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Annemiek van Vleuten wins the 2019 women's Strade Bianche after solo attack

Going clear on the final sector of gravel road, Annemiek van Vleuten never looked like being caught

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) won the 2019 Strade Bianche thanks to a decisive attack on the final sector of gravel, one of the white roads that give the race its name. Despite the best efforts of defending champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and a group of seven other riders, the gap never looked like coming down fast enough to deny Van Vleuten the win.

As the group hit the bottom of the final climb they were already resigned to looking at each other and battling for the minor places.

The 2019 Strade Bianche: a very fast day

Covering 136km of tarmac and white gravel roads in Tuscany, the 2019 women's Strade Bianche marked the start of this year's Women's WorldTour.

A rapid day meant that a break struggled to establish itself and the peloton outstripped the organisation's fastest predicted schedule.

Such was the speed that live television coverage, beamed around the glove, joined the racing with just 14km left to the finish line in Siena, but soon enough to see the winning move.

Van Vleuten chose her moment to attack and went clear on the final section of white road and soon had a sizeable gap over her would-be chasers.

The task ahead of the Dutchwoman was then to stay away solo for the remaining 11km or so. With limited cooperation behind, her gap extended as the group of around eight riders hoped to bring her back.

Present in the chasing group was defending champion Van der Breggen riding in the rainbow stripes of World Champion.

Out of the lanes, away from the gravel and now out on the wide main roads on the edge of Siena the chasers could see Van Vleuten ahead but even so her advantage was not coming down with any urgency.

Either questioning her own form, and so working for her team, or frustrated by the pace of the chase, Van der Breggen could be seen on the front of the group driving it on. Regardless, her compatriot was seemingly only getting further ahead and the win was assured long before the grind up to the finish line.