Strade Bianche cycling 2021 - Chantal van den Broek-Blaak beats Elisa Longo Borghini to victory
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Anna Van der Breggen made it a day to remember for SD Worx as they came first and second at Strade Bianche Donne. Van den Broek-Blaak powered clear of Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek–Segafredo) inside the final 500km to secure victory. Strade Bianche was live on Eurosport, watch live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk
'Absolute perfection' - Van den Broek-Blaak triumphs at Strade Bianche Donne
The teamwork of SD Worx proved crucial in the win as Borghini was forced to do all the work herself in the two-rider break to avoid being caught and then couldn't go with Van den Broek-Blaak when she attacked.
"I felt pretty good but it was not really the plan for me to win today. We have such an amazing team, so it was unexpected," said Van den Broek-Blaak.
Highlights: 'Incredible' Van den Broek-Blaak wins Strade Bianche Donne
"Yesterday, we made a plan and, actually, from the beginning everything went well. The plan worked out straight away and everyone was super motivated and focused in the race.
'It wasn't the plan for me to win' - Van den Broek-Blaak on Strade Bianche Donne win
"We were there with four in a group of 11 so, of course, we can play the game. It was my job to try it again and Elisa came with me. I was not allowed to ride and I thought it was super smart because normally I cannot follow Elisa on the climbs so I was scared about her.
With 1km to go, I could feel she broke and that I still had something left in the tank. It’s one of my best races in my career.
After a frenetic start that saw a huge splintering of the peloton, it was Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) and Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) who led as the race passed the fifth gravel section with around 45km remaining.
Van den Broek-Blaak takes to podium after Strade Bianche Donne win
But the duo were caught and passed 10km later by a group of eight riders.
The eight was whittled down to four - Mavi Garcia (Ale BTC Ljubljana), Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo), Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing) and Van den Broek-Blaak – after a tough climb.
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Image credit: Getty Images
However, they couldn’t keep away from the likes of defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) as the leading group swelled with the finish line approaching.
Van Vleuten and Vos looked the strongest as they dropped their rivals on a gravel climb, but the attack wasn’t decisive as the main contenders came together with 8km remaining.
Van den Broek-Blaak and Longo Borghini then pulled away and the former rode to victory with a push up the final climb.