Thomas Pidcock wins the Strade Bianche ahead of Valentin Madouas
Even in his absence, the shadow of Tadej Pogacar hangs over Tuscany. Saturday March 4, Thomas Pid**** won the classic Strade Bianche, in Italy, thanks to a sharp attack more than fifty kilometers from the finish, in the same place as the Slovenian, winner a year earlier.
The Briton won on the Piazza del Campo in Siena with a twenty-second lead over Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma). This is the fourth professional victory for the Ineos-Grenadiers rider, the second this season after that acquired on the fourth stage of the Tour of Algarve on February 18. A prestigious success in the white paths of Tuscany, a race sometimes considered the sixth monument of cycling.
“That was not the plan at all even though the area was ripe for attack, reacted the 23-year-old runner to the microphone of Eurosport. I saw the opportunity on a descent and I said to myself “go for it”. I had a feeling that this day could be mine. I don’t realize what I did. »
Tom Pid**** is the 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 British man to win the Strade Bianche 🇬🇧 It was touch and go with 7km to go – but wow, di… https://t.co/FhqJaYDGMZ
Thomas Pid**** escaped in the Monte Sante Marie sector, fifty kilometers from the line, with Alberto Bettiol and Andrea Bagioli. At the same time, Julian Alaphilippe was released, like Mathieu van der Poel a little later. Pid**** quickly unclamped his two companions before taking over, thanks to his technical ease on the gravel resulting from his cyclo-cross experience, the last two breakaways in the morning: Sven Erik Bystrom and Alessandro de Marchi. He finally dropped the latter 23 kilometers from Siena, the scene of the finish.
Alone, the winner of the Alpe d’Huez stage during the Tour de France 2022 resisted the pack of competitors launched in pursuit. The latter did not agree to come back to the Olympic mountain bike champion and had to be content with runners-up on the podium.
Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel disappoint
In this game, the Frenchman Valentin Madouas was the strongest, breaking out of the chasing group – made up of five riders – with Tiesj Benoot on the last climb to reach Piazza del Campo. He beat the Belgian in the sprint to take second place. This bodes well for the rider from the Groupama-FDJ team less than a month from the Tour of Flanders, where he finished third last season.
Winner here in 2019, Julian Alaphilippe did not, however, experience the same race as his compatriot. If he didn’t fall like in the previous edition, he was never able to play for victory. However, he had won two weeks earlier, on the Ardèche Classic but against a less demanding field.
Also already winner of the Strade Bianche, in 2021, Mathieu van der Poel missed his recovery on the road after a winter spent in the plowing of the cyclo-cross ended with a fifth world title. He tried to come back to Thomas Pid**** 42 kilometers from the finish, in vain, before cracking.
The good surprise came from another Frenchman: Romain Grégoire. At only 20 years old and for his first season in the Groupama-FDJ World Tour team, the 2021 European junior champion took eighth position.