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Van Aert just off the podium in Strade Bianche in season opener

Van Aert just off the podium in Strade Bianche in season opener

Wout van Aert has finished fourth in Strade Bianche. The winner of last year made a strong impression, but had to let go of the decisive attacks in the final. Mathieu Van der Poel soloed to victory on the Piazza del Campo in Siena.

Team Jumbo-Visma took the initiative during the Italian spring classic. With Van Aert as its leader, the team nestled itself at the head of the peloton. Tobias Foss jumped along with several attacks. On the sloping Tuscan gravel strips, the yellow-black formation set the Belgian off perfectly. Van Aert was among the better riders in his first race of the season, but had to acknowledge his superiority in the final to a stronger trio.

"Of course I wanted to win this race, but it wasn’t possible today."

Wout van Aert

“I was just not good enough in the final”, Van Aert said. “I have to be satisfied with a fourth place. The real acceleration wasn’t there yet. I’m in good shape, but the right focus has yet to come. Of course I wanted to win this race, but it wasn’t possible today. The steep climbs in combination with the attacks from Alaphilippe and Van der Poel were just too much. It is and remains one of the most beautiful races of the year and, as usual, the best has won here.”

The best one-day rider of the year 2020 complimented his team: “We took control of the race. A lot of the guys got further than they really intended. I have a lot of respect for that. If I get a little better myself, we’re going to have a nice classic season.”

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