Mara Abbott lost contact with the main bunch on the second section of gravel. The longest ‘strade bianche’ split the race to pieces. From there, it would be a race of attrition. “The gravel sections definitely made the race far more selective than the same course on pavement would have been,” said Abbott. “The gravel wasn’t that hard to ride. It just required complete concentration.”

Teams announced for very first Women’s WordTour event

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The first ever UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar gets underway on March 5 with the second edition of the women’s Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy. Race organisers today announced which teams will be at the start line for this iconic ‘white roads’ race.

Under the new UCI Women’s World Tour regulations, only the top 20 ranking UCI teams will receive an automatic invite to one-day races. Additionally, organisers are allowed to extend several ‘wild card’ invites to teams of their choosing.

Unsurprisingly, for the iconic Italian event, the wild card invites all went to Italian teams.The invited team, ordered by their international ranking, are:

Wiggle High5 (Gbr)
Raboliv Womencyclingteam (Ned)
Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam (Ned)
Canyon Sram Racing (Ger)
Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Orica – Ais (Aus)
Hitec Products (Nor)
Cylance Pro Cycling (Usa)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (Usa)
Team Liv-Plantur (Ned)
Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86 (Fra)
Btc City Ljubljana (Slo)
Bepink (Ita)
Astana Women’s Team (Kaz)
Alè Cipollini (Ita)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team (Ned)
Lensworld-Zannata (Bel)
Servetto Footon (Ita)
Inpa – Bianchi (Ita)
S.C. Michela Fanini (Ita)
Aromitalia Vaiano (Ita)
Top Girls Fassa Bortolo (Ita)

An historic event, Strade Bianchi is infamous for its ‘white roads’ a.k.a multiple sections of gravel that tends to blow the field apart. For spectators the stunning scenery through the Tuscan hills and aggressive racing is a true treat, for racers however it’s a tough day in the saddle.

And as the first UCI Women’s WorldTour race of the 2016 season –and the first ever at that — the competition in this Olympic year will be fierce. Last year, in the inaugural women’s Strade Bianche, American Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) won the event in dominating fashion, crossing the line solo with more than a half-minute lead on teammate Lizzie Armitstead and Italian Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda).

Look for Boels-Dolmans to come out swinging again but WiggleHigh5 –with Italian favourite Elisa Longo Borghini in their midst– Rabo-Liv, and Canyon-Sram will surely animate the racing as well.

We will be providing coverage right here on Ella.

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