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.