Niewiadoma Misses Out On Podium

Kasia Niewiadoma wore her heart on her sleeve at the Strade Bianche on March 2nd, clearly upset after crossing the line fourth. Niewiadoma was overtaken just metres before the line to just miss out on a podium spot, for what would have been her fifth time on the podium at the race. The CANYON//SRAM Racing rider was bitterly disappointed at the finish to have her podium place snatched away. Teammate Elise Chabbey finished the Women’s World Tour race in eighth place, after playing a phenomenal support role.

With a fast pace, no significant breakaways formed in the early part of the race. Chabbey led the action with a trio of riders that formed at the end of the 9.5 km-long sector five. With 45 km remaining, Neve Bradbury joined a new move with eleven riders, who built a lead to more than one minute on a reduced peloton that still held Niewiadoma, Chabbey, Soraya Paladin and Ricarda Bauernfeind for CANYON//SRAM Racing.

The new parcours final circuit and additional gravel sectors created an unknown dynamic in the race. With Bradbury’s breakaway eventually caught, Chabbey led Niewiadoma into the twelfth and final sector – Le Tolfe. Niewiadoma’s attack soon after, reduced the leaders to five riders who started a series of new attacks. With ten kilometres to go, an attack by Demi Vollering followed by Niewiadoma was countered by Lotte Kopecky and Elisa Longo Borghini. The duo went on to finish first and second, respectively. Behind, a five-rider group with Niewiadoma was forced to lead the chase. The Polish rider led into the brutally steep slopes of the final climb up Via Santa Caterina. Vollering overtook Niewiadoma, but she came back around to take the lead into the right-hand corner with 400 metres remaining. Niewiadoma held third until the very last metres into Piazza del Campo and ultimately crossed the finish line to take fourth place.

RIDER REACTIONS

With a podium achingly close, Niewiadoma spoke about the race afterwards.

“I enjoyed racing with Neve and Alice (Towers), who were working to be in the front and keeping the rest of the team safe. Their commitment and fighting hearts are promising for the future. We were committed to the race and made improvements compared to last weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which was important.”

“I hoped Kopecky and Longo Borghini would start playing the game, and the gap would come down before Santa Caterina. That didn’t happen. At the bottom, I went hard, and at one point, Vollering passed me. I had a moment of crisis, but I turned it around and could come back ahead of her. From that moment, I gave everything to stay in front. Seeing her go past me at the finish line was heartbreaking.”

“I know getting third place was not our goal of the victory, but it would be nice for our team. It hurts to lose the podium in the final metres.”

“My general feelings are good. I’m better than last year. With my next block of preparations, I aim to make another step. I’m motivated. Racing Strade Bianche and not being able to achieve what we came here to achieve made me angry, sad, and devastated, but I am motivated to come back and win,.”

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