uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

"Kwiatkowski was playing with us. When I saw him get back, I knew who'd win. Riders know when another rider’s is on a great day, we can see it. He was pedalling really easy and his team was strong too," Cancellara says

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






09.03.2014 @ 10:47 Posted by Joseph Doherty

As a double winner, Fabian Cancellara (Trek) was one of the favourites to win yesterday's Strade Bianche but there was no luck for the Swiss who could only manage 6th. Afterwards, he was gracious in defeat, praising Kwiatkowski as being the strongest rider in the race but also lamenting an untimely puncture.


It was Fabian Cancellara’s first one-day race of the season, a race he considers amongst his favorites, and a race he previously won in 2008 and 2012.  But it was not to be this year, as an untimely puncture would thwart his chances at contesting the race victory, zapping crucial energy at a critical point of the race.


Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) attacked with less than 22 kilometers remaining and Cancellara was unable to respond. It would be the winning move of the race.


The duo powered away to the finish, where Kwiatkowski jumped Sagan in last steep uphill only 500m from the finish, surging around the Slovakian on the 16 percent gradient, and plunging to the finish line to claim a hard-fought victory.


Almost a quarter of this year’s race was run on the infamous white gravel roads of Tuscany (10 sections totaling 50kms), and together with insanely steep climbs scattered around the 197-kilometer parcours, the race was a battle of the strongest legs.


Early on the peloton granted a ticket of leave to four riders who set off in pursuit of impossible glory, quickly gaining over ten minutes on a disinterested peloton that knew the route ahead would curb the quartet’s lead. The combination of the diabolic parcours with the peloton slowly pushing the accelerator from behind was enough for the escapees to be swallowed at the critical point of the race - section seven – also the longest at 11.5 kilometers.


Just as in previous years this sector separated the possible victors from the victims, and by the end of the arduous unpaved road, the white dust yet to settle, 22 riders had surged clear, while others endured crashes, punctures and beaten legs. Fabian Cancellara, after battling back from a rear flat, came through in the leading group, while Riccardo Zoidl hit the ground hard in a downhill, breaking his collarbone.


“I had a puncture in my back wheel on the Monte Santa Maria, just before the downhill where Riccardo [Zoidl] broke his collarbone and where everything was splitting to pieces,” Cancellara explained soon after the race had finished. “Eugenio [Alafaci] gave me his back wheel and then from far back I had to make my way back to the front.


"I saw some riders from our team, but here it was just about power to get back to the front, there was nothing they could do to help. I spent a lot energy to move back up. When I passed Riccardo I saw he made the sign that the collarbone was broken.”


Omega Pharma-Quick Step had five riders in the leading group, and they quickly went on the offensive sending a rider up the road.  Four others would join him, but the group fought back and caught them a few kilometers later. It was here that Sagan put in a fierce counter attack on an uphill that only Kwiatkowski could follow. 


The pair would increase their lead over the next kilometers with no concerted effort from the group behind, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) further disrupted any chance the riders would work together as he put in a few hard attacks, eventually jumping off the front on Le Tolfe  (1.1km and 18% gradient) and shattering the last remnants of the lead chasing group.  Cancellera joined Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) in pursuit, and the three caught the Spaniard back with eight kilometers to go. But they all knew it was a race for third as ahead Sagan and Kwiatkowski still had 45 seconds lead.  


“At the end there were a lot of attacks from strong riders and I could not do anything,” continued Cancellara. “When the two went away we were looking at each other, and everything was over. Then on Le Tolfe I used the last energy I had, and lucky I was with Roman [Kreuziger] and Damiano [Cunego] to move up to Valverde. But the strongest rider won today.


"Kwiatkowski was playing with us. When I saw him get back, I knew who'd win. Riders know when another rider’s is on a great day, we can see it. He was pedalling really easy and his team was strong too. He was the only one to get across to Peter and then dropped him.


"This race was different this year. It was much harder. I'm not saying it's become a climber's race but it definitely suits riders who are a lot lighter than me.


"To make things worse, both me and Alejandro Valverde punctured and had to chase at one point. I spent a lot of energy to get back on. I don't know if that cost me a chance of victory but I have to be satisfied. I got back on in the same place where Peter attacked but he made a clever move. That's racing. The strongest rider won Strade Bianche. We all saw that."


Valverde put in one last attack on the finish hill and rode in to take the final podium spot, while Cancellara rolled across for sixth, overall content with his result.


“I am happy with how everything went. The parcours is getting harder here, and the peloton is getting stronger each year, too. It was good test for me to go deep today - and I went deep.”


Riccardo Zoidl’s crash is an unfortunate blow to the team as the Austrian neo-pro has shown good results this year, finishing third overall in Tour Méditerranéen.


“We were in a good position with the team, as we knew that would be a key moment in the race,” explained a disappointed Zoidl. “It was a fast downhill and there was wind coming from the left. I was full in the wind and I didn’t maneuver well enough, heading into the turn at the bottom. To top that, I bumped my front wheel in a hole and that was it. I didn’t feel pain straight away, but I knew my collarbone was broken when I touched it with my fingers.”


Neo pro Calvin Watson, his first time racing the white gravel roads of Strade Bianche, explained what the overall experience was like in his first taste of the Classics.


“Today was unbelievable; quite an experience to be riding my first semi-Classic in support of Fabian and the whole team. We gave it a good crack today, but we had a lot of bad luck with crashes and punctures at the wrong time. I also crashed, I came down early on in the race, but I’m okay, just lost some skin, but was able to keep on fighting after that. I think I look more like a warrior fresh from battle than a cyclist right now. It was a great experience!”



Bycykling 101: Navigering i byens gader og cykelvenlige... 27.11.2023 @ 12:11The Best Danish Cyclist To Bet On At 2022 Tour De France 13.01.2022 @ 15:262022 Upcoming Tournament Overview 03.01.2022 @ 09:45Best Place to Find Stand-Up Paddleboards 16.06.2021 @ 08:16What are Primoz Roglic’s Chances to Win 2021 Tour de Fr... 17.03.2021 @ 08:37Amazing victory by young champion Sarah Gigante 04.02.2021 @ 14:21Three reasons why cycling is one of the best ways to ex... 28.09.2020 @ 12:03Why do businesses use meeting room managers? 14.09.2020 @ 13:42Five things that you can do, if you want to gain more f... 20.08.2020 @ 15:38One for the road 09.06.2020 @ 15:25List of CyclingQuotes previews 07.05.2020 @ 13:20Blue Energy: room for all interests 26.08.2019 @ 12:56Get your daily dose of exercise at home 08.07.2019 @ 10:443 good advice to be able to afford your favorite bike 25.02.2019 @ 12:32Cycle through gorgeous landscapes 22.10.2018 @ 21:41Balance Your Economy and Diet and Start Saving Money 08.10.2018 @ 11:18Stay Safe: 3 Helmets That Can Keep Your Head Protected... 20.07.2018 @ 07:59Planning to bet on Tour De France - Bet types and strat... 24.05.2018 @ 14:18Basics of cycling betting 25.10.2017 @ 13:10Bauer moves to ORICA-SCOTT 28.08.2017 @ 10:45End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21

Currently no news in this list

43 years | today
23 years | today
Andrea FEDI
34 years | today
Alessandro TONELLI
32 years | today
31 years | today