Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) has taken a solo victory in the fourth edition of Strade Bianche Women Elite NamedSport; the race, the first in this year’s UCI Women’s WorldTour, covered 136km from Siena (Fortezza Medicea) to Siena (Piazza del Campo). Van der Breggen crossed the finish line of the historic square alone, 49” ahead of Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon // SRAM Cycling) and 59” ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5).
1 – Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) 136km in 4h10’48”, average speed 32.536km/h
2 – Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon // SRAM Cycling) at 49”
3 – Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) at 59”
Speaking seconds after the finish, a victorious Anna van der Breggen said: “I have no idea why I decided to attack from so far out but I just felt good at that moment – the steep sections were perfect for making a difference. To win the race today comes from circumstances: it was a quite epic race, maybe the hardest race I’ve ever done. At the finish I was feeling strange and empty; it means a lot to me to win the Strade Bianche.”
Second placed Katarzyna Niewadoma said: “It looks like I’ll always come second in the Strade Bianche. It was an extremely tough race and I have a huge appreciation for all the riders who finished it. There aren’t enough words to describe everything that was happening on the roads today and, to be honest, I’m very happy to be on the podium. My family is here. There were on the road cheering for me. Both Anna [Van der Breggen] and Elisa [Longo Borghini] are amazing – I’m delighted to accompany them on the podium.”
Third placed Elisa Longo Borghini said: “It was an epic day for me. I had a puncture, my team car was last in the convoy and I couldn’t find anyone to change my wheel until one of my team-mates came so I had to chase back to the peloton. In the end I was alright but it’s never nice to have a mechanical during the race. I couldn’t stay with Anna till the end though because something got stuck into my wheel. When you lose her slipstream, you never come back! She’s so strong. I wasn’t surprised – it’s just her way of riding. It’s amazing.”