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Strade Bianche : Vliegen 18th in the Tuscan heat

Strade Bianche : Vliegen 18th in the Tuscan heat

The heat dominated the surroundings of the Fortezza Medicea, which marks the Tuscan hills in Sienna, and accompanied the peloton all day during this restart of the World Tour, the Strade Bianche (1.WT, 1/08). The Italian classic was opened from the first non asphalted sections by a breakaway of six riders, with Corné Van Kessel. The group was then stretched, and chased by a very excited peloton.

At the back, Fabien Doubey was victim of a crash and consequently, excluded from the front. Also Quinten Hermans was eliminated from the peloton because of a puncture. Timothy Dupont and Pieter Vanspeybrouck suffered a lot from the heat and had to abandon the race after the accomplishment of their tasks. Xandro Meurisse and Loïc Vliegen were still among the favorites, but the group continuously skimmed. Vliegen was able to follow until the Saint-Marie section, where a group with future winner Wout Van Aert attacked. Finally, Vliegen reached the streets of Sienna with ex-winner Kwiatkowski, Van der Poel, Pogacar and others, and achieved a nice 18th place.

Loïc Vliegen:

«  It was a day full of madness, because of the heat and the lack of visibility caused by the dust. A good condition was necessary to perform well today, but also hydration was key. When the group with Van Aert went, I had a weak moment because of the heat. Afterwards, I felt better again and was in the running for a top 10 until a group of strong riders caught us with 10 kilometer to go. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep up with them on the final climb towards the Piazzo del Campo. But I’m happy with my performance. »

Hilaire Van der Schueren:

« Just like we expected, the Strade Bianche were a true spectacle. We raced well today, but also had some common bad luck. Doubey crashed, and Hermans was forced to chase because of a puncture. Loïc Vliegen managed the elimination race well and battled for a long time for 9th place. This is good for the confidence for all of us! »

Strade Bianche:

1. Wout Van Aert
2. Davide Formolo +0:30
3. Maximilian Schachmann +0:32
18. Loïc Vliegen +10:11
DNF Fabien Doubey
DNF Timothy Dupont
DNF Quinten Hermans
DNF Xandro Meurisse
DNF Corné Van Kessel
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck