Kwiato: Strade one of the toughest races

03 Mar 2018

Kwiato: Strade one of the toughest races

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Michal Kwiatkowski revealed that the 12th edition of Strade Bianche was ‘one of the toughest races I’ve ever done’ after navigating 184km of treacherous terrain with variable weather conditions throughout.

It was not to be Team Sky’s day as Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) bridged from a lead group to catch a break then powered past them to seal his first WorldTour win ahead of Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willems Crelan). 
 
 Gianni Moscon crossed the line first for Team Sky, with Kwiatkowski part of a small group of pre-race favourites that were unable to catch the leaders.

And while disappointed not to have won his third Strade title, ‘Kwiato’ was pleased with his overall performance. 

He said: “As I said yesterday, it was brutal and muddy! It was risky. Luckily it’s over! For sure, it’s one of the toughest races I’ve ever done.
 
“I feel like I was well positioned and I did a good race, but in the end I just missed a little power to go away and do my own race. It’s a pity. But I’m happy that I didn’t crash, I survived, and I made it through. 
 
“We tried attacking each other, [Peter] Sagan, [Alejandro] Valverde, and some other favourites, but then the group went away. You had to be really smart to know how to race and the strongest guy won.”
Kwiatkowski climbing on a muddy sector

Kwiatkowski climbing on a muddy sector

Salvatore Puccio and Gianni Moscon finished in one of the leading chase groups

Salvatore Puccio and Gianni Moscon finished in one of the leading chase groups

Salvatore Puccio revealed that the sodden Siena test felt like a ‘race of two halves’ and like Kwiatkowski, was astounded at the nature of the challenge.   

He told TeamSky.com: “I’ve never done a race like that. We were expecting it, because of the weather we’ve had for the last few days, but the parcours was worse than I thought it would be.
 
“It was so muddy in a few points. But when it stopped raining it was much better - particularly the last 50 kilometres. 

"From there it felt like a different race, but everyone gave their best. It was full gas all day. A tough, tough day.”
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Puccio was part of a chasing group that finished outside the top 10, but he had recovered well from an earlier setback to be in that position with the top contenders after some misfortune with 55km to go.

He continued: “I was dropped once on a steep downhill when I took the wrong line, through the mud, and almost crashed. 

“Then my chain dropped on the sector before Monte Santa Marie and I worked hard to get back, so on there I wasn’t feeling too good. I just kept my pace, and slowly came back.”
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