Kasia Niewiadoma: I needed better luck at Strade Bianche

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Hi everybody, from sunny Girona!

Last weekend my team and I went to Italy for the first round of the Women’s World Tour -Strade Bianche.

For me it’s one of the best races in our calendar, are you wondering why? Well… being in Tuscany is already great and having good Italian cappuccinos makes it even better!

But besides that, Strade Bianche contains a lot of steps gravel sections which no other race has, and a beautiful, tough finish in the centre of Siena. For those who have never been, I highly recommend it.

Every year I dream about winning this race. Last Last Saturday I had it within my grasp and ended up with second place. I couldn’t be totally happy about this result!

I know that I am in good shape and I am able to win, but just need a little bit of luck to stay out of trouble such as crashes and punctures.

Having a strong team with me gave me a lot of confidence and faith before the race. We had planned a few team actions to keep us in a good position, as everybody knows that being in front especially in key moments is incredibly important. The race was on, with a few gravel sections already behind us and then we hit the fifth- the most dangerous one!

I started in the front… It seemed to be perfect but a few corners later I ended up in a deep ditch together with Coryn Rivera. Honestly, it was pretty scary. I had my head stuck between two bikes and couldn’t move at all! LUCKILY my hero – Lauren Kitchen saved our lives, she climbed down the hole and pulled us out. I really thought it was the end of my race – somewhere in my head, I was done! I wanted to go back to the car, I had a feeling that first group was super far away and a big chase towards them would just make no sense. BUT again my hero screamed to me pretty loudly that I have to be back on my bike and just GOOO! That’s what I heard a few times from her, I guess enough to get me really motivated…

The hard chase took quite a while but finally I managed to get in the first group. Luckily the peloton slowed down and I could recover a little bit. But then the big war started with 20 km to go. Elisa set a high pace and the peloton split up in many groups. Luckily I stayed in front watching Elisa’s movements, as I knew she was in great shape, from what I noticed a week before in the Belgium races.

The last climb, the last hard effort and yeah… I lost this battle. Being first in to the righthand corner with 400m to go normally provides you with a victory as later there is actually no space to pass anyone. I feel like I want to race it again and improve small details… but I just need to wait one more year.

Now I am staying in Girona and having a great time with friends, and doing another hard block of training, preparing for more racing! I will skip Drenthe next week and focus on Trofeo Binda.