Van Vleuten wins women's Strade Bianche

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) ended the 2018 season with a fractured knee cap but confirmed she is already back to her best with a solo victory at Strade Bianche, the first race of the UCI Women's WorldTour, on Saturday.

The time trial world champion attacked alone on the final, steep section of dirt road and time trialled to victory as her rivals hesitated in their chase.

She opened a 45-second lead and held it on the steep final climb of Via Santa Caterina up to central Siena, celebrating her solo win in the Piazza il Campo. Annika Langvad (Boels Dolmans) finished second at 37 seconds, with Katarzyna Niewiadoma Canyon-SRAM third at 40 seconds.

World champion Anna van der Breggen was distanced from the big-name group that tried to chase van Vleuten on the final climb and finished ninth at 1:28.

125 riders from 21 teams set out on the 136km course starting and finishing in Siena. The main difficulties were the eight sectors of the gravel roads that gave the race its name. Ranging in length from 800 metres to 9.5km, a total of 31.6km were to be raced on the eponymous strade bianche.

A first break of four riders formed after 16km, but they were caught again on the second gravel sector.

Team Sunweb and CCC-Liv took charge of the peloton early in the race. On the fourth sector, the peloton split for the first time, but came back together on the asphalt. It was on sector five, the longest at 9.5km and starting with 67.5km to go, that the race started in earnest. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) had to chase back after a puncture, and Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) crashed and had to abandon the race.

Several attacks led to splits in the peloton but, in the end, a group of about 35 riders left the sector together, with additional riders coming back from behind. There were 25 kilometres to the sixth sector - but this didn't stop riders from attacking. A group of 12 briefly got clear and, although their attack did not last long, another split led to a front group of 23 riders.

A move by Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans), Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Jeanne Korevaar (CCC-Liv), Julie van de Velde (Lotto Soudal Ladies), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), and Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) built a gap of 24 seconds before being reeled in with 33km to go.

The next attack came from Canuel, Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM), and Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo). The trio was caught on the sixth gravel sector, and then a group of 11 went clear on the seventh sector ending with 17km to go. The race would be decided between world champion Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Langvad (all Boels Dolmans), Ludwig, Niewiadoma, Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv), Van Vleuten, Janneke Ensing (Team Sunweb), Marta Bastianelli (Team Virtu Cycling), and Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo).

Those 11 traded attacks continuously, though nobody would get a gap until Blaak and Ensing made a move with 13.5km to go, just before the start of the final gravel sector. Blaak left Ensing behind but faltered on the 18 per cent climb and was caught by Van Vleuten, who continued on her own. Vos and Niewiadoma tried to follow the Dutchwoman but could not close the gap.

Showing why she is the reigning ITT world champion, Van Vleuten added to her advantage on the following kilometres and could enter the final kilometre 46 seconds ahead of the chase group. In the end, she could celebrate on the Piazza del Campo as she soloed to victory just over five months after fracturing her knee in the Innsbruck World Championships Road Race.

Further behind, nine riders came onto the final climb up the steep Via Santa Caterina together. After a strong surge by Niewiadoma, it was Langvad who reached the corner at the top first and finished second in her first-ever Women's WorldTour race. The Polish rider rounded out the podium.

With her win, Van Vleuten takes the lead in the UCI Women's WorldTour ranking, picking up where she left off after having won the classification in 2018.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton Scott3:48:49
2Annika Langvad (Den) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:00:37
3Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-Sram Racing0:00:40
4Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Team Virtu Cycling0:00:44
5Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) BiglaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Ccc-Liv0:00:51
7Marianne Vos (Ned) Ccc-Liv0:00:52
8Janneke Ensing (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:54
9Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:01:28
10Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:01:50
11Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:02:50
12Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Bepink0:03:33
13Eri Yonamine (Jpn) Ale CipolliniRow 12 - Cell 2
14Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini0:03:35
15Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women0:03:36
16Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 15 - Cell 2
17Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla0:03:38
18Shara Gillow (Aus) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope0:03:39
19Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Ccc-Liv0:03:41
20Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 19 - Cell 2
21Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-Sram Racing0:03:44
22Julie Van De Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 21 - Cell 2
23Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Wnt Rotor Pro Cycling TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Anastasiia Chursina (Rus) Btc City Ljubljana0:03:47
25Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton Scott0:03:50
26Michela Balducci (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-VaianoRow 25 - Cell 2
27Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano0:03:53
28Claudia Koster (Ned) Wnt Rotor Pro Cycling Team0:04:08
29Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb0:04:17
30Rachel Neylan (Aus) Team Virtu Cycling0:04:19
31Anouska Koster (Ned) Team Virtu Cycling0:04:34
32Romy Kasper (Ger) Ale Cipollini0:04:45
33Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar Team WomenRow 32 - Cell 2
34Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:04:49
35Jip Van Den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:04:58
36Evita Muzic (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope0:05:19
37Tayler Wiles (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:05:22
38Liane Lippert (Ger) Team SunwebRow 37 - Cell 2
39Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-Sram RacingRow 38 - Cell 2
40Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar Cylance Cycling0:06:22
41Riejanne Markus (Ned) Ccc-Liv0:07:30
42Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-Sram RacingRow 41 - Cell 2
43Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-Sram Racing0:09:33
44Paulien Rooijakkers (Ned) Ccc-Liv0:09:36
45Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Movistar Team Women0:09:41
46Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Wnt Rotor Pro Cycling Team0:10:08
47Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 46 - Cell 2
48Elise Chabbey (Swi) Bigla0:11:59
49Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Team Virtu Cycling0:12:55
50Juliette Labous (Fra) Team SunwebRow 49 - Cell 2
51Katia Ragusa (Ita) Bepink0:13:00
52Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton ScottRow 51 - Cell 2
53Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team SunwebRow 52 - Cell 2
54Eugenia Bujak (Slo) Btc City Ljubljana0:13:04
55Lara Vieceli (Ita) Wnt Rotor Pro Cycling Team0:13:05
56Sofia Beggin (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano0:13:20
57Jessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton ScottRow 56 - Cell 2
58Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Team Virtu Cycling0:13:46
59Greta Richioud (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope0:15:00
60Coryn Rivera (USA) Team SunwebRow 59 - Cell 2
OTLDiana Carolina Peñuela Martinez (Col) Ale CipolliniRow 60 - Cell 2
OTLDanielle Christmas (GBr) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 61 - Cell 2
OTLVictorie Guilman (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 62 - Cell 2
OTLPaula Andrea Patiño Bedoya (Col) Movistar Team WomenRow 63 - Cell 2
OTLSara Penton (Swe) Team Virtu CyclingRow 64 - Cell 2
OTLAgnieszka Skalniak (Pol) Ccc-LivRow 65 - Cell 2
OTLMikayla Harvey (NZl) BiglaRow 66 - Cell 2
OTLDebora Silvestri (Ita) Eurotarget-Bianchi-VittoriaRow 67 - Cell 2
OTLAnna Potokina (Rus) Servetto-Piumate-Beltrami TsaRow 68 - Cell 2
OTLJelena Eric (Srb) Ale CipolliniRow 69 - Cell 2
OTLHannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-Sram RacingRow 70 - Cell 2
OTLMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) BiglaRow 71 - Cell 2
OTLAnnelies Dom (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 72 - Cell 2
OTLGloria Rodriguez Sanchez (Spa) Movistar Team WomenRow 73 - Cell 2
OTLLourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spa) Movistar Team WomenRow 74 - Cell 2
OTLChristine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 75 - Cell 2
OTLRozanne Slik (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 76 - Cell 2
OTLGreta Marturano (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 77 - Cell 2
OTLLaura Tomasi (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 78 - Cell 2
OTLAnna Plichta (Pol) Trek-SegafredoRow 79 - Cell 2
OTLLauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-SegafredoRow 80 - Cell 2
OTLNicole Hanselmann (Swi) BiglaRow 81 - Cell 2
OTLLetizia Borghesi (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-VaianoRow 82 - Cell 2
DNFGeorgia Williams (NZl) Mitchelton ScottRow 83 - Cell 2
DNFNadia Quagliotto (Ita) Ale CipolliniRow 84 - Cell 2
DNFCarmela Cipriani (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-VaianoRow 85 - Cell 2
DNFGiulia Marchesini (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-VaianoRow 86 - Cell 2
DNFTereza Medvedova (Svk) BepinkRow 87 - Cell 2
DNFChiara Perini (Ita) BepinkRow 88 - Cell 2
DNFSilvia Zanardi (Ita) BepinkRow 89 - Cell 2
DNFVania Canvelli (Ita) BepinkRow 90 - Cell 2
DNFHanna Nilsson (Swe) Btc City LjubljanaRow 91 - Cell 2
DNFMaaike Boogaard (Ned) Btc City LjubljanaRow 92 - Cell 2
DNFUrška Žigart (Slo) Btc City LjubljanaRow 93 - Cell 2
DNFAnja Longyka (Slo) Btc City LjubljanaRow 94 - Cell 2
DNFElena Franchi (Ita) Eurotarget-Bianchi-VittoriaRow 95 - Cell 2
DNFAlice Gasparini (Ita) Eurotarget-Bianchi-VittoriaRow 96 - Cell 2
DNFLisa Morzenti (Ita) Eurotarget-Bianchi-VittoriaRow 97 - Cell 2
DNFBeatrice Rossato (Ita) Eurotarget-Bianchi-VittoriaRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFCharlotte Bravard (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFMaëlle Grossetete (Fra) Fdj Nouvelle-Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFDemi De Jong (Ned) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFMarie Dessart (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFPuck Moonen (Ned) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFAmanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton ScottRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFSara Casasola (Ita) Servetto-Piumate-Beltrami TsaRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFMarkéta Hájková (Cze) Servetto-Piumate-Beltrami TsaRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFKseniia Dobrynina (Rus) Servetto-Piumate-Beltrami TsaRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFMónika Király (Hun) Servetto-Piumate-Beltrami TsaRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFYevgeniya Vysotska (Ukr) Servetto-Piumate-Beltrami TsaRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFIngrid Drexel Clouthier (Mex) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFNina Kessler (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFKendall Ryan (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFElisa Dalla Valle (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFElena Leonardi (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFMaja Perinovic (Cro) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFMartina Stefani (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFMaria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar Cylance CyclingRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFVittoria Guazzini (Ita) Valcar Cylance CyclingRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFAsja Paladin (Ita) Valcar Cylance CyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFSilvia Persico (Ita) Valcar Cylance CyclingRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFIlaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar Cylance CyclingRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFGabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Can) Wnt Rotor Pro Cycling TeamRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFSarah Rijkes (Aut) Wnt Rotor Pro Cycling TeamRow 123 - 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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