Annemiek van Vleuten continues winning streak with Strade Bianche victory

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) has won her second consecutive Strade Bianche, continuing her winning streak after the re-start of the women's cycling season. 

The world champion bridged from the peloton to a chasing group on the penultimate gravel sector and went on a solo chase of Margarita Victoria García (Alé BTC Ljubljana) who had attacked 45km from the finish. 

Van Vleuten caught the Spaniard with seven kilometres to go and dropped her on the Via Santa Caterina, taking a solo win on the Piazza del Campo. Leah Thomas (Équipe Paule Ka) rounded out the podium almost two minutes later.

“My teammate Amanda Spratt did an awesome job to be in the break, so I had an easy day”, Van Vleuten said after the finish. “I actually thought the race was over and that she would win from that group. Then suddenly Mavi García was away, she is a really strong rider, it was beautiful for the race, and I had to go full in that attack. The Piazza del Campo is the most beautiful finish for me to win, so it was an emotional victory.”

The heat of 36°C and more did not impede the world champion: “I try to think the other way around”, Van Vleuten explained. “Everything that is hard is good for me because it is also hard for my opponents. I love the heat, and all the other girls will suffer even more.”

How it unfolded

The first UCI Women’s WorldTour race after the COVID-19 racing break saw 122 riders take to the start of the 136-kilometre race, with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv), Ella Harris (Canyon-SRAM), and Clara Koppenburg (Ceratizit-WNT) non-starters after training crashes the day before.

Eight sectors with a total 31.6 kilometres of gravel Strade Bianche and scorching August heat made for an extremely hard race. After a few short-lived breaks, the peloton split halfway through the race on the fifth and longest gravel sector, but things rolled back together again, leading to a peloton of around 40 riders.

Eleven riders attacked just before the 50-kilometre mark. Spratt, García, Rasa Leleivyte (Aromitalia Vaiano), Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans), Omer Shapira (Canyon-SRAM), Soraya Paladin (CCC-Liv), Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT), Thomas, Stine Borgli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), and Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service) soon had a 30-second advantage as most big teams were represented in the group.

Only a few minutes later, García took her heart in both hands and went on a long solo ride, building a gap of more than three minutes on the chase group and over five minutes on the peloton. But the heat took its toll on the 36-year-old Spaniard, and she was visibly struggling on the steep slopes of the last gravel sectors, Colle Pinzuto and Le Tolfe, in the final 20 kilometres.

It was on Colle Pinzuto that Van Vleuten made her move, bridging to the chase group. After a final turn by her teammate Spratt, the world champion led the chase ever closer to García. Entering the Le Tolfe sector 1:35 minutes behind the leader, Van Vleuten dropped her remaining companions and continued to chase García on her own.

Though García tried to hold on, she was caught eventually. Staying on Van Vleuten’s wheel, García tried to anticipate the inevitable attack on the steep final kilometre but had no response to Van Vleuten’s winning move.

Leah Thomas had gone solo from the chase group in the last ten kilometres and just stayed ahead of the surging favourites, Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), and Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv). Liane Lippert, winner of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race back in February, was the best U23 rider in 16th place, defending her lead in the UCI Women’s WorldTour overall and U23 classifications.


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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott Women 4:03:54
2Margarita Victoria Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:00:02
3Leah Thomas (USA) Equipe Paule Ka 0:01:53
4Anna Van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:02:05
5Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:02:11
6Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:02:26
7Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:02:40
8Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro 0:03:26
9Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:04:20
10Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:05:20
11Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano 0:05:21
12Mikayla Harvey (NZl) Equipe Paule Ka
13Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women 0:05:55
14Eugenia Bujak (Slo) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:06:02
15Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) Ceratizit-WNT Pro 0:06:23
16Liane Lippert (Ger) Team Sunweb Women 0:06:27
17Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:06:43
18Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:06:59
19Omer Shapira (Isr) Canyon-Sram Racing 0:07:08
20Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:08:06
21Katia Ragusa (Ita) Astana Women's Team 0:08:07
22Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro 0:08:16
23Vania Canvelli (Ita) Bepink 0:08:18
24Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:08:24
25Eider Merino Cortazar (Spa) Movistar Team Women 0:08:28
26Elise Chabbey (Swi) Equipe Paule Ka 0:08:32
27Diana Carolina Peñuela Martinez (Col) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:08:35
28Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-Sram Racing 0:08:45
29Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
30Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:09:28
31Letizia Borghesi (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano 0:09:34
32Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:09:55
33Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:10:28
34Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
35Soraya Paladin (Ita) CCC-Liv 0:11:03
36Elena Pirrone (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:11:36
37Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:11:49
38Franziska Koch (Ger) Team Sunweb Women 0:13:17
39Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-Sram Racing
40Elizabeth Banks (GBr) Equipe Paule Ka
41Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:13:47
42Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:14:26
43Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women 0:17:52
44Evita Muzic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:19:09
45Giorgia Catarzi (Ita) Bepink 0:19:30
OTLAbby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Lotto Soudal Ladies
OTLJelena Eric (Srb) Movistar Team Women
OTLNiamh Fisher-Black (NZl) Equipe Paule Ka
OTLLaura Tomasi (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
OTLDebora Silvestri (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
OTLChristine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
OTLCarmela Cipriani (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano
OTLArianna Fidanza (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies
OTLKarlijn Swinkels (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
OTLLeah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women
OTLRomy Kasper (Ger) Parkhotel Valkenburg
OTLFrancesca Pisciali (Ita) Eurotarget-Bianchi-Vittoria
OTLMarkéta Hájková (Cze) Bepink
DNFJessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women
DNFMoniek Tenniglo (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott Women
DNFGeorgia Williams (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott Women
DNFAnna Trevisi (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
DNFEri Yonamine (Jpn) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
DNFAngelica Brogi (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano
DNFAnastasia Carbonari (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano
DNFSofia Collinelli (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano
DNFMaryna Ivaniuk (Ukr) Astana Women's Team
DNFFrancesca Pattaro (Ita) Astana Women's Team
DNFOlga Shekel (Ukr) Astana Women's Team
DNFValentina Landuzzi (Ita) Bepink
DNFMelissa Van Neck (Cze) Bepink
DNFSilvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink
DNFEva Buurman (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
DNFLonneke Uneken (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
DNFElena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-Sram Racing
DNFKatarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-Sram Racing
DNFSofia Bertizzolo (Ita) CCC-Liv
DNFErica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro
DNFSarah Rijkes (Aut) Ceratizit-WNT Pro
DNFLea Lin Teutenberg (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro

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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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