2024 Strade Bianche – Race Report

How the race finished

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx Protime) took her second victory at Strade Bianche, overpowering Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) on the closing slopes. Teammate Demi Vollering outsprinted Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) for third.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

The 2024 Strade Bianche played out over 137 km, with twelve gravel sectors and over 2000m of climbing in total. After a rainy day, the white roads were more mud than dust, leading to a careful tactical race as the favourites kept their powder dry and carefully picked their moments to attack.

In the first gravel sector at Vidritta, the bunch rode together at a steady pace. The peloton strung out on the approach to the second, much hillier gravel sector, but once again remained intact. The first real attacks came on the San Martino in Grania section, as the long gravel climb wound its way upwards. No one got away, but the bunch whittled down to around sixty riders.

At 55km to go the breakaway of the day finally got clear. A number of strong riders were present, with most of the major teams present. The group included Yara Kastelijn (Fenix-Deceuninck), Neve Bradbury (Canyon//Sram Racing), Amber Kraak (FDJ Suez), Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx Protime), Lizzie Deignan (Lidl Trek), Letizia Borghesi (EF Education Cannondale), Barbara Malcotti (Human Powered Health), Alena Amialiusik (UAE Team ADQ), Kim Le Court (AG Insurance Soudal Team), Anouska Koster (Uno-X Mobility), Riejanne Markus (Visma | Lease a Bike). 

With Liv Alula Jayco missing the break, Mavi Garcia took up the chase, pushing the pace on the front of the bunch on her own. The gap continued to creep out, and the breakaway built a lead of over 1 minute 15 seconds. On the next gravel sector, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx Protime) put the hurt on, splitting the group. After the sector, only around twelve riders remained, with most of the favourites present. 

A fast descent on drying roads saw Bredewold, Deignan and Koster all go down, splitting the breakaway up. Reijanne Markus, Amber Kraak and Alena Amialiusik stayed clear out the front, but their lead had slid to around forty seconds. Behind, SD Worx-Protime, who were no longer represented in the break, put Niamh Fisher-Black on the front to pull the remaining breakaway riders back. Fisher-Black edged the peloton closer, with no help from any other teams, before Kopecky closed a gap to Deignan. 

The second group on the road swelled with riders coming back, allowing teams to regroup and manage the chase. With Lidl-Trek on the front, the remaining breakaway riders were swept up on the next steep sector. With only 20km remaining, a mechanical and bike change spelled disaster for Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance Soudal Team), while other riders simply couldn’t hold the pace. 

Lea Curinier (FDJ Suez) attacked over the top of the climb, stretching the bunch. Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime)  launched a counterattack, with Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) in her wheel. The pair were neutralised, before the next attack came from Puck Pieterse (Fenix Deceuninck). When she was brought back Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez) tried her luck, but was once again tracked by Vollering. The group began to split, but then came back together as the pace went out again.

On the final gravel sector, Canyon//Sram Racing took to the front, with Elise Chabbey leading out for Kasia Niewiadoma, who tried to attack on the 18% gradient. The group split again, with only Vollering, Longo Borghini and Kopecky able to hold on with Niewiadoma. Despite appearing to be on the limit at the back, Kopecky attacked over the top, and only Longo Borghini was able to make it across. 

The pair worked together to maintain their lead, as the pair behind were rejoined by others. Elisa Longo Borghini led out into the Via Santa Caterina, and with 500 metres to go, on the steep gradients, Lotte Kopecky launched her attack and never looked back. Longo Borghini rolled in for second, before Vollering outsprinted Niewiadoma for the third place on the podium.

Full Results

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