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Strade Bianche

S. Petilli (9th) : “We showed again our presence collectively”

This Saturday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux participated in one of the most spectacular races of the season, the Strade Bianche (1.UWT, 5/03), in which more than 60 kilometers of “white roads”  around Siena (Tuscany) were divided in eleven sections. 

Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn, who was impressive in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne last Sunday, once more joined the early breakaway of nine riders. Together, the nine men achieved a maximal advantage of 4 minutes after the first three gravel sections in the first race hour.

When the rhythm in the peloton increased on the fifth section, more than twenty riders were involved in a crash. After crashes of Jan Bakelants and Théo Delacroix, Quinten Hermans and Lorenzo Rota were involved in this big incident. With the help of their teammate Simone Petilli both men managed to close the 2 minute gap to the peloton behind the breakaway with Taco van der Hoorn.

The stainless van der Hoorn continued his effort at the front of the race until the Monte Sante Marie with 50 kilometer to go. The climb made an end to his breakaway of 130km, after which the favorites accelerated and the transalpine duo Rota and Petilli battled in the chasing group behind new race leader Pogacar.

At the end of an exciting final race hour, Simone Petilli took ninth place, finishing as the first Italian rider. Just behind, Lorenzo Rota crossed the line on the Piazza del Campo in Siena in thirteenth place despite a hurting hand. Both Rota and Bakelants’ injuries will be examined at the hospital.

« Our strong collective performance in Laigueglia last Wednesday and the high level of our leader Lorenzo Rota gave us a lot of confidence ahead of the Strade Bianche. With Taco van der Hoorn in the breakaway it was a perfect start to the race, behind we tried to race in the front and to survive as good as possible. Despite his crash, Lorenzo was again strong today. In the final we worked hard to chase the group of counterattackers but there was no real collaboration. There were many attacks and this is how I managed to finish in the top ten. Given his performance, also Lorenzo deserved this result, so I think we can conclude that we again collectively showed our presence in the front. »

« It was a fantastic feeling to be back in Italy! It was a hard day in the early breakaway, but I enjoyed the many encouragements during this nice race. Our purpose was to anticipate so I could race in support of our leaders in the final. We worked well together to increase our advantage on the peloton, but also there they kept racing at a high pace. Unfortunately we were caught on the Monte Sante Marie, so I didn’t get a chance to help my teammates. The performance of Simone and Lorenzo was pure class, so I'm a happy man here on the Piazza del Campo. I’ll continue my race schedule with the Tirreno-Adriatico before returning to the Belgian classics, where I’ll try again! »


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