Strade Bianche: Chantal van den Broek-Blaak delivers victory for SD Worx
SD Worx dominates the final phase of racing and takes a one-three on the podium with van der Breggen.
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Chantaal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) punched away from Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) on the final climb to Siena to win Strade Bianche.
The Dutchwoman delivered the win after SD Worx had dominated a final hour of racing that was played out by a stellar front group packed with riders from the team. Anna van der Breggen made it a one-three for SD Worx with a late move from the chase bunch to take third behind Longo Borghini.
Van den Broek-Blaak was one of the least-anticipated winners from SD Worx, which had also maneuvered van der Breggen, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Demi Vollering into the front group.
Looking to play the numbers game, van den Broek-Blaak had attacked in the final six kilometers to test the leaders only to see Longo Borghini counter, and the move stayed away.
“It was not really the plan for me to win today, we have such an amazing team. I felt super good, and it comes unexpected,” she said. “We were there with four in a group of 11, so we wanted to play the game. When I attacked in the final, it was my job to try it and when Elisa came with me, I was not allowed to ride, because normally I cannot follow Elisa on the climbs, and I was super scared of her.
Longo Borghini had towed van den Broek-Blaak toward Siena as SD Worx packed numbers in the group just seconds behind. With Longo Borghini the better climber, it was all down to the Italian to tow the lead pair into the steep ascent to Siena square.
Van den Broek-Blaak made her move when the climb reached its steepest at 500 meters to go, leaving Longo Borghini out of gas and without a response after driving the escape for five kilometers, and had to settle for second.
“With one kilometer to go I could feel she broke and I still had something left in the tank,” Van den Broek-Blaak said.
Behind them, a flurry of attacks flew out of the chase group as they hit the final ascent, with van der Breggen bettering Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) to put two on the podium for SD Worx.
SD Worx dominates the final hour
The main action didn’t start until the final hour of racing after the early escapes had been pulled back.
A group of eight went clear and then started splintering at around 30km to go as the peloton split into handfuls of small groups behind. Van Vleuten towed a small bunch up to the lead group before another bunch behind joined them, powered by Amanda Spratt and van der Breggen.
With 15km to go around 15 riders were left out front, with van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) and Longo Borghini (Trek) both making brief attacks.
Van Vleuten and Vos were next to attack using the super steep Tolfe gravel section to take a lead with just 12km to go before being pulled back as the road hit the tarmac again.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and then van den Broek-Blaak (both SD Worx) were next to stretch the pace with separate attacks in the approach to Siena as van der Breggen loitered behind.
Van den Broek-Blaak’s attack came with just 6km to go, and with three top climbers behind, the move was never intended to stick. However, when Longo Borghini bridged and motored the duo into the final climb, the Dutchwoman turned from domestique to winner-in-the-making.
- Chantaal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx)
- Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo)
- Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx)
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)
- Cecilie Uttrip Ludwig (FDJ)
- Demi Vollering (SD Worx)
- Marianne Vos (Jumbo Visma)
- Marta Cavalli (FDJ)
- Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)
- Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafrdo)