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Demi Vollering played it perfectly to win Strade Bianche by a bike-throw against her SD Worx teammate, but no one expected a horse to emerge as one of the day’s main protagonists.
Vollering was attacking solo to chase down American Kristen Faulkner in the closing kilometers of a thrilling race when a horse ran onto the race course.
The large brown horse galloped on the roadway ahead of Vollering, who was pointing to race commissaires about the potentially dangerous situation.
With stone fences and gates lining much of the roadway, the horse found no way to get back into a pasture.
Domesticated animals are often spooked by the race caravan led by motorcycles, helicopters, cars, and bikes buzzing along. Horses, dogs, cows, and even the occasional sheep can find themselves in the middle of the action.
Horses for courses at the Strade Bianche
— James Dart (@James_Dart) March 4, 2023
On Saturday, the spooked horse ran for quite a distance ahead of Vollering.
Unfortunately, the horse fell on its side as it appeared to try to exit from the main race course. There was no word on the condition of the animal.
Vollering saw her teammate Lotte Kopecky to bridge across, and the pair worked together to patiently reel in Faulkner.
The American was caught on the final wall into Siena, and Vollering and Kopecky sprinted all the way to the line in what was clearly an open race with no team orders to designate a winner.
Vollering won in a bike-throw to give her the big win on a wild day.