Chantal van den Broek-Blaak wins Strade Bianche Women

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) won the women's Strade Bianche, riding away from Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) on the Via Santa Caterina climb in the final kilometre to finish off an excellent team effort.

The 2017 world champion attacked from a group of favourites with just over six kilometres to go. Longo Borghini was the only one to react, but when the Italian champion caught Van den Broek-Blaak, she was forced to do all the work herself as Van den Broek-Blaak had several SD Worx teammates in the group behind.

On the steep final climb, Van den Broek-Blaak threw the punch on the steepest part, accelerating away from a tired Longo Borghini to win. From the group behind, Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) beat Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) for third place.

“I felt really good, but the win came unexpected for me, it was teamwork”, said Van den Broek-Blaak after the race. “We made a plan yesterday, and everything went really well from the beginning. Everyone was very motivated and focussed. We were there with four riders in a group of eleven, so of course we had to play our numbers. It was my job to try again. 

"When Elisa came with me, I was not allowed to ride. That was smart, because I normally cannot follow her on the climb. I know she is very focussed on this race, so I was scared of her. 

"Then, with one kilometre to go, I could feel that she broke, and I still had something left in the tank. This ranks as one of the biggest victories in my career," she ended, adding another big win to her world championship title and the victory in last year's Tour of Flanders where she also finished off her teams' work win.

How it unfolded

The peloton set off for the first UCI Women’s WorldTour race of the 2021 season early in the morning. In the Tuscan sunshine, they had to tackle 31.6 kilometres of gravel roads in eight sectors over the 136-kilometre route.

The first break of the day came from Elena Pirrone (Valcar-Travel & Service) who was caught on the fifth gravel sector with 63 kilometres to go. Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) and Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) counterattacked and broke away; they were caught 36 kilometres from the line as the race heated up.

New attacks led to a front group of eight with Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Jelena Erić (Movistar Team), Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM), Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing), Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Lizzy Banks (Ceratizit-WNT) and Van den Broek-Blaak.

This group split on the sixth gravel sector, Monteaperti, with 22 kilometres to go. Garcia, Stultiens, Van Dijk and Van den Broek-Blaak held a lead of 22 seconds, then Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Kopecky attacked from the peloton and bridged to the front while Stultiens was dropped.

There was a regrouping on the asphalt, and a group of 15 riders came out of the penultimate gravel sector, Colle Pinzuto, together. SD Worx was represented with Van den Broek-Blaak, Van der Breggen, Demi Vollering, and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio who were joined by Liv Racing’s Kopecky and Stultiens, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Marta Cavalli (both FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Longo Borghini and Van Dijk from Trek-Segafredo as well as Vos, Garcia, Van Vleuten, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange).

Van den Broek-Blaak attacked from this group for the first time with 15 kilometres to go, shaking off Van Vleuten, and was joined by Longo Borghini, but this move was as shortlived as the next attack by Garcia and Kopecky.

On the final gravel sector, Le Tolfe, Van Vleuten did a seated acceleration on the steepest part of the climb, and only Vos could hold her wheel as Kopecky, who was also trying to stay in touch, suffered a puncture. The two Dutchwomen worked together but were caught by the chasing group as they entered the final ten kilometres.

After an attack by Cavalli, Moolman-Pasio, and Van Dijk was brought back by Niewiadoma, Van den Broek-Blaak then made her move six kilometres from the line, soon joined by Longo Borghini. The Italian champion led the two to the final kilometres where Van den Broek-Blaak jumped away for the victory. 

Behind them, Cavalli had made a last attempt to get on the podium, but the young Italian was overhauled on the steep Via Santa Caterina by Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten who raced for the last remaining podium spot.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) Team SD Worx 3:54:40
2Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:07
3Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Team SD Worx 0:00:09
4Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar Team Women 0:00:11
5Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
6Demi Vollering (Ned) Team SD Worx
7Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team 0:00:23
8Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:00:27
9Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM Racing 0:00:30
10Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:32
11Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Team SD Worx
12Amanda Spratt (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:00:46
13Mavi Garcia (Spa) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:01:52
14Soraya Paladin (Ita) Liv Racing 0:02:38
15Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing
16Kristen Faulkner (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
17Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing 0:02:42
18Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:02:44
19Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon-SRAM Racing
20Evita Muzic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:02:47
21Elena Cecchini (Ita) Team SD Worx
22Mikayla Harvey (NZl) Canyon-SRAM Racing
23Leah Thomas (USA) Movistar Team Women 0:02:50
24Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
25Juliette Labous (Fra) Team DSM 0:02:52
26Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
27Marlen Reusser (Swi) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:02:55
28Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team DSM 0:02:56
29Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Liv Racing
30Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
31Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team 0:03:00
32Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:03:01
33Hanna Nilsson (Swe) Lotto Soudal Ladies
34Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
35Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana
36Arlenis Sierra Canadilla (Cub) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
37Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Movistar Team Women 0:03:04
38Vittoria Guazzini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:03:11
39Jeanne Korevaar (Ned) Liv Racing 0:03:14
40Katia Ragusa (Ita) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
41Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:04:19
42Julia van Bokhoven (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:04:31
43Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM Racing 0:04:47
44Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Liv Racing
45Niamh Fisher-Black (NZl) Team SD Worx 0:04:56
46Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team 0:05:00
47Eri Yonamine (Jpn) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:05:28
48Elizabeth Banks (GBr) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:06:27
49Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar Team Women 0:06:44
50Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team 0:06:57
51Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM Racing 0:06:59
52Vita Heine (Nor) Massi Tactic Women Team 0:07:03
53Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM Racing 0:07:06
54Spela Kern (Slo) Massi Tactic Women Team 0:07:10
55Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:07:12
56Nina Buijsman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
57Eider Merino Cortazar (Spa) A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
58Michaela Drummond (NZl) BePink 0:07:14
59Silvia Zanardi (Ita) BePink 0:07:18
60Tayler Wiles (USA) Trek-Segafredo
61Liane Lippert (Ger) Team DSM 0:07:24
62Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano 0:07:25
63Stine Borgli (Nor) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:08:13
64Eugenia Bujak (Slo) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:08:22
65Abby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:08:41
66Diana Carolina Peñuela Martinez (Col) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:09:37
67Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:09:38
68Janneke Ensing (Ned) Team BikeExchange 0:09:43
69Wilma Olausson (Swe) Team DSM 0:10:01
70Eva Buurman (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:10:03
71Tanja Erath (Ger) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
72Lieke Nooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:11:03
73Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
74Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:11:17
75Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:11:26
76Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar Team Women 0:11:42
77Debora Silvestri (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo 0:13:16
78Georgia Williams (NZl) Team BikeExchange 0:13:19
79Julie Van De Velde (Bel) Jumbo-Visma Women Team 0:14:21
80Francesca Baroni (Ita) Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria 0:14:53
81Francesca Balducci (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo 0:14:56
82Anastasia Carbonari (Ita) Born to Win G20 Ambedo
83Mireia Trias Jordan (Spa) Massi Tactic Women Team 0:15:10
84Olivia Baril (Can) Massi Tactic Women Team 0:16:54
85Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) Team BikeExchange 0:17:01

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