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Here’s what the day’s top riders said after Saturday’s thrilling race at Strade Bianche in Tuscany.
Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar) — 5th
On her performance:
“I was not good enough, and others were stronger. There was never a moment of calm in the race. That was good for the audience, but I didn’t play a part in the final.
“I had very good legs, but I made a big mistake. Because I was actually well placed all day, but I made a mistake in the place where I really wanted to. I was too far back. And then it was over in a second. I actually wanted to attack there. That was a shit moment, but on the other hand, Demi Vollering was the strongest today.
“Now I’m going to Teide in Tenerife. I need to get a little better, although I think I was good. But you have to be super good to win in women’s cycling. I am back for Flanders.”
Demi Vollering (SD Worx) — 1st
On if they were confident they would catch Kristen Faulkner:
“We were. That last climb doesn’t lie. When you’re on the front on your own all day it’s hard. Lotte and I were going well together and we were saving something for the final climb. I knew we could catch her, but it was a bit exciting.
“It was nervous all day. I’ve always liked this race, but I’ve always worked for others. This year, Chantal [van den Broek-Blaak] said I needed to believe in myself more this year, and the team supported me. That really helps me and I went into the race with a big belief in myself.”
On if it was decided on who would win the sprint:
“I spoke with Lotte [Kopecky] in the tent before the podium ceremony and she was very happy. It was immediately good between us. There are no hard feelings. But we’re killers. It was cool to finish like this. It’s been a nice finale, also for people who watched it from home.
“But the first feeling after the finish was being a bit confused. We didn’t know which one of us had won so we were wondering if we could celebrate. Of course we could, because as long as it’s the team winning, it’s good and it was double good. I felt strong today. I was really confident that we’d catch Kirsten Faulkner. I knew we’d be stronger than her in the last climb.”
Kristen Faulkner (Jayco-AlUla) — 3rd
On if she thought she’d win:
“Towards the end I heard they were at 30 seconds and I thought it’s gonna be a rough 10km. Every gravel sector was different and challenging in its own way. The climbs were actually more decisive than the gravel. I waited for section 6 to attack and it’s been a great race for me.”
Lotto Kopecky (SD Worx) — 2nd
On whether she agreed on the sprint with Vollering:
“Demi and I didn’t speak before the finish. We are both professional riders and we both wanted to win, so it’s really nice that we both fought till the finish.”
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez) — 4th
“I left it all out on the road today. I gave it everything but today it was not enough. I can of course be a little bit unsatisfied because we came here for more. But on the other hand, we can take a lot of positive out of this race and I now think about the next classics which are a big goal of mine. It is always so nice coming to Strade when there is a lot of spectators coming to Siena like today. That is also why I fought till the end even thought the podium was gone. I wanted to fight until the end.”