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Strade Bianche Women - Live coverage

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Good morning and welcome to live coverage of Strade Bianche women. The riders will be setting off on Italy's dusty white roads in a little under half an hour. 

Before the riders do set out from Siena, why not take a look through our preview here.

We've had a few races this year so far, despite coronavirus doing its best to scupper the calendar, but this is the first Women's WorldTour event of the season. It should have been the Cadel Evans Road Race, but coronavirus... Here's hoping we see the race happening next year. 

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Annemiek van Vleuten is the defending champion today. Who can forget her stunning chase down of Mavi Garcia? Will she be able to repeat her success in Siena? She's had just one race so far this season, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. 

There was some talk that there might be some rain today but, at the moment, it is dry and a little bit warm. 

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Sign on is complete in Siena and we can expect the riders to depart shortly. 

The winner of today's race will also take home a hefty prize pot after a crowdfunding campaign was launched to give the women the same prize money as the men. After the campaign raised 22,000 euros, the women will actually be taking home more than the men. Read more about it here.

The riders have passed through the short neutralized section within Siena and reached the city borders. Let the racing begin. 

Of course, Van Vleuten is not just the defending champion here. She is the two-time defending champion after winning the last two editions. In fact, she is the only rider to have won this race twice, let alone in consecutive years. 

An early mechanical problem for Maria Giulia Confalnieri but she is sorted and back on her way. 

If you are considering tackling some gravel roads yourself, why not check out BikePerfect's list of best bikes for the gravel.

Mavi Garcia made a big impression on the race last year, this is what she had to say to the race website ahead of the start. "It was almost my best result of last season, and now I remember it and I think it’s not easy to do it. although, while you’re doing it, you make the most of it. I always want to try [to win]. It’s hard, it’s very long, but I’ll always try. There are no secret [to winning]. You need legs and a good head, and that’s it.”

132km to go

The women have about 31km of gravel roads to battle with today. The first of those comes up in the not too distant future, after 17km of racing. 

Strade Bianche Women

The peloton is still all together as they approach the first gravel road (Image credit: RCS)

The first gravel sector is 2.1km long and heads slightly downhill. It's long but one of the easier sectors that the riders will face today. 

Despite being the two-time defending champion, Van Vleuten says she is not focusing on a third consecutive title. This is what she had to say this morning to the official race website. 

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The riders will have just over five kilometres between the end of the first and the beginning of the second gravel sector. The second sector is one of the longest of the day at 5.8km. 

We're following the women's race right now, but did you also know that there is a men's race today? It's nice that the women's races also allow men's races. Mountainbiker Ben Zwiehoff will be hoping his skills will help him today as he is riding in the men's race. Read more about it here.

Some unfortunate news from the BikeExchange team as Georgia Williams steps off the bike. It's unclear at the moment why she abandoned. 

109km to go

BikeExchange may have lost Georgia Williams but they still have Amanda Spratt, along with Lucy Kennedy and Ane Santestaban in their line-up today. This is what Spratt had to say ahead of the start.

Mackaij and Fahlin are chasing back onto the pack after their respective mishaps, both on new bikes. 

The riders have been going for nearly an hour and we still don't have a significant breakaway. It is then no surprise that the riders have been going along at a decent average pace of about 37kph. 

104km to go

Onto the third sector of gravel and we have an attack from Elena Pirrone. She's got a small gap of about 15 seconds on the buch behind. 

At the other end of the bunch, Asia Zontone has been forced to abandon. She is the second rider to call it a day early after Georgia Williams stepped off.

92km to go