Strade Bianche 2018: Tiesj Benoot solos to glorious and muddy victory

Strade Bianche amounts to 184 kilometres and takes in eleven 'sterrati'. This means that the riders face 63 kilometres on mud roads, as it is raining incessantly in Tuscany. Tiesj Benoot leaves Romain Bardet and cyclo-cross champion Wout van Aert behind on the last sector to solo to victory. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 2018 Strade Bianche

1. Tiesj Benoot (bel)
2. Romain Bardet (fra) + 0.39
3. Wout Van Aert (bel) + 0.58
4. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 1.25
5. Giovanni Visconti (ita) + 1.27
6. Robert Power (aus) + 1.29
7. Zdenek Stybar (cze) + 1.42
8. Peter Sagan (svk) + 2.08
9. Pieter Serry (bel) + 2.11
10. Gregor Mühlberger (aut) + 2.16

Race report
Shortly after the second sector the peloton breaks in two. Approximately 70 riders in the first group put 3 minutes into the chasers, but the groups rejoin after a long chase.

Meanwhile, a front group of eight riders takes shape with Edvald Boasson Hagen, Pierre Latour, Quentin Jauregui, Victor Campenaerts, Laurent Madouas, Mark Padun, Truls Korsaeth and Sepp Kuss. They race to a maximum lead of 6 minutes, but it goes down just as fast. When they are almost caught, with 63 kms to go, Latour and Madouas attack, while José Joaquin Rojas bridges across from the main group. More riders rejoin the leaders, among them title defender Michal Kwiatkowski, Alejandro Valverde, Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Søren Kragh Andersen and World Champion cyclo-cross Wout Van Aert.

Peter Sagan and Tiesj Benoot rejoin the front group. The chasers are close behind.

Valverde attacks with 48 kms to go, while Bardet hooks on with the chasers. When Valverde is brought back, the Frenchman pushes on alone and Van Aert jumps to his wheel. Behind them the chasing group widens to a small peloton before Power, Moscon, Latour, Küng, Puccio, Visconti, Mühlberger, Madouas, Amador, Benoot and Serry attack. Shortly the two Belgians, Benoot and Serry, head out together. At the penultimate sector, the steep Strade di Colle Pinzuto, Benoot leaves his compatriot alone, while Power and Visconti bridge across to Serry.

Benoot tracks down Van Aert and Bardet with 15 kms to go before he goes solo on the last mud road. Serry, Power and Visconti are reeled in by the chasing group with Stybar and Valverde on board.

Benoot tackles the last climb in Siena 45 seconds ahead of Bardet and Van Aert. The 23-year old Fleming makes no mistake on the final haul up to the Piazza del Campo to take his first pro-victory. Bardet drops Van Aert on the final climb to take second place.

Read also: route 2018 Strade Bianche

Strade Bianche 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Tiesj Benoot

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