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Cool Cucumber Wout van Aert storms to Strade Bianche Victory

Annemiek Van Vleuten overhauls breakaway attacker Mavi Garcia to win the womens race 

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) put in a late attack against his breakway companions Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling) with 12 kms to go.

Van Aert managed to hold off Schachmann and Formolo as he entered Sienna for the final ardulous climb to finish with 19 seconds lead to take victory on what turned out to be a hot and dramatic day of racing.

In the womens race, Annemiek Van Vleuten attacked the leading group to chase down a huge gap to Mavi Garcia that looked too big cross. American Leah Thomas who lost her chain and came off at one point in the race,put in an incredible performance to finish 3rd.

Wout van Aert said afterwards, "the heat was exhausting but I really focussed on hydration and keeping cool and, in the end, I got something left."

The mens race was full gas from the gun was full of punctures and crashes.

6 riders have a establised a breakaway: Benjamin Declercq (Arkéa-Samsic), Corne van Kessel (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Nicola Bagioli en Simon Pellaud (Androni), Quentin Pacher (B&B) and Iuri Filosi (Bardiani). Pellaud went solo after Montalcino climb. 1'10'' for Declerq, Bagioli and Pacer.  2'02'' for the peloton with 121km to go.

Pellaud built up a lead of 3'34'' but with 77km togo  Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) put in an attak from the peloton to bring him back.

Drama in the peloton as Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) fell and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) suffered a puncture. Nibali and Alaphilippe were involved in the fall  too

Benoot and Krag Anderson have abandoned the race, and Van der Poel and Alaphilippe punctured but mamaged to get back into the peloton.

Apparently the White Roads had't been maintained as usual due to Covid, hence the crashes and punctures.

Vincenzo Nibali abandoned the race. He was suffering from a pain in his left hand after a crash.

60 kms to go and Simon Clarke has attacked the front group of around 30 riders.

As wonderful as it could be to see the pros again in action as hard it can be, with the immense heat at 38°C the race was hard consideing it's usually done in March in 12°C.

Four riders chased down Clarke as  Alaphilippe and van der Poel were dropped with 50kms to go.

Out front were Fuglsang (Astana), Formolo (UAE), Bettiol (EF), Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Schachmann (Bora) and Greg van Avermaet (CCC).

Behind Stybar joined by Gogl and Bookwalter chased them down with 25 km to go.

Greg van Avermaet was dropped with 18 km to go as the leaders hit Colle Pinzuto, the 3.4km sterrato sector.

Bettiol (EF) attacked and Fuglsang (Astana), Formolo (UAE), Bettiol (EF), Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Schachmann (Bora) chased him down.

But with 12.3 kms to go Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) attacked and opened up a lead.

Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling) dropped Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) as they chased.

But it was too late Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has 11 secs lead with 4.7 kms to go as he entered Sienna.#

Van Aert said afterwards, "If you get two third places in a row, of course you have confidence to come here. Today was one long day of suffering and nobody felt that great. The heat was exhausting but I really focussed on hydration and keeping cool and, in the end, I got something left.

"Maybe there was not really a guy that I had to be afraid of in the last uphill but I think the attack is always the best offence. I knew from the previous edition that attacking is never a disadvantage here and I started attacking in a downhill and came with a little advantage on the steep part. From there, it was a man-to-man fight and it worked.

"I think the victory in the Tour de France was really big but victory at Strade Bianche is one of the nicest one-day races on the calendar. I really fell in love with this race two years ago and it was my goal to win. I’m 25 and I’ve already done it. I’m really happy."

2020 Strade Bianche Men's Top 10

1 Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:58:56
2 Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:30
3 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:32
4 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 0:01:31
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:02:55
6 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:03:59
7 Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:04:25
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team 0:04:27
9 Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT Pro Cycling 0:06:47
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:07:45

2020 Strade Bianche Women's Top 10

1 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott Women 4:03:54
2 Mavi Garcia (Spa Alé BTC Ljubljana 0:00:22
3 Leah Thomas (USA) Equipe Paule Ka 0:01:53
4 Anna Van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:02:05
5 Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo Women 0:02:11
6 Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:02:26
7 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope 0:02:40
8 Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro 0:03:26
9 Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:04:20
10 Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale' BTC Ljubljana 0:05:21

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