Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) took his first professional victoryas he won an unforgettable edition of Strade Bianche in Siena.
The first important breakaway was produced with a bit more than 50 kilometres to go when a group formed by riders including Alejandro Valverde, Michal Kwiatkowski, Peter Sagan and cyclocross world champion Wout Van Aert took an advantage of almost half a minute over a second group.
Later in the race, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) bridged to the front group and after spending some moments with the others, launched an attack creating a gap with the others with Van Aert soon joining in. The duo went ahead and got an advantage of almost a minute.
Tiesj Benoot bridged to the powerful leading duo just after the penultimate sector of gravel. He then made his winning on a steep climb during the final sector of gravel with just over 10 kilometers remaining in the race.
“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”, sai Benoot.
“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!”
Strade Bianche 2018 results:
|1||Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)|
|2||Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|3||Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willems Crelan)|
|4||Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)|
|5||Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida)|
|6||Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|7||Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors)|
|8||Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|9||Pieter Serry (Quick-Step Floors)|
|10||Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|11||Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida)|
|12||Daniel Oss (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|13||Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo)|
|14||Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)|
|15||Marcus Burghardt (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|16||Stefan Küng (BMC)|
|17||Simon Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac)|
|18||Andrey Amador (Movistar)|
|19||Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|20||Valentin Madouas (FDJ)|