• Annemiek van Vleuten enjoyed the finishing moment alone. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) went solo to win the fifth edition of women's Strade Bianche after returning from injury.
Cycling Central

10 Mar 2019 - 6:09 AM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2019 - 6:58 AM

The race, the first in this year's UCI Women's WorldTour and now regarded as a classic, covered 136km in and around Siena.

Van Vleuten crossed the finish line in the historic square ahead of Annika Langvad (Boels Dolmans) and Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM).

The victory was only the Dutchwoman’s second race after a serious knee injury suffered during the 2018 UCI Road World Championships.

“This is one of the best victories in my career. I thought after breaking my knee at the world championship that I wouldn’t have enough time to get into the right form for winning Strade Bianche,” Van Vleuten said.

“But I’m glad it was enough time. I managed to attack exactly where I had planned to.”

Van Vleuten made her move from the final selection of 11 riders on the steep climb, as the off-road sectors ended and the run to the finish began.

She quickly opened up a gap of 30 seconds and with no organised chase behind, the gap grew to 40 seconds as the climb to Piazza del Campo came into sight.

"I just waited for a good moment (to attack), there was only one teammate with me, only Lucy Kennedy, and it was really good for us to be there together but we were a bit outnumbered," Van Vleuten said.

"We were only two in a big group so we had to poker a bit, then I thought I had to put the hammer down on the uphill.”

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