Zdenek has won the upcoming classic Strade Bianche. Our favorite was the strongest on the last climb to the finish in Siena. Greg Van Avermaet became second and Alejandro Valverde third. It’s Styby his first victory of the season.
“Incredible”, said Zdenek after the finish. “Winning here, on the Piazza del Campo, such a beautiful place, is a dream. An explosion of happiness when you can spread your arms as you know they will not come back after you.”
It was only the ninth edition of the Strade Bianche today, but in that short time it already has become a classic. The race contains a lot of gravel sectors. Fabian Cancellara, Philippe Gilbert and Michal Kwiatkowski are a few names who won it already. And now Styby.
“I love this track. It is technical, constantly going up and down and then you have those gravel sectors. I was hoping to play a role here. The team gave me a lot of confidence this morning when they said I would be the race captain.”
And the Czech champion showed himself. At 50 kilometer from the finish, he went in the attack together with Peter Sagan and Alejandro Valverde. “But that was really too early. We decided to wait for a chase group, containing also big names.”
“We went into the final with a group of eight or nine. But after one of the last sectors we were only with three left: Van Avermaet, Valverde and me. I was afraid of Valverde, but also from Van Avermaet, because he didn’t do much in the last five kilometers.”
The Belgian from BMC then placed the first attack on the steep final climb. “I had expected his attack, but not so early on the climb. I got on his wheel but I knew I’d have to overtake him at the top otherwise I’d be second. And I did it.”
“This victory is very important for me. It comes after a period in which I had a lot of bad luck: my crash in the Eneco Tour and the one at the cyclocross of Ardooie. It was a long way back and that is why this victory is so special. I dedicate it to my wife Ine and my family.”
The next race of Zdenek is the Tirreno-Adriatico. After that follows Milano-Sanremo. “My condition is still improving, so the Tirreno is an important step to the big classics. But now at this moment I just want to enjoy of today first.”