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2021 Strade Bianche Recap

In 2021, Strade Bianche has once again proved why it is the best one day race without the title of monument attached to its name. 

 

It is certainly true that the Tuscan race lacks the history associated with some of cycling’s most prestigious events. However, it competes with any race out there on the grounds of visuals and the style of racing that the course encourages. 

 

Earlier today, Strade Bianche produced two incredible editions that saw some of the best cyclists in the world go head to head over the distinctive rolling hills and gravel sectors that make up the race.

 

Women’s Race

 

Top 10

 

 

  1. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak – 3:54:40
  2. Elisa Longo Borghini – 0:07
  3. Anna van der Breggen – 0:09
  4. Annemiek van Vleuten – 0:11
  5. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig – 0:11
  6. Demi Vollering – 0:11
  7. Marianne Vos – 0:23
  8. Marta Cavalli – 0:27
  9. Kasia Niewiadoma – 0:30
  10. Ellen van Dijk – 0:32

 

Race Recap

 

Unfortunately, the tv coverage of the women’s race began with just 21 kilometers remaining in the event. Despite the short coverage time, the action in the finale made for an extremely compelling watch. 

 

During the race, SD Worx showed yet again that they are the premier classics team in the peloton. The Dutch team did a great job of marking moves and ensuring that they always had the numerical advantage as the race reached its conclusion.

 

With just over six kilometers to go, SD Worx managed to place Chantal van den Broek-Blaak in a two rider break with Elisa Longo Borghini. SD Worx had numbers in the group behind. This allowed van den Broek-Blaak to sit on and force her Italian companion to do the work. 

 

As a result of this tactic, van den Broek-Blaak was fresher than Longo Borghini on the final climb. The SD Worx rider attacked, got a gap, and held on to the finish to take the victory.

 

 

As a reward for their coordinated riding, SD Worx placed four riders in the top eleven of the race.

 

Men’s Race

 

Top Ten

 

 

  1. Mathieu van der Poel – 4:40:29
  2. Julian Alaphilippe – 0:05
  3. Egan Bernal – 0:20
  4. Wout van Aert – 0:51
  5. Tom Pidcock – 0:54
  6. Michael Gogl – 0:54
  7. Tadej Pogačar – 0:54
  8. Simon Clarke – 2:25
  9. Jakob Fuglsang – 2:25
  10. Pello Bilbao – 2:39

 

Race Recap

 

The men’s race split up decisively with about 50 kilometers remaining. A group containing Mathieu van der Poel, Quinn Simmons, Wout van Aert, Kevin Geniets, Julian Alaphilippe, Tadej Pogačar, Egan Bernal, Tom Pidcock and Michael Gogl rode away from the rest of the field. In doing so, they effectively formed the selection that would produce the race winner. 

 

The final selection was made on the last gravel sector of the day. Mathieu van der Poel waited for the road to kick up to 18% before launching a ferocious attack which immediately opened up space between himself and everybody else. When the dust settled, the only two riders who had managed to respond were Julian Alaphilippe and Egan Bernal. 

 

The trio reached the final climb into the Piazza del Campo all together. The Dutch champion van der Poel came to the front, at first to set pace. Halfway up the climb he unleashed another devastating attack, opening a gap and securing victory in the process. 

 

 

Van der Poel rode wisely to conserve energy in the early stages of the race. When it came time to decide a winner, his two attacks were among the most explosive you are ever likely to see in a bike race.

 

In Conclusion

 

Part of why Strade Bianche is so universally loved is that the terrain it covers allows many different types of riders to be competitive. That aspect was on full display during the men’s race today. 

 

In the end, the podium was made up of the reigning cyclocross world champion, the reigning road world champion and the 2019 Tour de France champion. Not many other races can produce such an interesting mix of riders. 

 

Today, van den Broek-Blaak and van der Poel each added their name to a winners list that is constantly growing in length and prestige. 

 

In the aftermath of the day’s racing, there has been plenty of discussion on Twitter about whether or not Strade Bianche should be adopted as cycling’s sixth monument. 

 

Regardless of where you fall on the monument debate, every cycling race should strive to be visually enjoyable while creating exciting racing.

 

Monument or not, Strade Bianche clearly checks both of those boxes.

 

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