Gallery: Strade Bianche marks a spectacular return to WorldTour racing

The first top-tier race of the restarted season saw the men's and women's peloton battling over gravel roads beneath the searing sun.

Strade Bianche offered all the spectacle and drama cycling fans had been yearning for during nearly five months of racing hiatus Saturday.

The iconic race saw many of the men’s and women’s peloton return to action for the first time since late winter, and the scorching Tuscan sun and unpredictable gravel tracks proved a fearsome challenge, with only 25 percent of the men’s field making it to the finish.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) proved that “third time lucky” is a thing, taking victory in the men’s race after placing third in both of his previous appearances. Meanwhile, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) didn’t need luck to take her victory, instead relying on her unstoppable form to chase down and drop lone breakaway rider Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana).