Race: Strade Bianche
Start/Finish: San Gimignano/Siena, Italy
Distance: 200 kilometers
Siena, Italy — Team Novo Nordisk’s David Lozano starred in the main break at Saturday’s Strade Bianche, which served as the team’s first appearance at the iconic 1.HC Italian race.
An eight-man group escaped on the first unpaved section of the iconic 200-kilometer race that is known for its white gravel sections. Strade Bianche includes approximately 50 km of unpaved roads over 10 different sectors, including an 11.5-km uphill dirt section.
“Getting into the break wasn’t easy. We weren’t able to escape until after the first section and it was totally full gas,” Lozano explained. “The peloton wouldn’t give us any gap. For the next three hours, I was putting out a crazy high wattage.”
Lozano, an 11-time Spanish national cyclocross and mountain bike champion, was the ideal Team Novo Nordisk rider to make the breakaway due to all of the off-road sections. Lozano excelled in the break and the group built a gap of 7:40 before the Spaniard experienced a tire puncture as the escapees entered the sixth unpaved section. The 26-year-old was unable to make it back to the front group but was quickly joined by several elite riders to form a 10-man chase group.
“After my flat with 55km to go, I stayed with the chase until I was completely spent,” Lozano said. “I wanted to do the work at this race, so I am happy with today.”
The remaining sections proved decisive, diminishing the front group down to only four riders by the final 20 km. Heading into Siena, where the final kilometer featured a 900 meter climb complete with stone pavement and a gradient of 16 percent, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) attacked the remaining escapees and took the win two seconds ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team).
Results: Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) soloed to the win ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, resumes racing next weekend at a pair of Dutch races, Albert Achterhes Pet Ronde van Drenthe and De Weiert Dwars door Drenthe. The 185-km Albert Achterhes Pet Ronde van Drenthe starts on Saturday in Hoogeveen and features multiple cobblestone sections.
(Photo: © tdwsport.com)