The Italian one-day race, Strade Bianche with its 14th edition, kicked off today as the restart of the WorldTour races. The 185km hilly course with 11 gravel road sections around Siena was expected to be literally a hot day in the saddle.
Gorka Izagirre saw himself in one of the chasing groups but with 50km to go the reduced bunch was back together and at this moment, Astana Pro Team rider Jakob Fuglsang launched an attack and was able to open up a small gap. Teammate Alexey Lutsenko was some seconds behind his teammate in the first chasing group.
After some kilometers the Danish rider opened up a small gap, while teammate Alexey Lutsenko was dropped. Jakob Fuglsang was caught by the five-rider group with 42km to go but was able to stay with the group.
28km before the finish at the Piazza del Campo, the new leading group had more than one-minute gap. The Astana rider showed an incredible form and rode a great race. On the last 25km the race went on fire as some riders started to attack each other but all attempts failed.
With 9km to go, on the last gravel road section, unfortunately, Jakob Fuglsang lost contact to the first three riders, who launched another attack.
Van Aert went solo and took with 30 seconds advantage the victory. Astana Pro Team rider Jakob Fuglsang crossed the line minutes after the winner in 5th place. Teammate Gorka Izagirre came in 17th and Hugo Houle finished in 29th place.
“It is nice to be back but the last 50km after my little attack, I exploded a little bit due to the heat. I overheated and it was difficult to find my legs again. For a short time, I lost a bit the right rhythm. But the race went on, however the guys did a great job for me. Alaphilippe made it hard with his early attack to open the race. All in all, I was there in the front at the end but in the downhill with all the cat and mouse games, there was just the fifth place left for me.” – Jakob Fuglsang
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