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Here’s what the top riders said following Saturday’s thrilling race at Strade Bianche in Italy.
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) — 1st
On his unplanned attack:
“Honestly it’s going to take some sinking in. When I went that was completely not the plan. Obviously that sector is normally the decisive place, so I was just riding hard. I got a gap on the descent and I just carried on.
“This week I had a good feeling and I knew something good was going to happen. I knew today was my day. That it actually paid off is pretty incredible honestly. I don’t even know what to think right now.
“A few times they came close and I thought ‘I’ve messed it up, I’ve gone too early and wasted my shot here.’ The thing is in races like this, the day was so fast all day, I thought if I get a gap and keep going it’s hard to bring back.”
On what the victory means:
“Strade Bianche is actually my favorite race, because of the scenery, the roads, the fans It’s pretty incredible to win it really. The course really suits me. Only in the last 20km, it hurt, but everywhere else I enjoyed every minute.
“The last effort was very different from cyclocross. It was full gas when the legs had nothing in them, but the win makes it worthwhile. I didn’t attack, I got a gap, I found myself at the front and I committed to it.
“I thought I did something stupid when the guys came close to me towards the finish. I thought I had my shot too early but it worked out at the end. If I don’t win any other classic this year, my spring is already a success, but I’ll try to win more”.
Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) — 3rd
On team tactics in the finale:
“The podium was the goal for the team, with me or Attila Valter. We’ve got me on the podium now, which isn’t too bad, but we made a mistake not going with Pidcock. He was a big favorite and he jumped at 50km. In the end he was stronger than I expected, so he deserved to win. If you do 50 kilometers solo, chapeau …
“It was a situation where there were six of us [chasing Pidcock]. We have to look at the race again together, during the race it is difficult to keep an overview. It was just a mistake on both of our part that no one was with Pidcock. I think we were both among the best riders in the race. We have proven that. Too bad we can’t capitalize on that in the end.”
Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) — 6th
On how the finale played out:
“This was the maximum I could do with these legs, because I was completely empty in the final. I didn’t have the legs to do more.
“The Jumbo-Visma riders raced for themselves. They didn’t sacrifice Attila to get Pidcock back, because it was possible. That wouldn’t change much for me, because then I would have finished fourth because there were still three riders stronger. Pidcock was very strong, and luckily for him, things didn’t turn so well for us.”
Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) — 2nd
On missing the winning move:
“Tom Pidcock deserves lots of congratulations. What he did alone at the front was phenomenal. He spent a lot of energy but he was the strongest. I’m a bit disappointed because I crashed and came across only five kilometers before Pidcock rode away and I paid for the consequences of the crash till the end.
“My goal this year is to win a classic of the WorldTour. I’m getting close. I’ll come back for winning Strade Bianche because this place here is absolutely magic”.