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Strade Bianche | Ad-Free

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Gosh that was enjoyable.

Men's race coming up shortly over here. If it's half as good as what we just saw I'll be chuffed.
Strade Bianche
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Longo Borghini holds on for second.

But she has to sprint for it...
Anna van der Breggen is there hot on her heels in third, and the Dutchwoman punches the air with delight at her teammate's win.

Van den Broek-Blaak is going to take this...

A tactical masterclass from SD Worx.

Now van den Broek-Blaak lights it up!

Longo Borghini cannot respond.

They're into the close, cobbled streets of old-town Siena

Van den Broek-Blaak conitnues to sit in as passenger.

Fiamma rossa!

And the leading pair have 17".

2km to go – Longo Borghini getting no help

And she looks pretty irked with van den Broek-Blaak for not aiding her.
The gap, however, is 13 seconds! That's pretty good!

3km to go – Into Siena

We've hit the city limits and Moolman-Pasio is tearing into the gap now to the leaders, effectively chasing down her own teammate. Shades of men's Movistar Tour de France tactics here.

5km to go – Marta Cavalli bridging

And that finally stirs some response from the world champion. Anna van der Breggen is clearly worried about the young Italian talent Cavalli and immediately covers the move from the FDJ rider.

6km to go – Van den Broek-Blaak over the top!

This is ferocious stuff from SD Worx and perfect tactics too. They are attacking with their superior numbers, to weaken and isolate the key riders on other teams. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak launches a big acceleration.
Elisa Longo Borghini and Kasia Niewidoma are getting absolutely worked over here, with the Italian champ taking it upon herself to follow this move from van den Broek-Blaak.

8km to go – Catch made

The two leaders Vos and van Vleuten are brought back with eight kilometres to go. Now then...
Before I can even finish typing that, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio attacks with Cavalli and van Dijk.

10km to go – Legends, champions, gladiators!

Saying there are some big names in this lead group would be like saying Strade Bianche being a monument divides opinion.
Longo Borghini, van der Breggen, Niewidoma, Cavalli, Spratt. They're all here and chasing Vos and van Vleuten!
I'm feeling all of a flutter.

12km to go – Van Vleuten in the mood for a fight

The first show of strength from indomitable Annemiek?
This elite group are taking on a gravel climb and it's the European champ van Vleuten leading the way with a big acceleration. Lotte Kopecky and Mavi Garcia are out the back.
Right now only Vos can hold the wheel of van Vleuten.

15km to go – Super elite selection

Pick any top-tier bike racer. They're in this group.
As we see another chasing group make contact with the head of the race, it swells to about 16 riders. Spratt is here, Uttrup-Ludwig, van Vleuten, Vos, Longo Borghini. As well as those names we gave you below.
Van den Broek-Blaak and Longo Borghini have just attacked this lead group. Then Kopecky and Garcia follow.

16km to go – Nine in the lead...

A heroic effort from Annemiek van Vleuten has towed the second group on the road over to the leaders. We now have nine up front.

17km to go – All over the place

Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo), Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing) and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) have about 10 seconds on the next chasing group, a quintet of riders. They are tackling another sector of sterrato,
Behind that five, there's another few groups, all separated by a handful of seconds. It's chaotic stuff!

20km to go – This could go all the way.

It's early doors, but this could be a winning move here. We have four strong riders from four of the main teams in this race. Again, Canyon SRAM miss the move.
We're seeing Marianne Vos monstering a huge gear as she attempts to bridge over to the leaders.

25km to go – Banks dropped

Eight is now four at the very front of this race, with Brit Lizzy Banks and Brodie Chapman among those dropped on a tough climb.
Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo), Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing) and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) are the quartet at the very front.

Big changes!

Despite what the tweet below says, that group of eight are NOT the chasers, they are now the leaders. They have brought back and overtaken Fisher-Black & Kopecky.
Mavi Garcia is in there for Alé BTC Ljubljana and she is a huge name.

35km to go – Can Kasia cash in?

Katarzyna Niewiadoma has spoken already this week about just how important this race is to her.
The Pole DNFed last year, but was on the podium in 2019. Whether she can find the strength to move a couple of places higher up might very well depend on how much help she can rely on from her teammates.
They've been investing energy already today to keep the break pegged.

40km to go – Four words to make the hairs on your neck stand up...

Has any phrase ever sounded sweeter in the ears of a breakaway rider than 'no concerted chase effort'.
Fisher-Black and Kopecky must try to capitalise on the lack of organisation behind as we enter the last hour of racing. TV pictures in 15 live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player.

45km to go – Nice bike ride in Tuscany you got there...

...would be a real shame if a peloton of the world's best bike racers were to chase you down and ruin it.
Mechanical for Moolman-Pasio sees her dropped, but she's back in the bunch now after a speedy bike change.

50km to go – Dropped riders getting back in

After a frenetic start that saw a huge splintering of the peloton, we're hearing that a lot of those riders are now working their way back into the bunch.
It's Canyon SRAM doing the hard yards to control the break at the moment, but you'd expect Trek to also lend a hand – given they too have missed this two-woman move.
Fisher-Black and Kopecky have 33 seconds on the chasing bunch.

54km to go – Look on my SD Worx, ye mighty, and despair

A fearsome lineup for SD Worx this year. The strength in depth they have managed to amass is quite astonishing, with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio brought in to the squad for this race, after sitting out Omloop and Le Samyn.
Their rider Niamh Fisher-Black is still up the road at the moment with Lotte Kopecky from Liv.

DNS for Deignan

One big blow to Trek Segafredo's hopes this morning, there will be no Lizzie Deignan involved in the race this year after she withdrew late with illness.
It's a big shame, she and teammate Elisa Longo Borghini really brought the adventurous attacking spirit last season and functioned amazingly well as a dynamic duo.
Here's the Trek team that will start.

110km to go – Morning, morning!

And welcome to the Eurosport live blog for the women's edition of Strade Bianche, I'll be your conductor on this train to gravelly goodness, Tom Owen! You can find me on twitter
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That's enough pleasantries now, we are already well underway in Italy with a two-woman break up the road. And it's two BIG names who have broken free, Tuesday's Le Samyn winner Lotte Kopecky (Liv Cycling) and Niamh Fisher-Black of the ferociously strong SD Worx team.

Women in sport special headlines International Women’s Day on Eurosport

On Monday March 8, Eurosport UK will deliver a variety of multi-platform content celebrating International Women’s Day.
IWD Women in Sport, a brand new hour-long special – airing at 7pm on Eurosport 1, will headline the day’s activity, featuring honest and insightful opinion around key issues and talking points across a broad range of sport.
Orla Chennaoui, the face of Eurosport’s Grand Tour cycling coverage, will host the discussion with guests including former England netball head coach Tracey Neville, former British tennis number one Annabel Croft and UCI professional cyclist Lizzy Banks. Further interviews include 12-time snooker world champion Reanne Evans and Faye Ho – entrepreneur and the newest owner of a British Superbike and road racing team.

IWD special – ‘We get trolled a lot more than men’ – Tracey Neville on the life of a woman in sport

How to watch the event

Strade Bianche 2021 is live on Eurosport.
You can watch the race unfold on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app. You can download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
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