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2018 Strade Bianche-Eroica Toscana (1.1), Italy

12th edition: Saturday, March 3, 2018

Montepaschi Strade Bianche historical results | 2017 edition | Photos | Course map & profile | Start list | Organizer's course description

Siena - Siena, 184 km
11 sections of white roads, totalling 63 km

Tiesj Bennot

Tiejs Benoot takes a muddy solo victory

Weather in Siena at 1:15 PM, local time: Rain turning to thunderstorms at times and then showers around 3PM. 8C (46F) and could climb to 10C (49F). Wind from the east at 5 km/hr (4mph).

The race: The men’s edition of the ‘Northern Classic in the South of Europe’, now in its 12th edition, organised by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport and part of the UCI WorldTour calendar, started today from Siena at 10:43 with 146 riders. Did not start: dossard number 167, Maarten Wynants (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo).

Here's the story from winner Tiesj Benoot's Lotto-Soudal team:

Tiesj Benoot has won Strade Bianche today after an impressive effort! It’s the first pro victory ever for the nearly 24-year-old Lotto Soudal rider! And what a victory it is! This twelfth edition of Strade Bianche (WorldTour) became an epic race because of the cold and the rain that made the gravel sectors very muddy.

The race started well for Lotto Soudal as European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts was part of a breakaway of eight riders. This front group got six minutes advantage over the bunch that split early on in the race. With sixty kilometres to go, Campenaerts and the other escapees got reeled in by a large chasing group including Tiesj Benoot. Next, about ten riders jumped away. Among those riders were Kwiatkowski, Van Aert and Valverde. A strong group, no doubt. After Campenaerts had pulled at the head of the chasing group to keep the gap as small as possible, Tiesj Benoot made the jump to the front on the eighth gravel sector, towards Monte Sante Marie.

Not long after that move, Romain Bardet and world champion cyclo-cross Wout Van Aert attacked at the front. They could create a gap of one minute. The pace in the chasing group slowed down and that was the sign for Tiesj Benoot to take initiative at thirty kilometres from the finish. He was accompanied by Pieter Serry. They reduced the gap to 35 seconds, but when the gap started growing again Benoot decided to leave Serry behind. Benoot closed the gap rather quickly and joined Bardet and Van Aert with fifteen kilometres remaining. Benoot attacked on the last gravel sector and entered the last ten kilometres solo. He kept on increasing his lead and could enjoy the last moments of the race before triumphing on Il Campo in Siena! Romain Bardet finished second, ahead of Wout Van Aert.

Earlier this week, Benoot had said he wanted to do better than his two eighth places in the previous two editions of Strade Bianche. Mission accomplished!

Tiesj Benoot: “After the break with Victor Campenaerts had been caught, Victor did a lot of pulling. When there was no cooperation in the group anymore, both sports director Bart Leysen and I thought it would be best to attack. That turned out to be the right decision. The same scenario got repeated when Bardet and Van Aert rode together at the front. I felt my legs were good and that I had to try something, because there was no team left that would close the gap. Serry was the perfect companion, he immediately helped chasing. I noticed that I was better than him though and that’s why I decided to leave him behind. I knew the part where I accelerated from the past two years and I knew that it would be possible to still close the gap. I succeeded in closing the gap pretty smoothly and then I realized I was the strongest at the front.  I attacked on the last gravel sector and immediately had a nice lead. Then it was a matter of not crashing and having no flat tyre. When the team car rode behind me, I was less worried. I didn’t want to let my first pro victory slip through my fingers!”

“I had a super day. It was cold and it rained, but I never had problems with that kind of weather. The Strade Bianche is one of my favourite races and one of the races that suits me best. Only strong riders have won this race and it’s wonderful to see my name among them! The altitude training camp at Sierra Nevada clearly was the perfect preparation. If this first pro victory adds any pressure? The expectations have always been high since I got fifth at Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015 as a neo-pro. I can cope with that really well. I always kept believing in myself and I knew this victory would come one day.”​​​​​​​

Complete Results:

147 entrants, 146 starters, 53 classified finishers, 73 abandons, 20 finished beyond the time limit.

184 kilometers raced at an average speed of 36.370 km/hr

1 BENOOT Tiesj Lotto-Soudal 5hr 3min 33sec
2 BARDET Romain Ag2r La Mondiale @ 39sec
3 VAN AERT Wout Veranda's Willems-Crelan 0:58
4 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar @ 1min 25sec
5 VISCONTI Giovanni Bahrain-Merida 1:27
6 POWER Robert Mitchelton-Scott 1:29
7 STYBAR Zdenek Quick-Step Floors 1:42
8 SAGAN Peter Bora-hansgrohe 2:08
9 SERRY Pieter Quick-Step Floors 2:11
10 MÜHLBERGER Gregor Bora-hansgrohe 2:16
11 MOHORIC Matej Bahrain-Merida 3:05
12 OSS Daniel Bora-hansgrohe 3:22
13 DE TIER Floris LottoNL-Jumbo 4:03
14 MOSCON Gianni Sky 4:08
15 BURGHARDT Marcus Bora-hansgrohe 4:10
16 KÜNG Stefan BMC 4:14
17 CLARKE Simon EF Education First-Drapac 4:41
18 AMADOR Andrey Movistar 4:55
19 LATOUR Pierre Ag2r La Mondiale 5:12
20 MADOUAS Valentin Groupama-FDJ 5:14
21 DUMOULIN Tom Team Sunweb 6:14
22 PUCCIO Salvatore Sky s.t.
23 ANDERSEN Soren Kragh Team Sunweb 7:56
24 GRIVKO Andrei Astana 8:12
25 VERMOTE Julien Dimension Data 8:26
26 LUTSENKO Alexey Astana 8:55
27 GONÇALVES José Katusha-Alpecin 9:46
28 DEVOLDER Stijn Veranda's Willems-Crelan 10:11
29 ROJAS José Joaquín Movistar s.t.
30 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Sky 10:57
31 BATTAGLIN Enrico LottoNL-Jumbo 12:36
32 CAPECCHI Eros Quick-Step Floors 12:39
33 KEUKELEIRE Jens Lotto-Soudal 12:43
34 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC 13:05
35 SCHAR Michael BMC s.t.
36 GILBERT Philippe Quick-Step Floors s.t.
37 KRUIJSWIJK Steven LottoNL-Jumbo 13:08
38 VILLELLA Davide Astana 13:10
39 BOLE Grega Bahrain-Merida s.t.
40 BENNETT George LottoNL-Jumbo 13:50
41 VANMARCKE Sep EF Education First-Drapac 17:08
42 MONTAGUTI Matteo Ag2r La Mondiale 18:31
43 HOWES Alex EF Education First-Drapac 19:05
44 ULISSI Diego UAE-Team Emirates 19:12
45 PFINGSTEN Christoph Bora-hansgrohe 19:16
46 OLIVEIRA Nelson Movistar 19:27
47 MAES Nikolas Lotto-Soudal s.t.
48 ROGLIC Primoz LottoNL-Jumbo 19:33
49 GAVIRIA Fernando Quick-Step Floors 19:36
50 DOULL Owain Sky s.t.
51 CAMPENAERTS Victor Lotto-Soudal 21:36
52 KEISSE Iljo Quick-Step Floors 21:45
53 KUSS Sepp LottoNL-Jumbo s.t.

Photos:

Strade Bianche

The race begins

Strade Bianche

Looks like a lovely day for a bike ride in Tuscany. Photo: RCS Sport

Strade Bianche

It was a day that saw the riders earn their salaries. Bettini photo

Tiejs Benoot

Tiesj Benoot comes to the finish. Sirotti photo

Tiejs Bennot

Tiesj Benoot is the day's winner.

Romain Bardet

A tired Romain Bardet crosses the line second, 39 seconds after Benoot. Sirotti photo

Wout van aert

Wout van Aert finishes third. Sirotti photo

Peter Sagan

World Champion Peter Sagan looks worse for the wear. Bettini photo

Strade Bianche podium

They cleaned up OK. The podium, from left: Romain Bardet (2nd), winner Tiesj Bennot and Wout van Aert (3rd)


Course map and profile:

2018 Strade Bianche

Race map

2018 Strade Bianche profile

Course profile


Start list with back numbers, March 2, 2018:

TEAM SKY
1 KWIATKOWSKI Michal
2 DOULL Owain
3 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao
4 GOLAS Michal
5 MOSCON Gianni
6 PUCCIO Salvatore
7 ROSA Diego
DS: PORTAL Nicolas
AG2R LA MONDIALE
11 BARDET Romain
12 DILLIER Silvan
13 DUPONT Hubert
14 GENIEZ Alexandre
15 JAUREGUI Quentin
16 LATOUR Pierre Roger
17 MONTAGUTI Matteo
DS: JANNEL Didier
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI - SIDERMEC
21 BISOLTI Alessandro
22 BALLERINI Davide
23 BENFATTO Marco
24 BONUSI Raffaello
25 FRAPPORTI Mattia
26 MALUCELLI Matteo
27 SPREAFICO Matteo
DS: SAVIO Giovanni
ASTANA PRO TEAM
31 MOSER Moreno
32 CATALDO Dario
33 GATTO Oscar
34 GRIVKO Andrey
35 KORSÆTH Truls
36 LUTSENKO Alexey
37 VILLELLA Davide
DS: SHEFER Alexander
BAHRAIN - MERIDA
41 NIBALI Vincenzo
42 BOLE Grega
43 COLBRELLI Sonny
44 GASPAROTTO Enrico
45 KOREN Kristijan
46 MOHORIC Matej
47 VISCONTI Giovanni
DS: VOLPI Alberto
BMC RACING TEAM
51 VAN AVERMAET Greg
52 BETTIOL Alberto
53 BOOKWALTER Brent
54 CARUSO Damiano
55 KÜNG Stefan
56 SCHÄR Michael
57 VLIEGEN Loïc
DS: PIVA Valerio
BORA - HANSGROHE
61 SAGAN Peter
62 BODNAR Maciej
63 BURGHARDT Marcus
64 MÜHLBERGER Gregor
65 OSS Daniel
66 PFINGSTEN Christoph
67 SARAMOTINS Aleksejs
DS: VALACH Jan
FDJ
71 ARMIRAIL Bruno
72 MADOUAS Valentin
73 MOLARD Rudy
74 PREIDLER Georg
75 ROUX Anthony
76 ROY Jérémy
77 SEIGLE Romain
DS: PINEAU Frank
LOTTO SOUDAL
81 BENOOT Tiesj
82 CAMPENAERTS Victor
83 DEBUSSCHERE Jens
84 KEUKELEIRE Jens
85 MAZEAU Nicolas
86 MARCZYNSKI Tomasz
87 VAN DER SANDE Tosh
DS: AERTS Mario
MITCHELTON - SCOTT
91 DURBRIDGE Luke
92 TUFT Svein
93 HEPBURN Michael
94 HAIG Jack
95 JUUL JENSEN Christopher
96 BEWLEY Sam
97 HAMILTON Lucas
DS: WHITE Matthew
MOVISTAR TEAM
101 AMADOR Andrey
102 ARCAS Jorge
103 BARBERO Carlos
104 BENNATI Daniele
105 BETANCUR Carlos
106 MATOS Nuno
107 ROJAS José
DS: JAIMERENA Jose Luis
NIPPO - VINI FANTINI - EUROPA
111 CANOLA Marco
112 BAGIOLI Nicola
113 CIMA Damiano
114 GROSU Eduard Micheal
115 HATSUYAMA Sho
116 PONZI Simone
117 TIZZA Marco
DS: MANZONI Mario
QUICK-STEP FLOORS
121 GILBERT Philippe
122 CAPECCHI Eros
123 GAVIRIA RENDON Fernando
124 RICHEZE Maximiliano Ariel
125 SCHACHMANN Maximilian
126 SERRY Pieter
127 STYBAR Zdenek
DS: BRAMATI Davide
TEAM DIMENSION DATA
131 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald
132 O'CONNOR Ben
133 DOUGALL Nicolas
134 EISEL Bernhard
135 THWAITES Scott
136 VAN ZYL Johann
137 VERMOTE Julien
DS: SANS VEGA Alexandre
TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST
141 VANMARCKE Sep
142 CARDONA TABARES Julian
143 CLARKE Simon
144 HOWES Alex
145 MORENO Daniel
146 PHINNEY Taylor
147 VAN ASBROECK Tom
DS: GUIDI Fabrizio
TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN
151 BELKOV Maxim
152 CRAS Steff
153 HAAS Nathan
154 GONÇALVES José
155 KUZNETSOV Viacheslav
156 SMIT Willem Jakobus
157 SCHMIDT Mads Würtz
DS: COZZI Claudio
TEAM LOTTO NL - JUMBO
161 KRUIJSWIJK Steven
162 BATTAGLIN Enrico
163 BENNETT George
164 DE TIER Floris
165 ROGLIC Primoz
166 TANKINK Bram
167 WYNANTS Maarten
DS: BOVEN Jan
TEAM SUNWEB
171 DUMOULIN Tom
172 ANDERSEN Søren Kragh
173 ARNDT Nikias
174 GESCHKE Simon
175 KÄMNA Lennard
176 MATTHEWS Michael
177 TEN DAM Laurens
DS: REEF Marc
TREK - SEGAFREDO
181 BRAMBILLA Gianluca
182 ALAFACI Eugenio
183 FELLINE Fabio
184 GOGL Michael
185 PEDERSEN Mads
186 STUYVEN Jasper
187 VAN POPPEL Boy
DS: BAFFI Adriano
UAE TEAM EMIRATES
191 ULISSI Diego
192 CONTI Valerio
193 MARCATO Marco
194 MORI Manuele
195 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw
196 POLANC Jan
197 RIABUSHENKO Aleksandr
DS: SCIREA Mario
VERANDAS WILLEMS - CRELAN
201 VAN AERT Wout
202 DE BIE Sean
203 DEVOLDER Stijn
204 DE WITTE Mathias
205 DUIJN Hubertus Martinus
206 MERLIER Tim
207 TANNER David
DS: ELIJZEN Michiel

Here's the organizer's course description:

A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, appearing in 11 sectors (eight of those shared with the Women Elite course). Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometres are on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km gravel Sector 1 at km 11, which is perfectly straight and always slightly downhill.

After few kilometres the riders will face Sector 2 (5.8km), the course’s first real challenge with a short descent and a long climb with parts at over 10%. The course will then go through Radi, where Sector 3 starts (4.4km, second part of the original Sector 1 of the first editions) and immediately after Sector 4 named "La Piana", one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featured in the course since its first edition) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento. After few kilometres the second climb of the day starts: the Montalcino (4km at 5%). After Torrenieri the riders will face Sectors 5 (11.9km) and 6 (8km) with only 1km of tarmac in between them. Both are hard, hilly, very punchy and with many bends, climbs and descents.

After the second passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. Soon the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 7 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It's a long sector with continuous up and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again. In Ponte del Garbo (Asciano) gravel Sector 8 begins. At 11.5km it's the hardest of the race, mostly uphill and characterised by tough hills, the most important being those close to Monte Sante Marie, which face steep gradients on both climbs and descents over short distances.

After Castelnuovo Berardenga there's a very short, flat section of gravel (300m), before facing, after Monteaperti, Sector 9 which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone. Next comes the penultimate sector (Sector 10, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with gradients up to 15%). After a few kilometres the riders will face the last sector (Sector 11, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

FINAL KILOMETRES
The demanding final kilometres, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where the gradient touches 9%. 900m from the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs.

The gradient exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% and the finish line itself is flat.