UCI Women’s World tour Strade Bianche

Among the women, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak has crowned herself the queen of the Strade Bianche. The former world champion was ahead of the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini. Belgian in form Lotte Kopecky saw the final pass her nose due to a mechanical, she was going strong when it happened. But the Dutch women have so much talent in petto at such races…When the regrouping started from all the front groups, the dutch show started, and at the 4km mark, it was the signal for Team SD Worx to throw a new card on the table. Chantal Blaak jumped away with a sharp attack and got Longo Borghini in her wake. With 4 kilometers to go and a bonus of 15 seconds, the winner seemed to be in the front, but Blaak had also an extra trump card because the chasing group also included teammates Van der Breggen and Vollering. So the poker could begin and the Dutch girl quietly parked in the wheel of Longo Borghini on her way to the steep final climb. At 500 meters from the line, Blaak thought her moment had finally come and left her Italian companion on the spot with a powerful final jump. Van der Breggen held on for 3rd and Van Vleuten. Just like in the CX they seem to be unbeatable in hard races.

UCI Men’s World Tour at the Strade Bianche

How it went in the finale>>> A natural selection formed a group with Van Aert, Van der Poel, Alaphilippe, Pogacar, Bernal, Pidcock, Gogl, and Simmons. The latter was the unlucky person of the day because first, he had a puncture, and later he ended up in an olive grove beside the road. A chasing group with Fuglsang and Wellens could almost pick at the numbers of the leaders, but suddenly the pace slowed and they would never find the head of the race again. Strip 9 was barely 800 meters long, but after an attack by Alaphilippe, it seemed to cost the head of Pidcock and especially Van Aert. The two rejoined the front a little later, but it was already clear how the cards were. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) was the first Dutchman to put the Strade Bianche on his honors list. In an edition for the history books, with all the big names at the appointment, he counted on the steep climb to the Piazza del Campo with Julian Alaphilippe and Egan Bernal. Defending champion Wout van Aert had to let go on the penultimate gravel strip.

A beautiful race, one I personally would put in my top 10 due to the supremacy of the Dutch superstars, and the surroundings of the race in one of the most picturesque areas of the south of Italy…Tomorrow we back in Belgium for the “GP Jempi Monsere” in Roeselare-Hooglede West Flanders (birthplace of Monsere), Jempi was killed as reining U23 World Champ in a kermesse (Lille 1971) when a car appeared from nowhere and hit him in full flow. The race does 10 laps and 202 km long with 11 times climbing the Gitsberg . We will have 3 Irish men at the start with Rory Townsend (Canyon) and Michael O’ Loughlin & Fintan Ryan (Evo-Pro) …The race is on Eurosport-GCN+

Photo taken in the Kempens Wielermuseum Grobbendonk (BP media)