strade bianche donne

The Strade Bianche is the pretty little sister of the 'Spring Classics'. It might not have the cobbles of Flanders, or the length of Liege-Bastogne-Liege; but the white roads of Tuscany bring their own challenge and romance for a bike race. Technical and slippery, in the wet or the dry; the Strade Bianche is a notoriously difficult race to win. 

We travelled to Italy to follow the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team; as they rode an incredible race, in true 'Spring Classics' conditions...

 

Strade Bianche Donne

Rolling out from the team bus, Giorgia Bronzini smiles and jokes. A home country race for her, she knows the Wiggle High5 Team has brought a strong squad to Siena.

 

strade bianche donne 2017

British rider Amy Roberts' face is a picture of concentration; she knows the role she has to play in making today a success.

 

Japan's Mayuko Hagiwara displays quiet confidence, in the face of the oncoming storm.

 

strade bianche 2017

Race favourite Elisa Longo Borghini smiles to her Italian fans as she approaches the start.

 

Strade Bianche Donne 2017

Heading out of Siena, the peloton makes its way into the rolling Tuscany countryside. The rain holds off, for now; and the battle is yet to begin.

 

strade bianche donne audrey and elisa

The riders kick up dust as they hit the first section of Strade Bianche. Audrey Cordon-Ragot keeps Elisa Longo Borghini into prime position at the head of the race.

 

strade bianche 2017

The sky darkens. The impending rain makes its way onto the horizon, and looks set to ignite the race as it moves into the latter stages.

 

strade bianche donne wiggle 2017

On the longest segment of the course, the peloton has thinned out and accelerated - only the strongest riders remain.

 

Elisa continues to hold a strong position in the front few places of the pack.

 

Audrey's expression shows hints of a smile - the plan seems to be coming together.

 

Then a crash. Elisa goes down hard. Bike damaged, she performs a fast bike switch with Audrey, and battles on until the team car can reach her. 

 

In an incredible show of strength, Elisa battles her way back to the front of the peloton as they head into the final few segments.

 

Audrey heads back to help Mayuko

After her valiant sacrifice, Audrey continues to help her team mates; coaxing and guiding Mayuko through the final kilometres.

 

At the front of the race, Elisa storms up the final climb; leaving her counterparts in her wake - no one can hold her wheel. Hands aloft she celebrates - a true team victory for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling.

 

Bubbles flow on the podium, as Elisa celebrates not only a great result, but also becoming #1 on the Women's World Tour classification.

 

An incredible performance for Wiggle High5 - on a prestigious and historic race.

 

About the author

Tim Wiggins
Published on: 31 Mar 2017

Tim Wiggins is an avid cyclist, involved in all aspects of the sport. Whether it is mountain bike marathons, or 500km road rides... he loves life on two wheels. He is also a keen trail runner in the off-season!