Strade Bianche 2015: Stybar bests Van Avermaet and Valverde in thrilling finale

The Strade Bianche 2015 brings a break of eight riders, amongst them Julián Arredondo. But when the going get's tough it's up to the specialists - Valverde, Van Avermaet, Stybar and Vanmarcke. The latter is dropped on the last dust road and the other three are off for a thrilling finale. Former cyclo-cross world champion Stybar counter-attacks Van Avermaet on the steep closing climb in arrival town Siena and wins the race. Valverde finishes third. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 2015 Strade Bianche

1. Zdenek Stybar (cze)
2. Greg Van Avermaet (bel) + 0.01
3. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.18
4. Sep Vanmarcke (bel) + 0.45
5. Diego Rosa (ita) + 0.56
6. Oscar Gatto (ita) + 0.59
7. Rigoberto Uran (col) s.t.
8. Fabio Felline (ita) + 1.02
9. Przemyslaw Niemic (pol) + 1.03
10. Giampaolo Caruso (ita) s.t.

Race report
It’s only 10 minutes into the race and Arredondo jump off the front the peloton. Pirazzi and Berlato are on his wheel and Colli, Fonzi, Ovetsjkin, Lozano and Kosjevoj bridge the gap. The eight race to a maximum gain of 7’36” with three gravel sectors done.

The pack takes control and Movistar brings the gap down to 3’52”. Pirazzi gets down in gravel sector 6 and three of his fellow-escapees are history also. Only Arredondo, Ovetsjkin, Colli and Fonzi upfront.

Boom, Stybar, Sagan and Valverde try to break free in the pack, but their escape doesn’t last. But the high pace brings the break back to under 1 minute and the pack is reduced significantly.

On Monte Sante Marie, one of the most testing dust sectors, the war is on. The escapees are eat alive and a new front group marks de Strade Bianche 2015 – Cancellara, Vanmarcke, Sagan, Stybar, Rosa, Valverde, Cort Nielsen, Van Avermaet, Oss and Haas.

Still on Monte Sante Marie Sagan attacks and Stybar and Valverde react. They race to a 0’26” gap, but once back on the asphalt they are accompanied by Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet, Cancellara, Oss, Rosa and Haas. With 25 km’s left Oss goes solo, but he is swallowed whole when Vanmarcke attacks on Monteaperti, the climb Kwiatkowski and Sagan attacked last year to race to the podium. This time Sagan is dropped. Vanmarcke is accompanied by Van Avermaet, Valverde, Stybar and Cancellara, but Spartacus is dropped a little later.

On the last dust road Vanmarcke faces his defeat and Van Avermaet, Valverde and Stybar are flying. With 12 km’s left the trio is going to decide on the Strade Bianche win in 2015.

The 16% closing climb in arrival town Siena is decisive. Van Avermaet attack, Valverde can’t cope, but the counter-attack by Stybar is hard and ferocious. He wins the race.

Strade Bianche 2015: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Zdenek Stybar

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