Michal Kwiatkowski beat Peter Sagan in an action-packed edition of the new Italian classic Strade Bianche. We have already posted several reactions and have gathered a few more below.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana, 61st +14.08)
“I saw that lead group of 20 riders go away with 40km to the finish and I went with them – but in the dirt road section I got caught in a gap between a descent and a climb and lost contact."
Roberto Reverberi (sports director Bardiani whose best rider was Marco Canola in 22nd and who had Angelo Pagani in the day's break)
"The Strade Bianche has confirmed itself as a really demanding race. Pagani did a good performance, especially when he attacked on the Monte Santa Marie gravel road. Unfortunately, the leading group came back very fast and he was obviously tired and didn’t have the possibility to follow them.
"Anyway looking the age of our riders and that for the most part it was the first time in this race, we can be quite satisfied. Tomorrow we’ll have the Roma Maxima, a different kind of race where we aim at a great result."
Oscar Pellicioli (sports director Colombia whose best rider was Miguel Angel Rubiano in 24th and whose captain Jarlinson Pantano dropped his chain just as the selection happened on the key gravel sector)
“Jarlinson really did care a lot about this race, and we are sorry to see his disappointment after he gave it all to battle with the strongest, and showed he had what it takes to go for a result. Reality is that, in races like this, mechanicals happen more often than usual, and even minor issues can have a huge impact.Unfortunately, that was the case today.”
Pirmin Lang (IAM, did not finish)
“The conditions were really windy, with both a headwind and crosswind taking its toll. This made it even hard to keep a good position in the wake of the Cannondale team pace. Sagan’s team put their pedals down and really raised the speed in the pack. Aside from a short spell after the breakaway separated itself, we were always pushing the speedometer above 40 km/h. This effectively made it even harder for us to come back from our mishaps and try to turn our luck around.
"The teams are incredibly competitive and it left very little space for any escape attempts. Compared to when I raced here last year, the level is even higher. We really hoped to be able to keep the pace and find a way into the right breakaway. Just glancing at the top 10 on the ranking table at the race confirms the importance of doing that.”
Marcello Albasini (sports director IAM whose best rider was Martin Elmiger in 25th)
“Once again we were missing a rider to race at the front with the best when the deciding moves were being made. The team performed well and it worked in harmony for our leader and best asset, Thomas Löfkvist. But it didn’t take Löfkvist long to realize that he was not at his best for this race, and he was sorry about it.
"And in the face of that, with the conditions made even more difficult with a strong wind, we had our share of bad luck with punctures hitting both Lang and Aregger. When our team car is back in 16th position, this complicates being able to provide any service.”
Dennis Van Niekerk (MTN-Qhubeka, did not finish)
“It was quite an epic race. I mean to be racing with a field like today is really an honour. We raced for Sergio [Pardilla], Daniel [Teklehaimanot] and Kristian [Sbaragli] today. Trying to keep them in a good position before section 7, the 11.5km white road, as we knew this is where the selection would be made."
Manel Lacambra (sports director MTN-Qhubeka whose best rider was Sergio Pardilla in 32nd)
“This is a crazy, beautiful and hard race. The first 40km were very fast because everyone was trying to be in the break. We were in so many moves but finally the break went without us.
“The Cannondale team took control of the bunch with high speed and all teams we were just following and trying to survive in the first group. It was really difficult because there were so many crashes and punctures from all the teams.
“At the final selection Sergio was just 10 seconds behind the front group at the top of the harder gravel section but it was just not possible to catch them. Sergio was able to make it to the final kilometres with the 2nd main group. I think top 30.
“This was the first time our African team has raced here and now we have the experience for next year. We saw some positive things from our performance today and for sure we will be better in the next events. The team is getting into a good rhythm now at the races, this is good for what is to come."
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