Before Phillipe Gilbert won the Ardennes Triple Crown, including beating both Schlecks by himself and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he was very quietly winning bike races like the Montepaschi Strade Bianche. The race of the “white roads” features climbs up gravel roads in all sorts of conditions, from a thick, choking dust to a sopping, sinking mud. Last year, the weather was relatively mild. Fabian Cancellara (pictured above) put in work for his squad early in support of Andy Schleck, but eventually a 12-man break was clear for much of the afternoon. Before the end, however, the strength of the peloton pulled back the men up the road and Gilbert, Damiano Cuenego and Alessandro Ballan battled over 18% gradients and the last few kilometers of windy, tight roads.


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