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFCoryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb WomenRow 123 - Cell 2
DNFKatrine Aalerud (Nor) Team Virtu CyclingRow 124 - Cell 2
DNFClaudia Koster (Ned) Team Virtu CyclingRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFDoris Schweizer (Swi) Team Virtu CyclingRow 126 - Cell 2
DNFLaura Tomasi (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 127 - Cell 2
DNFVania Canvelli (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 128 - Cell 2
DNFChiara Perini (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFNadia Quagliotto (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 130 - Cell 2
DNFBeatrice Rossato (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFAbigail Van Twisk (GBr) Trek-DropsRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFChiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar PBMRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFIlaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar PBMRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFAlessia Vigilia (Ita) Valcar PBMRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFChiara Zanettin (Ita) Valcar PBMRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFMonique van de Ree (Ned) Waowdeals Pro Cycling TeamRow 137 - Cell 2

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

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