Although a high classification did not materialize on Saturday, Sabrina Stultiens looks back very positively at the Strade Bianche. The Dutch was in the lead in the final of the gravel classic and showed once again that she is back at the highest level. For the next two weeks, Stultiens will be in Italy for a training camp with Liv Racing.
“It actually went very well yesterday. Always a tough classic, the Strade Bianche was very nerve-wrecking, mainly due to the gravel sections. As a team, we continuously rode well together and we managed to find each other blindly in the teamwork. In an intermediate section towards the final, there was one attack after the other. We followed each other well in reacting to those attempts, jumping towards them in turn”, says Stultiens, who consequently came to the front with a number of top riders.
“The cooperation in that group was excellent. With three unpaved sections remaining, a number of them dropped off and we were left with four. Marianne Vos came from behind, followed by a slightly larger group, including several of our riders. After that merger, the scenario looked promising for us. Lotte was very active at the front. It was very bitter for her and the team that she had a flat tire at a crucial moment in the race.”
The puncture happened on Le Tolfe, the last gravel section on the way to Siena, just about at the same time that Stultiens’ tank was empty. “After all the efforts, that was not surprising,” says the rider from Limburg, who crossed the finish line in 44th place and stepped off the Liv bike with an excellent feeling. “I took another step last winter and I am glad this was confirmed today.”
After the Strade Bianche, Stultiens travelled with Liv Racing to a training camp in Tuscany that starts today. “This should be a good session of two weeks of training, with many hours and intervals. In this way I hope to progress one step further for the important classics in April. The Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the Ardennes Classics are the races that suit me. I am super motivated. And that goes for the whole team. The team spirit is excellent.”
Photo credits: Cor Vos