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Tiesj Benoot takes the win
This Strade Bianche won’t be forgotten any time soon. The freezing cold, mud-caked Tuscan roads rewarded the boldness and strength of 23-year-old Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) who won his first-ever pro race. The Dutchman attacked early with Pieter Serry (Quick-Step Floors), then promptly dropped Serry and managed to catch up with the leading duo of Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Wout van Aert (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan).
The Tour de France podium placer and the three-time cyclocross champion were debuting on Tuscany’s gravel roads, and it looked like they were going to compete for victory. Benoot managed to overhaul them, however, and soloed to the finish line.
Cycling. Love it your way. pic.twitter.com/k1vIMHD6RX
— Romain Bardet (@romainbardet) March 4, 2018
“I haven’t seen the TV images, but I bet it looked pretty crazy,” Benoot said. “Without these extreme conditions it would’ve been a hard race, but now it was so important to stay in front. I like the bad weather, so it was an opportunity and an advantage.”
Romain Bardet took second place and van Aert finished third.
— Kingston Wheelers (@kingstonwheeler) March 3, 2018
“I have nothing to lose, I came out of the cyclocross season and I came in wanting to learn,” van Aert said. “Sometimes you learn more by trying then not trying at all. That was my mindset.”
Strade Bianche 2018 Results (184km)
1 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal, in 5:03:33
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, at 39
3 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda’s Willems Crelan, at 58
4 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team, at 1:25
5 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1:27
6 Robert Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1:29
7 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors, at 1:42
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2:08
9 Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 2:11
10 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2:18
When cyclocross is life
It’s all about the aero
Let it snow
— Michał Kwiatkowski (@kwiato) February 26, 2018
When even the bus gives you a warning about the race today pic.twitter.com/dZK8s93Uvw
— Thomas De Gendt (@DeGendtThomas) February 27, 2018